Three local investors team up for $2M indoor family fun center

A trio of entrepreneurs is investing $2 million in a large indoor family fun center planned near Columbia Center mall in Kennewick.

Developers hope to make an announcement soon about the location for Washington state’s first Launch Trampoline Park and hope to open it by the end of summer 2019.

Franchisee and co-owner Will McKay is excited to bring a new entertainment option to town. “The Tri-Cities is a growing place. Not only do we have people who live here looking for new entertainment options, but we have so many sports activities and tournaments where people come to town and say, ‘What else are we going to do here?’ ”

Launch Trampoline Park was co-founded by a former New England Patriots football player Ty Law, who’s expected to attend the grand opening, along with Walla Walla native and NFL veteran Drew Bledsoe.

The site will be owned and operated by three longtime friends, including Will McKay, owner of W. McKay Construction, Jourdan Nicholls, a Kennewick podiatrist, and Jeff Morgan, a dentist and owner of Grandridge Dental.

The idea was dreamed up by McKay after visiting FLIPnOUT Xtreme in Las Vegas, an amusement park which offered more than just trampolines.

“We jumped for a while, then went and played laser tag. I have four kids, and there’s not much to do in the winter, so I wanted to bring something like that to the Tri-Cities,” McKay said. “And with my current business, I could do this a lot cheaper than a lot of other people.”

He recruited friends he’s known since high school as fellow investors, and started researching potential franchises.

“Launch was in the top five trampoline park franchises on six or seven blogs I looked at,” McKay said.

Entrepreneur magazine’s recent 40th annual ranking of the top 500 franchises lists Rhode Island-based Launch at No. 248.

Within weeks, McKay was on the East Coast for a “discovery day” to see how a park of this style is set up and operating.

The team is investing about a half-million dollars alone in the trampoline equipment, which will be connected to form one giant jumping surface with angled trampoline walls. In addition, there will be a laser tag arena, virtual reality, dodgeball court, climbing wall, bowling alley, indoor playground, ninja course, foam pit, arcade games and potentially a zip line that runs the length of the facility, which is expected to be about 30,000 square feet.

Initial admission is likely to include at least trampoline and laser tag use, with additional offerings at an added cost. McKay said that in some locations, guests visit Launch exclusively to bowl and not to access any other varied entertainment options.

With a current trampoline park already near the mall in Kennewick, McKay isn’t worried about saturating the market. He believes his business won’t be in direct competition with places like Chuck E. Cheese, which he helped build, or iPlay Experience, an indoor playground also opening near the mall.

McKay said his business model is more focused on attracting the older elementary kids, up to adults.

“It’s no secret that indoor trampoline parks have become a significant contender in the family-entertainment industry, but we’re more than just a trampoline park,” said Launch co-founder Rob Arnold. “Technology is changing at an astonishing pace, and with family entertainment you need to be right on top of things and evolve quickly in order to stay relevant and fun and cool.”

Launch will serve food, including make-your-own pizzas described by McKay as “killer,” which may be ordered inside the Krave restaurant, as well as make-your-own ice cream sundaes. The location will have the ability to hold birthday parties, team-building activities and other private events. It has not been decided if alcohol will be served in any portion of the entertainment center.

According to a news release, there are 20 Launch Trampoline Parks open throughout 13 states, with more than 30 additional parks in various stages of development throughout the U.S.

Admission costs and expected operating hours have not yet been determined, but McKay said Launch’s prices will “be competitive” with the region. Family bundles may be offered for multiple attractions. McKay expects to hire at least four to five people in management, but didn’t yet have an overall expectation of the total number of employees, which will eventually be determined in line with hours of operation.

Once a lease is signed for the location, McKay expected construction could get underway within six weeks to meet the targeted opening date of late summer. W. McKay Construction will be the general contractor for the project.

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