Jump Oasis started three years ago when owner Alicia Moise realized she wanted to open a business involving parties. As a mother of three children who are all under the age of 10, she's equipped the play facility with a Wii gaming station, a karaoke stage, inflatables and a toddlers' area.
Jump Oasis is much more than just a kids' playplace, though. It also caters to birthday parties for adults, Halloween shindigs and teen dances.
Patch sits down with Moise this week to find out how the Snellville resident opened the business and what Jump Oasis has to offer.
Patch: What inspired you to open Jump Oasis?
Moise: I was working in corporate America for about 15 years in IT, so I came from an IT background. I still have it in me somewhere. With all the layoffs that happened back in '09, unfortunately the local Atlanta group that I worked with got laid off. So I stayed home and really reflected on what it is I wanted to do next. Did I want to go back in IT? Did I want to do something where I spend more time with the kids? At that time, I had my second son, who was almost a year old, so it made me think: What can I do that I really love doing?
And then it just came: parties. I didn't know exactly at the time what it meant, but I've always been the one in the family to host parties.
So it came to me, and then we were thinking, OK, kids parties. There's a need for that in this area. There wasn't one in the area, so I did a year's research. I didn't just jump into it. I completely did my demographics research. I did everything to a "T," I wrote the business plan, and then I started looking at locations. This area had a good need for something for kids, other than the skating rink, and things like that. That's really what inspired it, something for the kids where they can play and still be active, but in an indoor, safer environment.
Patch: Aside from the bouncies, what else does Jump Oasis offer?
Moise: We do summer camp here, also. All of the parties here are direct referrals from people who have had parties here before. Parents love it.
One of the things that sets us apart from the other facilities is that we focus a lot on dance and parental involvement. We've got the karaoke and stage area. It's quiet now, but it's the most popular part of the facility. That's where the kids can sing the karaoke games. They can do the dance games. The popular game right now is "Just Dance" and the Michael Jackson dance game. They love, love, love to participate, and it gets the parents involved with the kids.
The Wii stations are something different from some of the other bouncy places, too. That's where more of the older kids or the boys tend to gravitate.
We also have a DJ that's here. He keeps it swinging here.
Patch: I remember seeing Jump Oasis flyers for Labor Day about a special you guys were having.
Alicia Moise: We do something for every Labor Day, Memorial Day, all the holidays. We do a family fun day, which is why we take some of the bouncies out in the parking lot.
Patch: What other special holiday stuff do you do?
Moise: We kick it off Memorial Day with a free admission day, and then for 4th of July and Labor Day, we do another special. For Halloween, we have our Halloween costume party.
Patch: Sounds like fun. What does that involve?
Moise: Mostly, it's a dance party, so we take the majority of the bouncies down, and we have DJs come in. We have our in-house DJ, but we bring in guest DJs and guest performers. We have vendors like Bruster's and stuff come out, so that's more like a dance party. We have costume competitions, we have giveaways, and that's our next upcoming event, actually.
We decorate the place not too spooky, but we try to give the kids a good scare when they come on in. And even the parents come in costume! For the one last year, we had about 300 kids in here. It was a pretty packed house. They loved it.
Patch: What age group do you tend to cater to?
Moise: We tend to cater to the elementary school age range, but a lot of our parties are also 1-year-old parties. They tend to be the more flamboyant parties that we do. Really ages 1 to 12, that's our core age range, where the bouncies are involved. And then we also have dance parties for our preteens and teens, where the bouncies are taken down, the lights are off and we have the disco lights on, so it's more like a teen club environment.
And then we also cater to adults. We've done pretty much the milestone parties: the 30th, the 40th, the 50th. And it's more like a banquet feel.
Patch: Is there anything new that you guys are working on right now?
Moise: Right now, we're adding a fitness program. We started off with Zumba, and now we're branching out to other types of fitness-dance-aerobic classes here. One of the programs we're launching pretty soon is Silver Sneakers for the elderly, so that they can come out and get a workout in the daytime with our instructors.
We're really big right now with childhood obesity, which is really high in Georgia. Me, personally, I'm looking to get back on track having three kids and two knee surgeries. It takes a toll on my body, so I'm getting back on track myself. I figured, hey, let me have it here, have some friends come on by, and it's the best of both worlds for me.
Patch: And this is your first business?
Moise: This is my first business. My husband and I co-run it, but he still works full-time at his regular job. We're business partners, so he's here on the weekend and helps any which way he can. He's always had various side jobs and ventures that he does in addition to his full-time job, so he's the one that kind of inspired me to do this. He's the one that pushes me. When I get tired and weary, he's like, "No, no, keep going at it, keep going at it. It takes a while for a business to gain momentum and get the word out there." The mere fact that we've survived in this bad economy, I can say it's really a testament on the type of reviews the customers feel about the business and how they enjoy the experience here. They love it.
I'm originally from Trinidad, the islands, so that's why you hear the accent. You can look around and see the facility has palm trees everywhere, with the color to try to bring out that island feel.
Patch: I definitely get that feel. Earlier you mentioned you have kids. How have they influenced you for this business?
Moise: I learn from them. The things that they like. I take into consideration what kind of the activities they like. For example, the toddlers' area is a bit different than some of the bouncy facilities. There are toddler bouncies, but through my research, toddlers aren't comfortable with that type of surface. They're not comfortable with the noise of the inflatable, and they're a bit intimidated with the "squishiness" of the bouncy, so hence the reason our set up is on a hard floor with a soft surface. That's one of the things my second son influenced me on. We went around to some of the inflatables, and I realized he's not having it. I figured if he's not liking the toddler bouncy, most other kids aren't. I got some feedback from a nurse friend of mine who reinforced that kids at that age aren't comfortable with an unstable floor.
Patch: And how do your kids feel about your business? How do you feel about your business now?
Moise: The kids love it. It's a play day every day, just like it says outside. I love it because I get to see the smile on the kids. It's a priceless feeling when the parents bring the kids, and the kids can't see exactly what's inside, so they press up against the window of the front door and they're like, "Oh, wow! Awesome!" It's like the best compliment I can get, the feeling the kids get when they come through the door. They feel like they're in play wonderland.
Jump Oasis is located at 1940-F Parker Court in Stone Mountain and can be contacted at 678-713-4503 and by firstname.lastname@example.org. Its operating hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.