By Sarah Glenn/Idaho State Journal
CHUBBUCK â€” An otherwise quiet corner of the Pine Ridge Mall is now filled with the sound of fans and the red-faced squeals of kids young and old.
This winter, cousins Steve and Brandon Brown filled thousands of square feet of empty mall space with inflatable bounce houses, ball pits and obstacle courses. Their newest business, Jump In, welcomes all ages to run, jump, roll and play on more than seven inflatable indoor playgrounds. Their most recent addition is a rope course (named the â€śgravity pitâ€ť and designed for older children) that dangles over a sea of black and red foam blocks.
â€śMy favorite experience is watching dads go through the bounce houses with their kids and just have such a great time,â€ť Brandon Brown said. â€śRecently a woman came in who was turning 80 and she wanted to go through the obstacle course with her daughter.â€ť
Jump In has opened its doors to every age from pre-school groups to Idaho State University students.
â€śWe wanted the whole family to be able to come,â€ť Brown said.
The joint venture adds to the lengthy list of enterprises the Browns have supported across the area. Steve Brown is a Pocatello City Council member and Brandon Brown is a known name in local insurance.
More than a business venture, Jump In aims to financially support the Brownâ€™s involvement in the P.A.S.S. (Perfect Attendance Spells Success) Program. Over the past six years, Brandon Brown says the program has boosted local graduation rates by 5 percent and encouraged students from 33 different area schools to achieve a perfect attendance record. This year, the program aims to give out about 450 mountain bikes to youths who have perfect school attendance.
â€śWe are hoping this can help pay for the bikes,â€ť Brown said of Jump Inâ€™s revenues. â€śThe idea is to help sustain it in the long-term and participate in our community.â€ť
Each year, the P.A.S.S. Program hosts a carnival that uses the Brownâ€™s bounce houses. And while Jump In originally began as a way to put those bounce houses to good use year-round, the Browns discovered that many were too tall to fit inside the mall â€” meaning a major new investment in custom inflatables.
According to Brown, what customers will mostly see are inflatables that have been specifically designed to fit the space. With a wide array of playgrounds to chose from, Jump In will occasionally swap out its offerings and new inflatables will appear.
The business officially opened on Nov. 13, signing a year-long lease with the mall. The Browns hope that once Jump In gets off the ground, they will be able to sign an extended five-year lease for the space.
While a mall-based bounce house emporium is a one-of-a-kind business in Southeastern Idaho, mall management said that the Browns were not the first to think it was a profitable idea.
â€śHe kind of brought it to our attention,â€ť said Tia Lloyd, general manager for the Pine Ridge Mall. â€śThere were several other parties with the same intention, but he was the first to get the ball rolling on it. â€¦ I hadnâ€™t heard of it before in any of the malls Iâ€™ve researched, but itâ€™s a great idea and it seems to be catching on.â€ť
The Browns hope that the relationship can be beneficial not only for local families looking for family-friendly indoor fun, but also for the mall.
â€śWe saw an opportunity to have a symbiotic relationship,â€ť said Steve Brown. â€śWe can help to drive traffic and they can help us have a great business.â€ť
Jump In is open during regular mall hours, Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
An hour of jump time in the main bounce house area costs $7 per person. An extra $3 is added if customers want to play in the gravity pit (designed for older children).
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon, anyone ages 6 and under can play for up to 2 hours for $4. Day passes and party packages are also available. Day passes cost $13 or $16 if the gravity pit rope course is included.
Eventually, the squeals and giggles of children will become louder than the fans that power the inflatables â€” the Browns are covering the fans with specially-designed sound-muffling boxes to cut down on the noise.
Visit facebook.com/FunJumpIn for more information.