Professor Stan Mandel says Trampoline Park Needs a Strong Business Model to Succeed

2.6.2012 Article, Business Analytics, Faculty News

Entrepreneur plans indoor trampoline park
Reposted from Winston-Salem Journal | by Richard Craver

A local entrepreneur is aiming to bounce to the top of recreational activities in Forsyth County by opening an indoor trampoline park by mid-March.

Andy Baer, president of Airbound Trampoline Park, said Friday he plans to spend slightly more than $1 million on the business, which will be at 7840 North Point Blvd. in the former HQ building.

About $450,000 is being spent on trampoline equipment. "The equipment is purchased and will arrive late next week," Bare said. "We are in the construction phase."

Baer said he is targeting a customer base of ages 5 to mid-20s.

The park will have between 52 and 56 attached trampolines in its main area to provide 12,000 square feet of room for up to 225 jumpers at a time. There will be trampoline-type material on the walls around the jumping surface, as well as heavy-duty, spring-loaded frames covered by 2-inch thick safety pads.

"All the trampolines are connected, so when you fall you are falling into another trampoline no matter which direction you go," Baer said. "It will be extreme fun for all participants."

He said areas will be set aside for 5- to 10-year-olds, and for older youths and adults. There will be room for playing dodge ball on the trampolines, as well as age-appropriate foam pits and a parent lounge.

Baer said he's confident a trampoline park will fly in the Triad after seeing similar parks in action. He chose to try his own strategy rather than pursue a franchisee option.

"It's a fun family activity that's guaranteed to wear the little ones out," Baer said.

Baer said being a small-business official runs deep in his family, dating back to his great-grandparents. He said he has received start-up money from investors, family members and friends.

The cost is $12 an hour for the first hour and $8 for each additional hour. For information about the park's operating hours, go to www.airboundtrampolinepark.com.

Baer recognizes his admission fees might be pricey for some families given the economic downturn, when compared with the cost of going to the movies, bowling, miniature golf and other one- to three-hour activities. He plans to offer coupons, party packages and occasional pricing specials to attract customers.

"We believe it will be affordable for people to come and jump once a week," Baer said.

Baer plans to hire between 35 and 40 employees, most of which will serve as court supervisors. For information about applying for a job, call (484) 547-1643.

Participants or their parents will have to sign a legal waiver annually before being able to jump. There also will be posted behavior and jumping rules.

Stan Mandel, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest, said operating a trampoline park is an interesting entrant into the recreational marketplace.

He said Baer faces several start-up challenges, such as matching the size of the park with projected demand for trampoline jumping.

"There is much competition for sports dollars and hours," Mandel said. "Is this the type of activity that people do frequently like bowling, golf, tennis?

"He really needs to carefully construct a business model revealing the value proposition, target market(s), key partners, key activities, cost structure, revenue model and estimates, and customer relations.

"Betting $1 million on this idea is not to be taken lightly."