Great leap

Not so long ago, all kids needed to stay active were an open patch of grass, maybe a tree or two, and a little imagination.

With the rapid rise in electronics, particularly mobile technology, the competition for kids’ attention these days is fierce. That’s even true for adults, many of whom no longer leave work when they leave the office.

So while having a facility dedicated to giving kids and adults a place to jump around may have seemed silly a few decades — even just a few years — ago, it’s become a rapidly growing trend.

Madison already had Rockin’ Jump, and now another player has entered the local market in Sky Zone Madison.

The new 25,000-square-foot entertainment facility features a state-of-the-art Warrior Course, similar to what viewers of TV’s American Ninja Warrior are familiar with, as well as activities such as Freestyle Jump, Ultimate Dodgeball, and SkyFit. Guests can also dunk like a pro on the SkySlam courts, and flip into the Foam Zone filled with 10,000 foam cubes.

Owner Bron Launsby says the new Madison Sky Zone facility, 2134 W. Beltline Hwy., will host a variety of grand opening events this weekend, beginning with a ribbon cutting with the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce on Friday, April 7, at 4 p.m.

Jumping in

Launsby says as a child, he and his family spent time vacationing in Southern Wisconsin. As a young adult, he moved to Wisconsin and lived in the Milwaukee area while working in product development for Kohl’s department stores.

“I happened upon Sky Zone as a franchising opportunity and opened Sky Zone Milwaukee about 3-1/2 years ago,” Launsby says of the career change. “My wife and I have six kids, and were looking for a business to diversify us financially, as well as be something that the whole family could be a part of.”

Launsby attended an investor day presentation in early 2012 when there were fewer than 20 trampoline parks in the world. According to him, today there are about 700 parks worldwide, and trampoline park originator Sky Zone is the largest chain among them. “After talking with Sky Zone and its franchisees, I decided to purchase three territories and my Sky Zone career started jumping!”

Launsby says it cost about $2 million to launch his Wisconsin Sky Zone franchise and he received his funding through a Small Business Administration loan. Along the way Sky Zone provided the new franchise owner with patented equipment and proven processes, as well as assistance with location, floor plans, and branding, he says. The new Madison location already has more than 60 employees. The cost to use the facility is $15.99 per hour. All jumpers are also required to wear Sky Socks, which cost $2.50 and can be reused.

Madison makes sense

Madison is already a city known for jumping around, so it wasn’t a stretch for Launsby to tab the city for a Sky Zone facility.

“Madison is a young, vibrant, and fit city,” he explains. “Our location in Milwaukee pulled families, schools, camps, recreational sports, and churches from Madison, so finding a location to serve [the area] better was a high priority so they don’t have to drive long distances just to enjoy our park.”

According to Launsby, one of the main reasons he decided to open a Sky Zone franchise was because he saw the effect electronics were having on his family.



“Being a parent of six, I have seen both the positive and negative effects of technology on my kids. Sky Zone is fitness in disguise. Kids and adults love to jump, slam a basketball, play competitive dodgeball, and take high intensity/low impact fitness classes at our parks.

“Since Madison is one of our more fit cities, we have added activities such as a Warrior Course, warped wall, jousting, free-climb rock wall, and more,” Launsby continues. “It is our goal to appeal to all ages, and our vast array of activities supports this.”

Those activities include:

  • Free-style trampoline courts
  • Jousting
  • SkySlam — Three different heights that allow everyone to slam like Michael Jordan
  • Two-lane warped wall
  • Two-lane Warrior Course
  • Two dodgeball courts
  • Fidget ladder
  • Free climb/bouldering wall
  • Drop zone
  • SkyFit classes
  • Toddler time

The facility also has built-in flexibility to allow for changing activities over time. Launsby is a member of Sky Zone’s innovation/new activity committee and says the company has a team of people who spend 100% of their time dreaming and researching what’s next for each park.

With the popularity of American Ninja Warrior, including a course based on that program was a natural fit. “Our course and elements were inspired and modeled after the American Ninja Warrior TV show,” Launsby explains. “In fact, we have had many athletes from the show practice on our courses across the country. I believe Sky Zone Madison is the first warrior course of its kind in the state, besides our sister park in Milwaukee.”

It’s already proving popular with those of us who are still kids at heart, too, notes Launsby. Sky Zone Madison is booking corporate events as team builders, rewards/celebrations, and family outings. “At our other locations, we have many corporate partners that value an active, healthy staff and pay for part or all of their employees’ SkyFit classes,” he adds.

Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine – your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.