Cincinnati native Brian Flechsig has helped define central Ohio as a fly-fishing mecca while building one of the top fly-fishing shops in the country.
The family behind Grove City's World of Bounce used their own family's expectations for a kid-friendly birthday party as the framework for their success.
Paul McKnight and his son, Jeff, have been partners in the family construction businesses since 1998. His daughter, Jennifer, approached them with the idea.
"In spring of 2008, Jennifer had taken one of her sons to a birthday party where they had huge inflatables. She came to us and said she enjoyed the concept and the kids liked it so much she thought it would work in Grove City," Paul McKnight said. "I thought it was an opportunity for our family to develop the type of family center we would like, and since I had a building available, we decided to turn it into the World of Bounce."
The three agreed that the focus should be on private parties in a safe environment where families could enjoy time with their guests, McKnight said.
"With 11 grandchildren, we've been to all of the other places around town and you spend all the time you're there counting heads and trying to keep track of your kids," he said. "So we knew we wanted a private party center with the biggest inflatables that we could get. Making this a family-friendly business has been very conscious in every decision we've made."
There are two separate rooms filled with inflatables at the World of Bounce, which helps to maintain separation between the parties, according to McKnight. This strategy has worked well for the business so far.
"We've been able to stick with this plan pretty well. We have 'open bounce' at different times, and a 'family bounce night' where families can come and for a fixed price, get pizza and drinks and then enjoy the bounce houses," he said. "That's all by reservation, though, so that it doesn't get out of hand."
McKnight said he directs his employees to have fun at the job and interact with children and parents to make sure everyone is having fun.
"I think the biggest key for us is paying attention to detail. What we try to do is make every guest's experience as good as it can be," McKnight said. "We invite the parents to join the children on the inflatables and use the birthday child's name as much as possible to recognize them on their day.
"We realize that these parents have chosen to spend their dollars with us, so we want to exceed their expectations, making sure everything is nice, orderly, clean and coordinated."
The attention to detail and encouraging fun and participation is working, McKnight said.
"Even in today's economic climate, we find that when you do your job correctly, you can be successful regardless," he said. "Our long-term goal is to take the World of Bounce, its operation and procedures that we've developed, and open a second or third location.
"We checked into some franchises before starting this up and found the current franchise structure to leave something to be desired, so we may expand into that area, too, but it would be prototype. I don't like to just follow the norm."
For more information about the World of Bounce, visit www.worldofbounceparty.com or 1649 Gateway Circle in Grove City.