Yay! Wednesday Rain!

I know that we should all be so concerned about the lack of rain for our water supply, but on a business level, we are much more successful on days that the parks are not so welcoming due to inclement weather. In other words, we are slammed when it’s rainy outside! Having opened our doors September of 2014, we have now gone through two winters of little or no rain. Come on… what’s that about! If nothing else, it surely makes us appreciate the rain.

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Today was the definition of a rain appreciation day. Not only is it our regular “ToTT Time Wednesday”  (see Open Bounce on the website for details) but it dropped a precious .10th of an inch last night. The parks are wet, it’s clean and dry in here, so… Yup, the parking lot was packed! Hilarie of HHHints.com, listed today’s Meet Up here for ToTT Time plus our regular weekly families, plus those looking for a dry and safe place for their little ones to burn off some of that energy filled our facility with giggling, squealing, and laughing until they had just flat run out of gas.

On a day that would have been a great success, the rain gave us a grand success and we do surely appreciate that! The long range for the week looks like 80’s and sunny so it will be short lived. We will take what we get and hope for a wet end of the month or maybe a wet April. I have given up on the Farmer’s Almanac which used to be so accurate. They must have an intern running the forecasting department this year. It’s a long way from FA’s “Heavier than usual rain” in January to Meteorologist’s “the driest January on record”. For whatever reason, Mother Nature has blasted the East Coast with blizzards and the West Coast with beach weather this year. We only hope we still have some time to get wet from the skies and therefore move into appreciation mode again soon.

Live Long and Prosper

In honor of one of my favorite people, Leonard Nimoy.

You know, this job I have is just plain great. For this, I have my wonderful daughter to thank. I get up and walk out my door knowing at some point, probably at multiple times, my job will have me smiling during my day. Don’t get me wrong, that alarm clock still holds much disdain. It’s just not as hard as when it was set for 4:30 am and dark outside. As if humans were really meant to get out of a snuggly warm bed during what seems to be the middle of the night.

My joy begins when our first kids come through the door all bright eyed and running to the cubbies to deposit their little shoes in great expectation of jumping. Mom’s and Dad’s, Grandma’s and Gramp’s, or Nanny in tow, carrying snacks and accouterments for their little adventure, all seem appreciative of our “like home” atmosphere.

It's a Princess Chair!

It’s a Princess Chair!

I am often asked if the noise gets to me, but truthfully,  I love it. The squeals and laughter are fun. This is the most stress free environment I can imagine! We dance to the oldies and crawl on the floor, slipping off our shoes at times to race with the kids down the slides. More smiles.

20150108-DSC_1627 20150110-DSC_1672Snacks are enjoyed in the picnic area with more joy and our parents are so good at busing their tables, my job is little more than a bit of sweeping and wiping. As the families exit, with sleepy eyed munchkins, we get the often and much appreciated “Thank you” to which we respond, “Have a great nap!” And yet, more smiles. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lot of hard work. Mostly the cleaning to make sure we are as germ free as you could be with kids in and out all day. The work is good. It shines when you are done and smells so clean. I always see the result of our labor which I suppose is key to wanting to do a great job.

A fascinating new study by University of Kansas psychologists that will soon be published in the journal Psychological Science indicates that, in some circumstances, smiling can actually reduce stress and help us feel better.

“The next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment,” said Sarah Pressman, one of the researchers. “Not only will it help you ‘grin and bear it’ psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well.”

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/simply-smiling-can-actually-reduce-stress-10461286/#4KdMue6h900CJVzw.99

I count my blessings every day I get to go to work and smile. I have been on the other side of the pasture with the grumpy cows, trudging off to a job without the affinity I feel for this thing called #bouncefarm. Yes, the upkeep is hard work, but the rewards are great. Perhaps, like Mr. Spock, I will live long and prosper.

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RIP Leonard Nimoy. Other than a winning lottery ticket, a Tribble would be a fine thing.
🙂 (Smiley Face) \\//,

Thanks to Many for a Great Night!

The fundraiser for Julee Johnson’s St Baldrick’s Day buzz session went great! Thanks to all the folks who came and played, ate Pizza, shopped the vendors and visited with us for the evening. We even had a few of our regular’s who did not know about it and just came for our regular Family Night Pizza Night event. Everyone left happy. full and ready to sleep well. Personally,  I love seeing the parents with their socks on in the bouncy’s with their kids. Or sitting on the floor in our soft play area with their little crawlers exploring the Lily Pond pillows.

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We have a busy party weekend ahead but with some openings in the next few weeks, if you have a party to book give us a call and we will try to accommodate.

 

Benefit for Children’s Cancer Tonight! Thursday 3pm – 7:30

Please join us tonight, Thursday, February 19 as we support Julee Johnson as a shavee for St. Baldrick’s Foundation.  This year is Julee’s second year shaving her head and raising money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation.  30% of Open Bounce and a percentage of sales from additional vendors will go directly to the cause.  Bounce, shop, have fun – and help fund childhood cancer research.  St Baldricks Bounce & Shopping Event Flyer
St. Baldrick’s Foundation raises money for childhood cancer research.  While it’s true that more adults get cancer, only 4% of federal funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancers.  Pharmaceutical companies don’t generally invest in childhood cancers because it’s not profitable.  St. Baldrick’s raises money primarily through head shaving events.  Shavees sign up, raise money, and have their heads shaved to support kids with cancer.  St. Baldrick is not an actual saint – it’s a mash up of “bald” and “St. Patrick’s Day” – when the first event was held.  Supporting St. Baldrick’s and those that shave their head helps fill the funding gap for research.  Every three minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer worldwide.  We are working to change these numbers.

