If you’ve been to , you may have noticed the activity next door along with a sign telling all of North Branford that BounceU is ‘Coming Soon.’ Wendy Van Kirk and John, owners of BounceU in Stratford, are aiming to open the North Branford location the first week in February with a goal of opening the doors Feb. 1.
“We love it enough that we want to do a second one,” said Wendy.
The couple chose North Branford for a variety of reasons, but the initial draw was the location of the storefront. BounceU needs a space with at least 18-foot ceilings to make room for “some of the biggest equipment of any kind of bounce place,” according to Wendy.
She was equally pleased that the space was located next to a grocery store where many people will see the facility.
“Also, the town–at least the –was very, very happy to have the concept coming to town and everyone in the town has been very helpful, including ,” said Wendy. “I’ve heard wonderful things about North Branford and their helpfulness and they’re extremely open to what we want to do.”
The Van Kirks opened their Stratford location four years ago after John decided to give up his job as CIO of Stanley Works. After a franchise consultant presented the couple with opportunities, BounceU stood out to Wendy, an educational consultant for children with developmental disabilities. The subject is close to the couple’s heart as their 23-year-old daughter has autism.
“What was appealing to me was I saw it would be good for kids with autism and other disabilities for them to utilize the same stuff typical kids could use and get the same type of enjoyment,” said Wendy. “The first thing I thought of was a sensory bounce.”
Wendy has trained her staff members to work with individuals with developmental disabilities so they are able to "exercise, build strength and learn how to overcome some anxieties by trying things that are new.”
“We are the only BounceU in the country–the only bounce place in country–where we do intervention with kids without their parents participating so the parents can get an hour break,” said Wendy.
And of course, she is quick to point out that BounceU is not only fun for everyone but a great form of exercise, too.
Work at BounceU
Though the Van Kirks have some staff members lined up for the North Branford location, they are aiming to have a staff of at least 40.
“It will be a good boost for teens and college students, as well as adults,” said Wendy. “Right now I have 40 employees at my current location and I know this one will be just as busy.”
- Anyone up to 70 years of age can enjoy BounceU (over 70 can bounce with a doctor’s note).
- BounceU will be open every day of the year except Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Open bounces are split into two rooms, ages 7-and-under and 8-and-up.
- If you bring a canned good–which will be donated to the North Branford Food Bank–to an open bounce, you get $1 off admission
- There will be two separate bounce rooms designed by Wendy with equipment including giant slides, a boxing ring and a spider climb.
- You can contact North Branford's BounceU at 203-484-9200.