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jump logoAdmit it - when you see little kids bouncing around in a bounce house part of you wishes you were in there bouncing, too.  There is no denying children love to bounce.  Wednesdays through Sundays you can come to Lansing and bounce year 'round at Jump Around Inflatables.  The company rents inflatables to private parties as well as fairs and carnivals, but also has what amounts to an indoor amusement park in Lansing.

"It's just so cool to see the kids light up when they walk through the door," says co-owner Nicholas Conner.  "They all know what's here.  They come here once and the parents will tell us when they drive by later they hear 'Bounce house! Bounce house!'"

And it's not just for kids.  The facility has hosted a 40th birthday party, and Sweet 16 parties.  A family Christmas party and an adoption party were also recently hosted there.

Jump Around Inflatables is a family-owned business that Conner owns with his mother Michelle Zirbel and his sister Maureen.  Two part time helpers, also family members,  help out, one with delivering inflatables for outside rentals, and the other inside the building.

"We keep it all in the family. The girls take care of the indoor facility during the summer," Connor says.  "I have a guy that helps me when we take bounce houses on the road on weekends."

jump slideThe big play room has a giant slide that, when deflated and folded up, weighs 800 pounds, plus two bounce houses. Those are rotated with other inflatables throughout the year.

Inside you will find inflatable slides, toddler unit, bounce houses and obstacle course, video games, air hockey, foose ball table, private party rooms, and balloons and party supplies.  The company owns 26 inflatables, all for rent, that are rotated in two large play rooms so the experience is ever-changing.  There is no age limit.  There is no age limit in the big room.  Adults are not charged either, though they may play on the inflatables with their children if they want to.  Or they can sit on sofas while their kids play.  If a child is too small to walk there is no charge, but  can still play.  Only kids 5 years old and younger are allowed in the 35x30 toddler room during busy times.

"Our family does a lot of foster care," Zirbel says.  "We fostered a lot of children, and many of them got to go back home to their biological families.  So when we built this structure we designed it so families could interact with each other.  We have the couch, because grandmas like to come.  Fathers love the sports channels.  But depending on the crowd the TV isn't on that much.  When parents realize they can get into he bounce houses with their children, they are doing what we intended -- they are playing with their children.  And it's fun to see all of them have fun as a family."

The business began with 15 inflatables available for rent from their King Ferry home-based business.  But last year the family realized they could extend their business beyond three seasons by opening an indoor facility.  One big expense, of course, is insurance.  But the family found that it would only cost an additional $500 above what they were already paying to insure an indoor venue.

At the same time the Cayuga Vista Drive building became available for rent, and had all the features they needed.  They moved into the building in February 2014.

jump toddlerroomWhen business is busy only children 5 and under may play in the toddler room

"It was ideal," says Conner.  "A small room for the toddlers, a big room for the big kids, high ceilings -- that's the hard part, finding a building that has high ceilings."

"We looked at a few other places that were quite costly," Zirbel adds.  "They wanted to give us less square footage for a much higher price.  I went to the Town of Lansing and spoke to Lynn Day and the wonderful people there.  He told me this building was about to be available."

Zirbel is a native of Genoa, and she her family now lives in King Ferry.  She has worked at Cornell University for about 20 years, working in the Registrar's Office, and is currently a senior at the hotel school.  She says she is thinking about installing a professional kitchen at some time in the future to provide food in-house for the party rooms.

Connor does construction work, and works the 2am shift loading packages at UPS.  He wanted to start his own business, and came up with the idea of renting bounce houses.

"I was looking for something different," he says.  "Bounce houses didn't really come in big until six or seven years ago - I never went on a bounce house when I was a kid.  We had trampolines. I was looking for something to be my career and her retirement business."

When he pitched the idea to Zirbel she was impressed, and ready to go all in.

"He had it well thought out," she says.  "I supported his idea because nobody wanted to finance a bounce house.  We've been excited about how it's turned out.  We haven't had any bad remarks - everything has been positive.  We always have new customers weekly, so we're just looking to increase our customer base.  People come from the Genoa area, Homer, Cortland, Newfield, and we had a couple of people come from Binghamton because they said there were no bounce houses open on the weekends there."

jump michellenicholasNicholas Conner and Michelle Zirbel

Connor says he has been scaling down his construction work as the bounce house has become more of a full time job.  he still gets up for the 2pm shift at UPS before going to work at his own business.

The business has provided inflatables for fundraisers for non-profit organizations including the 'Lansing Loves to Read' program, the Lansing after-school program and The Lansing Recreation Department, as well as Celebrate Lansing, Cornell events like the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) event.

"We like to give back to the community," she says.  "We feel like the community is supporting us so we like to return the favor."

As for adults bouncing -- Zirbel and Connor claim they don't bounce around on the inflatables themselves during off-hours, but Zirbel says her daughter Maureen does.

"Quite frequently we have the Southern Cayuga seniors here after hours," she says.  "They all come in and they play."

Hang around the reception desk at the entryway and you see for yourself the excitement as children come in, tugging on their parent's hands, impatient to get bouncing.

"I love seeing the children's and parents' faces when they interact in play.  To me that's incredible," Zirbel says.  "We also see a lot of children cry when they are leaving.  I know the parents don't enjoy that, but for us it's enjoyable because they like it here.  They don't want to leave.  So to us it's a good cry.  It's been very rewarding for us."

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