Looking for a WebFace Lift

We will be working soon on offering all of our clients a major change without seeming to change (for those who are not comfortable with such a thing) on our web page. Mobile is here to stay… can you imagine being without your phone for 24 hours?
This world has become so incredibly intimate with their smart phones. We dress them up, we carry them with us to the bathroom, we find leaving them behind like leaving our pants behind – just naked without them!
Soon we will be offering a full mobile site to those who only visit us via tablet or phone. I just hope I can bring my “A” game to the plate for you. If you have input as to what features you would like, please leave a comment below and we’ll try to accommodate.

In other news, recently we replaced our obstacle course with our new barn/slide/basketball inflatable. We like to keep it fresh for the kids and now they have a bouncer and more to enjoy! Here are some photos of the new barn.

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For those who were unaware, we also introduced a new “soft play” area for the littlest ones. They just love it!

Our Thursday Family Night/ Pizza Night is becoming quite the place to be in town. Where else can you go to let the kids (and you) play and run and get totally tuckered out and dinner is served while you have fun? It’s just $30 for 2 adults, 2 kids and reservations can be made anytime via phone or email. Parents departing are always saying how nice that they know now their children will be in bed fast asleep moments after they go through the door at home. Reservations times are any time between 3:00 pm until 5:30 pm on Thursday evening. Call us at (925) 228-2028 or drop an email.

Spring is fast approaching, unfortunately without much rain so far. We remain hopeful that our drought issues will be lessened by some refreshing spring weather. Don’t forget, if you want a specific time for your birthday party, you should call at least a month or more in advance. Our Junior Farm Party is quite a hit but weekend availability is limited.

# bouncefarm – Not Just for Birthday Parties

We enjoyed hosting a party recently for the In Motion Dance Studio. What a fantastic group of young talented folks. It got us thinking along the lines of the variety of groups that would enjoy our facility for events. We are currently in planning stages with a soccer team looking at having their season end celebration. We have a large eating area and access to great pizza. An evening gathering of this type is sure to offer your group a fun and private setting for your celebration. The possibilities are endless. 

Halloween Weekend is Upon Us

20130611-DSC_5766We are going to be busy this weekend. We have a large party tonight and birthday parties both Saturday and Sunday! Yay! Open bounce will happen as usual during the morning from 10 until around 2.  We have done some decorating but still in the denial stage, our weather and a need to soak up some warm sun, I am holding on dearly to what is left of summer.

The rains will come and so, I am told will the abundance of kiddos wanting to expend that energy they so radiate and the parents who only want for a moment of peace from the exuberance of youth on a rainy day. I think we are ready.

I told myself when I started this blog that I would use it, among other things, for an in-depth version of what it means to open a business such as we have. The Family Entertainment Center (FEC) business may seem like a lot of play but I assure you, it is hard work.

It started in April of 2013 when my daughter came to us with this concept. She had attended a party at a local bounce party center and came away with a concept to do something similar but with some major improvements.  Lets face it, kids like to jump. That’s a given. The idea was even though the kids are happy doing this, the key would be to make the parents happy too. Any warehouse with inflatables will make kids happy. It takes way more to keep those that are paying for their happiness satisfied. We worked on a concept that could do both.

We wrote down what it takes. Then we put it all together. What it takes is comfortable seating, safe, clean, open, bright surroundings, competitive pricing and attention to what the customer needs. We had our basic business plan and took off like Indiana Jones outrunning that big stone ball.

Plans in hand, we worked down the list of the requirements for opening our center. Funding was a major obstacle. We went with an assistance program. The woman who worked with us was so positive. It became contagious. We were so sure the whole thing was going to work. Well, that probably was the first stumbling stone on our road to success. With much time and form filling invested, we received our first refusal. Our second and third… We did not get too discouraged and forged on with our ‘needs’ list. Researching the best inflatables, flooring, point of sale software and many other details we did not even know were involved in beginning a business.

Finally just short of 3 months of stumbling down this virtual road to Oz, we found a great friend who was willing to offer up some seed money.  Jump start! Yes! We ordered our bouncies. A wonderful woman working for a company in Los Angeles was our angel here. She helped us with inflatables handmade in LA of high quality lead free materials.  We had already lined up a building and were ready to sign on a lease and snap! Here we go again. The building had been up for sale and did so over the weekend just before our signing on Monday. The new prospective owner did not want to lease (to us?) so we were back to square one on the building situation. (May)

This worked out to be a major problem as the other spaces were either too big, too small or not zoned for what we wanted. We tried working with the City of Martinez and found the cost of doing business satisfying their use requirements with the unit we found insurmountable. Moving on, we took a drive and stumbled upon a store front in Pleasant Hill. The landlord was in the building and said we could have a permit right away. Just head over to the city hall and ask! Yeah, right. Six weeks and two grand further on our bumpy, rock and pitted road we finally got our use permit. This was on the same day we found out that one of the neighboring businesses actually had veto power over the other shops in the center and specifically had told the landlord there would be no FEC in the shopping center. I think at this point, I was screaming some of those bad words that sneak out on occasion.  (August)

My daughter-in-law came over with concern to ask what was wrong. Upon hearing of our latest catastrophe, she mentioned that she had heard that the first building we had lined up  – yes, remember the one that was up for sale? – well, that one was again available! The owner did not go through with the sale for one reason or another. No matter – he was willing before to rent to us so??? I had my daughter call and the rest, as they say, is history.  And fodder for another post.

In the meantime, come on over and jump, slide, sit in our comfy chairs. Bring all the kids and let them burn off some energy. You better bring some socks too, because you are welcome to join them.  Keep posted…. I can tell you the rest of the story another day. Maybe one of those rainy days if I’m not too busy …