New business provides year-round indoor play option
Saturday, August 16, 2014 5:00 AM
It was never his intent to launch a small business in Madison, but a winter visit to Terre Haute steered Jonathon Simpson and his family in that direction.
Eli Scales makes his way through a toddler-only inflatable activity at the new Madison business, Kangaroos Family Fun Center at 3000 Wilson Avenue. The center has six large inflatables including the toddler area. There is also a viewing area for parents, party rooms and concessions.
During the trip, Simpson and his wife, Carrie, and another couple brainstormed about indoor activities for their children. They settled on a place filled with childrens' inflatables and family-friendly activities.
What they saw in Terre Haute made quite the impression on the family and ignited a new project.
"So, we get there and it's basically what you see," Simpson said, standing inside his new hilltop business, Madison Kangaroos Family Fun Center.
Simpson, his wife, Carrie, and in-laws, Cassie and Jason Hall, are co-owners of the city's first indoor, inflatable facility.
Since that winter visit with friends, the family has worked for months developing a business plan. In July, they found a location in the 3000 block of Wilson Avenue across the street from Arvin Sango.
The 6,000-square foot building was once a storage facility for engine parts and motor bushings. The open floorplan allowed for quick and simple renovations in order to accommodate the large inflatables.
The owners held a soft opening Wednesday following a ribbon-cutting with the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce.
The facility includes five large inflatables - all of which are American made and hand-stitched - including a 45-foot obstacle course and a double slide. There also is a smaller inflatable for children ages 6 and younger.
There also are concessions and two party rooms - one of which can be decorated to accommodate theme parties. The owners are collaborating with local businesses, having already worked out deals to create slideshows for birthday parties, and provide pizza for extra treats.
The facility is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The open unlimited jump during those regular business hours is $6, but there also are special rates for basic parties, private parties and theme parties.
The project is a new territory for Simpson, a lieutenant detective who has been at the Madison Police Department for 10 years. But he believes his time in public safety and public service and his family's experience in finance and business provides a successful dynamic.
His wife, Carrie, has a background in accounting and business, and Jason Hall has a business degree and has experience running a business. Jason's wife, Cassie Hall, is an elementary school teacher.
Perhaps the most important aspect of their combined resume is that each owner is also a parent.
"The kids, they love to play; they love to run; they love to have fun. And this is just the perfect place for that," Simpson said.
Not surprisingly, their kids served as the chief advisers during the planning phase. When the adults liked a certain slide or inflatable, they were quick to run it by their children for final approval.
"They had some input, so that's pretty cool," Simpson said.
Keeping the business family friendly is their biggest goal, Simpson said. Already, they have started a Friday Night Date Night, a program that will allow parents to drop off their children at the center between 6 and 10 p.m.
"It's a family business and it's a family place. That's what we take pride in," Simpson said.