Kids will be jumping for joy if town officials approve one business owner’s plans to bring an indoor play place to Warsaw.
On Thursday, March 7, Carla Lewis described to the Warsaw Planning Commission her plans to start her new venture, titled “360 Jump-In Crazy,” in the Times Square Shopping Center.
Lewis, who plans to open her business on April 13 pending town’s approval, said her inspiration for the idea was her four-year-old daughter whom she would take to an indoor play center in Richmond.
“I’m tired of taking her so far away,” Lewis said. “I just figured we need something here for kids, and I would love to put it in Warsaw.”
Lewis said she intends to give the town a place that provides children with “fun and supervised physical activity in a climate controlled area while giving moms and dads a break.”
Her ‘bounce center’ will feature five to seven inflatable structures suitable for children ages 2 to 13. The structures are to be shaped into large slides, dragons, castles and a child-sized obstacle course.
In addition to the inflatable section, “360 Jump-In Crazy” will also include two private party rooms, a dining area, a concession stand for snacks and prizes, a small arcade and a lounge area where teenagers and adults may enjoy television and Wi-Fi while supervising their young ones.
Lewis said food options will be concession-based and include hot dogs, pizza, ice cream and cotton candy. The business will use a kitchen already established within the building.
The health and safety plan for 360 will require that employees sanitize inflatable surfaces with Swisher Hygiene products and services, as well as separate play areas for kids aged 4 to 12 years and small children who are three years old and younger.
Lewis listed her proposed hours of operation as 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday, 10 a.m. through 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Lewis said admission would be $7 on weekdays and $10 on weekends. Admission price would enable all-day play.
In communicating the rules and proper conduct to her customers, Lewis said that supervision will be handled “referee-style,” in which she and at least six additional employees will dress in referee uniforms, limit the number of children per inflatable, maintain strict supervision of the rides and enforce the separation of age groups.
Town Manager John Slusser, who noted that the floor inside the Times Square building was concrete, asked Lewis if and how the inflatables were set up for indoors, as well as if she had insurance.
Lewis replied that the structures were specially designed for indoor play, and that most of them were arranged in the form of enclosed obstacle courses.
“I’m getting padding for every ride,” said Lewis, adding that there will be carpeting throughout the center.
She also said that she has spoken with an agent at B.H. Baird in Warsaw regarding insurance for protecting the building and her equipment.
Commissioner and Vice-Chair William Washington questioned Lewis about how she would respond to unruly children and their parents.
“When I look around, will I know how to act just by atmosphere and things on the wall?” Washington asked.
“All the rules apply to each and every person,” replied Lewis, who added that she would not risk the safety of her other customers because of one unruly individual.
“There’s going to be rules and regulations for the parents, too,” she added. “They’re going to have to understand that when they take their kids places, they have to respect the building.”
Lewis currently owns four salons located in Callao, Montross, Tappahannock and Warsaw. In addition, she has also worked with Sonya Lucas in opening Wellesley Place, the new banquet hall that town officials approved last month.
She admitted that “ 360 Jump-In Crazy” was her first attempt at a child-centered business.
“I know it’s a hard journey, but I’m going to work very hard to make sure it happens,” said Lewis.
The planning commission voted in favor of scheduling her conditional use permit for a joint public hearing with the Warsaw Town Council on Thursday, March 14 at 7 p.m. in town hall.
In related news, town council and the planning commission jointly approved Anne Congdon’s conditional use permit for operating “Lilly’s Diner and Desserts,” which had a “soft opening” on Saturday, March 10 with a grand opening planned for Wednesday, March 13 in the Warsaw Banquet Hall on Main Street.