Entrepreneurs hop into a new venture

Entrepreneurs in action: Will Phillips, left, and Luke Phillips. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

Entrepreneurs in action: Will Phillips, left, and Luke Phillips. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

Two brothers are jumping into the trampoline business on the Southside.

Will and Luke Phillips plan to open a 37,500-square-foot Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park at 1345 Carmia Way in December.

Sky Zone is a Los Angeles-based company with almost 50 locations across the United States and Canada. The Phillipses’ Richmond franchise will have a main jumping court that can fit 50 people, a trampoline court with basketball hoops, two courts for dodge ball or volleyball, and a foam pit.

Sky Zone will compete with at least one other trampoline gym: Jumpology Trampoline Arena in Glen Allen.

The Phillips brothers saw the potential for trampoline parks in 2011 after visiting one in Dallas.

“I was automatically drawn to it,” Luke Phillips said. “And there was a line of kids running out the door.”

They began researching the industry as soon as they got home and started looking for the right piece of real estate.

Brothers Will Phillips, left, and Luke Phillips.

Will Phillips, left, and Luke Phillips.

They looked at 30 locations in Virginia before inking a five-year lease in the spring for the former Linens n Things at Town Crossing. They bought into the Sky Zone franchise shortly thereafter.

Adam Lawson of Jones Lang LaSalle brokered the deal for the space.

Luke Phillips, 25, said the build-out costs have reached seven figures. They are financing the venture with a Small Business Administration loan from a bank in Minnesota. The total investment for Sky Zone franchisees can run from $800,000 to $2 million, according to the company’s website.

A team from Sky Zone came to Richmond and built the trampolines in eight days, which included construction of the 7,036-square-foot main court. Katherman & Co. is handling most of rest of the building work.

The brothers aren’t new to mixing business with fun. They owned a parasailing company from 2008 to 2012, and own Hatch Solutions, a company they launched in Dallas last year that sells video games to retailer GameStop. Their father, Terry Phillips, also has experience in the video game industry with Midlothian-based South Peak Interactive.

Luke Phillips graduated with an economics degree from Hampden-Sydney College in 2011, and Will Phillips, 28, graduated with a religious studies degree from Elon University in North Carolina in 2007.

The brothers expect to hire 120 people to help with daily operations and event planning.

An hour of trampoline time and a pair of socks with rubber gripping will run $14 at Sky Zone. Jumpers will have to sign a waiver before they start bouncing around.

The Phillips brothers say their core demographic is children between the ages of 3 and 15 but that parents often give in to the temptation of the trampoline. Fitness classes, concessions and private rooms are also part of their model.

The Sky Zone in Richmond will be the company’s first location in Virginia, but more are on the way. Virginia Beach and Fairfax locations are in the works, and the company expects to triple its number of locations to 150 by the end of 2014.

“It’s just the universal appeal of trampolines,” Will Phillips said. “It’s a classic tale: As soon as a kid gets a trampoline, the kid gets 30 more friends.”

The "Sky Slam" court at Sky Zone Richmond.

The “Sky Slam” court at Sky Zone Richmond.

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