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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Franchise opportunity launched by Lancashire couple 

Inflata Nation opened four weeks ago in Trafford Park, Manchester, featuring a giant indoor bouncy play space, assault courses and ball pools.

And now the concept’s creators, husband and wife duo Michelle and Matt Ball from Southport, are toasting the venture’s success as they celebrate unprecedented interest – and take a leap into franchising.

Director Michelle, 35, says: “When we first launched Inflata Nation, we obviously hoped it would prove popular, but we certainly didn’t plan for it.

“Thankfully, since we opened we’ve been super busy and, if we’re being honest, the level of interest has been surprising even to us.”

The Inflata Nation refurbishment, transforming a former ‘Jump Nation’ site, cost £500,000 and the new inflatables were sourced from UK firm ‘Airquee’, headquartered in Cwmbran, Wales.

Since then the park has played host to almost 100 customers per hour-long session, with opening times from 9am to 9pm at weekends.

So by mid November Michelle and Matt, based in Southport, had already seen 25,000 participants enjoying themselves on the climbing wall, the ‘Inflata Drop’ giant slide, or on the Gladiators’ style jousting arena.

And interest from bounce-mad punters hasn’t just been limited to Britain.

Matt reveals: “While trampoline parks are becoming more and more common, we think Inflata Nation is a pretty unique concept – there’s certainly nothing else quite like it in the world so far.

“Which is why we’re also selling Inflata Nation as a franchise – with interest coming in from all over the globe, including places like Dubai, America and Australia.

“We’ve also protected the brand by signing an exclusive agreement with Airquee, the market leading manufacturer of inflatables.

“We’ve probably had between 80 and 100 enquiries about franchise opportunities, many of which haven’t gone beyond initial conversations, but it’s very encouraging.

“And we’ve actually now signed our first franchisee and are working with them to secure a prime location while working towards an opening in Q2 next year.”

Anyone looking to launch their own Inflata Nation branded park will need to have access to at least £200,000 of liquid assets, with total asset value of £500,000 plus.

The franchise fee is £50,000, with the first half (£25,000) payable when the franchise agreement is first signed, and the second £25,000 payable once the site is completed.

And once it’s up and running, Michelle and Matt will take 6 per cent of turnover generated, which Michelle says is the ‘going market rate for this sort of leisure activity’.

Every franchisee will get an exclusive ‘territory area’ – based on distance to travel and population density – which will ultimately dictate the number of franchises available.

Meanwhile the dream situation for Michelle and Matt is for a ‘master franchisor’ from the US to make a move.

Michelle adds: “Ideally, the arrangement we’d want in America would be to get a series of master franchisors who’d deal with the whole of the United States.

“In those cases we’d want to work with people with a proven track record in either the leisure or retail markets, with experience of multiple sites.

“It’s about finding the right people to partner with, and that’s the biggest area we want to conquer.”



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