A fun outing to a Canadian indoor bounce house sparked a business idea for Tim and Barbara Wood.
“We thought we could do a similar concept here,” said Tim Wood. “So we took insanity pills and started a business.”
After 11 years and two locations, their move wasn’t so crazy after all.
“Overall things have gone well for us,” he said.
The Woods are the owners and operators of Bounce Magic, a popular indoor play and party facility with locations in the Southtowns and Northtowns. Their customers hail from all over Western New York and as far as Rochester. And between their two facilities, they employ 30 part-time workers.
Even in a down economy, they still book 30 birthday parties a week. They opened their new Northtowns location in Amherst – a 20,000-square-foot facility with 11 inflatable apparatus – on Maple Road last week.
The Southtowns couple attributes their success to their balanced relationship and building their business around the needs of the community.
“We understand our community, and we’ve tried to make it a friendly, affordable place for families,” Barbara Wood said. “We encourage adults to let loose and play with their kids.”
A West Seneca native who once ran a painting and interior decorating business, Barbara Wood brings creativity and a focus on safety and cleanliness to the business.
“I approach the business from a mom’s point of view. Is it clean? Is it safe? Is it affordable?” she said.
And Tim Wood, an Ontario native and former owner of a production and lighting business, handles back office matters, like paying the bills and overall management.
“You have to have a good partnership,” Tim Wood said. “My wife and I have completely different skill sets so we complement each other, so there’s no stepping on toes.”
In 2002, the Woods opened their first location – a 10,000-square-foot building with five inflatables and other games and play areas – on Southwestern Boulevard in Orchard Park.
Today, an all-day pass for the inflatable attractions is $10 per child in Orchard Park and $12 in Amherst. Adults can accompany children for free.
With an affordable ticket price and a popular birthday package, business took off for the couple. Parents from other communities started requesting a closer location. So in 2009, the couple embarked on second location.
“We saw an opportunity to expand on what we knew was a good deal; things were going really well in the Southtowns,” Tim Wood said.
The couple leased space in the Boulevard Mall area and began a successful Northtowns operation. But last year, they lost their lease and had to close. However, the demand was still strong in the Northtowns; they were booked for parties up to closing day, Tim Wood said. So they started looking for a new location. They reopened at 4090 Maple Road, the former site of Linens N’ Things, a half-mile from their former Niagara Falls Boulevard location.
“Being so close to our old location is a big asset; we’re in the same demographics,” he said. “We know people are going to come.”
In addition to the popular bouncing apparatus, the new facility offers miniature golf, a rock wall and interactive basketball and soccer games.
When parents can’t afford vacations to Disney World, they turn to cheaper options like Bounce Magic, Tim Wood said. Also, encouraged by the growing families they see, the Woods are confident their customer base will stay strong.
The next Bounce Magic could be in Rochester to serve customers there. The Woods are optimistic about the future, but they are cautious about further expansion and are planning for gradual growth.