Bill Kobylarek might not be bouncing for joy yet, but he’s a lot happier now that he’s back in business.
Kobylarek co-owns the Gilbert franchise of Altitude Trampoline Park at Gilbert and Guadalupe roads.
Almost exactly a year after he opened, he had to shut down as the state closed nonessential businesses as COVID-19 fears mounted.
“We closed on March 23 and had to furlough our 29 employees,” said Kobylarek. “We were able to call them all back when we reopened and are trying to give them as many hours as possible but business has been slow.”
Because of the closure, he not only lost regular traffic but also had to cancel several birthday parties and other events.
Kobylarek got the idea to open Altitude after he, his wife and kids enjoyed trying out different trampoline parks throughout the Valley.
“I always wished there was one closer,” Kobylarek said. “I started doing some research on different franchises and equipment manufacturers and began thinking of establishing a trampoline park in Gilbert.”
Kobylarek started looking for the perfect spot to open the park and stumbled across a closing Big Lots store with 35,000 square feet.
In July 2018, he began transforming the cavernous building into the indoor trampoline park, where people of all ages can bounce around on wall-to-wall trampolines, swing on a trapeze or balance on a log roll above a pit filled with thousands of foam cubes, practice their cartwheels and other gymnastic moves or engage in other physical feats where a soft landing is essential.
He chose Altitude Trampoline Parks after meeting the franchise’s CEO. He was sold on the company’s commitment to maintaining clean facilities that ultimately made him choose the company.
That commitment has taken on an even greater significance in the wake of the pandemic.
“We’ve always prided ourselves on being a very clean space,” said Kobylarek. “But given the circumstances, we had to take it to another level.”
During the weeks Altitude was were closed, the owners had to develop a plan for safely reopening under new conditions.
Called C3 (Caring through Cleanliness and Certification), the program includes cleaning products that are consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines executed by trained and certified staff and audited by EcoSure, Altitude’s health and safety evaluation partner.
The company ordered custom-
branded masks that all employees are required to wear during business hours.
Seating within the facility was rearranged to observe social distancing by keeping the furniture six feet apart. Hand-sanitizing stations were placed throughout the building.
Equipment and frequently touched objects such as chairs, games, tables, and door handles are constantly being wiped down and the foam pits are fluffed and sanitized twice a day using hospital grade sanitation.
In addition to increased cleaning practices, the company also reduced its capacity from 500 to 150 jumpers in the building at a time.
“It hasn’t been an issue yet,” said Kobylarek, adding, “While it’s limiting the amount of revenue we have coming in, if we space it out, we can still have the same capacity throughout the day, it just might not be as convenient for people.”
Two weeks after its reopening, Altitude Gilbert also planned and hosted a free event for high school seniors as a way to give back to the many graduates who missed out on celebrating at their commencement ceremonies.
The event included a free hour of jumping – with the option for the seniors to stay longer depending on capacity. The seniors had graduation cakes and the entire park to themselves, complete with dark lighting and music.
With the summer months ahead and the company striving to gain back its business, Kobylarek said they plan to offer several specials and a variety of events including birthday party discounts, summer camp activities, Junior Jumpers time.
He’s also working on creating a 4th of July event.
“This is a park that is owned and run by families,” said Kobylarek. “We bring our kids in here and we look at all our customers as family. We wouldn’t put them in harm’s way. We are doing everything possible to make sure we have a safe environment for everyone.”
Information: altitudegilbert.com, 480-534-8684