Update: This post originally noted that Jump! closes at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, when in fact the store closes at 8 p.m. The post has been updated to correct the error.
Robert Phillips has worked many jobs in his lifetime–he’s been a meteorologist, a commercial pilot and has spent the past 14 years in the military, most recently working as an engineer officer.
Owning and operating an inflatable center was not necessarily on his agenda.
But when Phillips and his wife moved to Roanoke with their three kids a year and a half ago, they quickly realized that Southwest County needed more kid-friendly options for play and hosting parties–a need he decided to fill with Jump!
“I started by renting out jump houses for events to get a feel for the market,” Phillips says. The market, he found, is here.
Phillips encountered an inflatable center when he was stationed in Texas, and decided Roanoke needed a center like it (there is a similar store on Rt.460, Phillips notes, but said the store doesn’t offer the extensive open play hours that Jump! offers).
Kids from 2 to 12 years old can enjoy the open play hours at Jump! from 10 a.m. to
5 8 p.m. Monday through Friday for just $8–adults are free with a child. Families can also schedule times during those hours to host private parties at Jump!, or on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
That means that some weeks, Phillips doesn’t get a day off–he’s still the only full-time employee–but that’s alright by him. “This isn’t even a job,” he said. “It’s just awesome.”
The facility, converted from a former clothing retail store, features two party rooms, an arcade space and a large floor area, now nearly completely covered with inflatable jump houses, slides, obstacle courses and basketball hoops, plus ample seating for parents or guardians.
With three children at home, Phillips was well-prepared for the enthusiasm that the children bring to the center each day: during our conversation, one boy ran around, shrieking with pure joy and pointing at the big inflatable dog on the jump house, his family in tow.
Seeing that excitement never gets old, Phillips said, and he never tires of seeing the look on kids’ faces as they walk into Jump! and get a look at all the brightly colored inflatables for the first time.
And he hopes that enthusiasm never goes away: eventually, he would love to expand Jump! to include the adjoining empty space.
Jump! is located at the corner of Starkey and Electric Roads, near FYE, at 4035 Electric Road in Roanoke. For more information, call Jump! at 540-904-2595, visit Jump! online here or “like” Jump! on Facebook.