One of Bend’s oldest indoor play places, Bouncing Off the Wall, will likely close by mid-January, owner Alissa Guthrie said.
Bouncing Off the Wall has been in business since February 2008, and Guthrie said she hoped to renew the lease for another five years.
However, she was notified in September that the lease would not be renewed. The 11,000-square-foot warehouse space full of inflatable play structures was the only kids’ play place of its kind when it opened but faced competition the past two winters from Mountain Air trampoline park.
Meanwhile, Mountain Air is about to experience direct competition from Trampoline Zone, a trampoline and adventure park opening soon in the same building as Pickleball Zone on NE 18th Street.
Owner Butch Roberts said Pickleball Zone is open, and he’s awaiting a permit to open the trampoline portion of the building.
The competition prompted Bouncing Off the Wall to focus on young children, Guthrie said.
“We’re not the destination for those older kids anymore,” she said.
When she was still expecting to renew the lease, Guthrie said she’d even considered devoting part of the space to a preschool.
Despite the competition in indoor recreation, Bend entrepreneur Patrick Booher said he feels confident as the new owner of Mountain Air. He bought the business from previous owner Brad Tucker this week.
“There’s a large untapped market in Central Oregon,” Booher said. “It’s not just kids. There’s lots of need for indoor space during our cold winters.
“And it’s not just the residents,” Booher added. “It’s also tourism. Most of those are families.”
As for the competition from Trampoline Zone, Booher said he’ll try not to overlap in specific attractions. He said he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“It sounds like a classic case study in business school,” he said. “What are you going to do to keep the numbers up?”
Booher wrote a business plan for his own recreation concept but decided to buy Mountain Air because it was too hard to find real estate. Mountain Air is finishing the second year of a five-year lease on Murray Road in northeast Bend, he said. Bouncing Off the Wall probably won’t relocate.
“Because it’s a very specialized type of use, it’s really hard to find space,” Guthrie said.
The building on SE Centennial Court on the east side of Bend is owned by Woodside Development LLC, which owns several commercial properties in Bend.
Woodside’s representative did not respond to requests for comment.
Guthrie, who said she’d been willing to take on a substantial increase in rent, said she was told the building would be more profitable if it were subdivided for multiple tenants.
— Reporter: 541-617-7860, email@example.com