LAKEWOOD RANCH — Somewhere along the way, Brett Morrow lost his sense of fun.
After the certified former class clown tired of installing windows for work, he began to fix broken jump shots at The Shooting Zone, in Sarasota.
It was a leap that eventually landed inside a grim 27,000-square-foot abandoned warehouse that used to house a movie studio.
Morrow opened Jumpin Fun Sports Trampoline Park June 22, inside the former home of Sanborn Studios in Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park. The facility includes five trampoline experiences: a main jumping court, a dodgeball area, a basketball dunk arena, a foam pit and a kids court.
More than 1,000 jumpers came out for opening day.
Jumpin Fun’s “chief fun officer,” as Morrow calls himself, invested $750,000 in the idea, after selling his ownership stake in the Venice-based Absolute Window & Shutter. The agreement gave Morrow the time and financial security he needed to pursue a more creative career path.
Morrow, a basketball player in high school, quickly found his sweet spot and created The Shooting Zone in Sarasota, where he would teach the technicalities of the jump shot.
There, he taught his son, Blake, the standout sophomore point guard at Sarasota Christian High School, how to get lift on his jump shot.
“The shot is all about being ready to shoot when it hits your hands,” Morrow says on The Shooting Zone’s Facebook page. “It’s also about creating space, because, if you can’t do that, good luck being ready to shoot.”
The payments Morrow receives from the window company end in two years, and he needed something more stable than profits from The Shooting Zone — without sacrificing fun.
“I went looking online to build something that no one else had done, or something that somebody was already doing, but I could do better,” Morrow said.
He got the idea to enter the rising trampoline activity-center industry when he visited a similar business, AirHeads Trampoline Arena, in the Tampa area.
Morrow, the boss who lets his part-time employees jump around on the trampolines with customers, hadn’t been on a trampoline in more than three decades.
But in Tampa, he watched 60 children jump on trampolines.
Morrow would soon teach himself flips.
In Jumpin Fun’s foam pit, Morrow buries himself at the bottom, his silver hair and red T-shirt making him indistinguishable from the similarly-colored blocks.
“I saw all those kids jumping on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I thought, ‘People like this product,’” Morrow said.
Morrow studied the industry online.
One company, Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, has more than 30 franchise units nationwide and several more pending. Morrow considered the franchise route, but he ultimately passed.
Morrow says anybody age 3 to 83 fits into his target market.
From his research, Morrow found a niche within the industry no one else covered — making trampoline jumping an experience, not a pastime.
He spent about $100,000 on sound and lighting equipment, along with a projector that will broadcast jumpers in action onto a 16-by-10-foot screen. The facility also features a couch area, in which parents can relax with their iPads or catch up with news on televisions. He also wants to offer 10 to 15 fitness classes, including Zumba, toning and boot camps, per week.
Morrow hopes Jumpin Fun becomes a venue for corporate team-building events, just as much as it will be a birthday party hub.
Jumping costs $12 per jumper for an hour, or $20 for two hours. The park has a 100-person capacity.
Safety attendants, six or seven per shift, jump from station to station.
But they might want to keep their eye on Morrow.
He’ll probably jump headfirst.
“I’m a kid at heart,” Morrow said. “I was picked the class clown my senior year of high school. Maybe this is just the fulfillment of my destiny.”
Contact Josh Siegel at email@example.com.
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Knights of Columbus Councils are helping children in need by providing coats to children in their communities through the order’s Coats for Kids program.
Santa and his elf made a surprise stop Dec. 13, at WineStyles, in San Marco Plaza, by Harley-Davidson motorcycle, during the store’s weekly Friday night wine-tasting event.
Members and guests of the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club ventured Dec. 4 to Orlando, to view holiday decorations at the Grand Floridian and to have lunch at Downtown Disney.