By Rana Fayez
DBT Staff Writer
Roughly 300 indoor trampoline parks have opened around the country and the number is rapidly increasing as an average of five to six trampoline parks open each month.
In just two years, two parks have opened in Delaware — Stratosphere in Wilmington and Launch in Newark. International franchise Sky Zone plans to also open in Newark early next year.
At a basic investment of $750,000 to $1.5 million, buying into this trend is not cheap. Some parks have invested $2-4 million into hybrid parks with arcade or café facilities. Park tickets cost an average of $14 per hour.
With the rapid growth the trampoline industry has experienced, there has been an effort to organize and regulate. Barry Jenkins and Jerry Raymond teamed up with Jeffrey Platt, industry giant and CEO of Sky Zone. Together they founded the International Association of Trampoline Parks, based in Hershey, Pa.
Standards and waivers are being developed in order to protect both customers and business owners alike in an industry that promotes extreme sporting activities.
Stratosphere expanded from its Maryland flagship store to introduce the First State to the trampoline park industry. It is located next to the Delaware Children’s Museum on the Wilmington Riverfront, a booming business in the city’s downtown area in the repurposed old Kahunaville location.
“Families that come here spend the day at the riverfront” says Stratosphere Marketing Manager, Ashley Laws.
The park operators are aware of the need to integrate within its community, “We are planning a future partnership with the museum next door, “ she added. “We have already hosted a lot of corporate retreats with J.P. Morgan, Capital One and Barclays. The banking industry loves us,” said Laws.
With more competition and entrepreneurs eying the area, Stratosphere General Manager and local Tony Uniatowski is not worried. “If we do all the right things, competition will have to worry about us,” he said.
Sky Zone is investing about $750,000. It wrapped up the bidding process for a renovation project at an old 22,839– square-foot warehouse building in a Newark industrial park last month.
CEO Jeffery Platt nostalgically looks back on his experience and his company’s beginnings on the West Coast. “My father actually started the business as he was looking for a new business venture and was intrigued by the idea of starting a new sport on trampolines.”
Rhode Island-based Launch Trampoline Park was the second to open in the state, and at around 30,000 square feet, it is the largest indoor trampoline park in Delaware. It is located in the heart of an industrial park in Newark. Warehouse buildings are not at all unusual for trampoline parks due to their accommodating spacious nature and flexibility for alteration.
Launch company owner and former New England Patriot Ty Law has been known to make appearances at the Wilmington franchise location with his companion, the park’s kangaroo mascot.
“Less disposable income is actually helping the industry. Families will be more likely to explore ‘staycations’ to explore activities within their own community as opposed to traveling for vacations,” says IATP Executive Vice President Tracy Sarris. “But the industry is young so there’s no way to say really”, she reiterated.
Between exercise and fitness, family entertainment and economic investment, the indoor trampoline park trend offers Delawareans more reasons to hop with excitement.