Ryan Hatch recently took his act on the road.
Since last September, Hatch has been the president and co-owner of The Maine Jump, an inflatable children’s playground located on Hogan Road in Bangor, in the former Pier 1 Imports building. The attraction has been growing in popularity, so Hatch decided to see if the concept would work in other parts of the state.
First up was Presque Isle, where Hatch set up kind of a Maine Jump North on May 11-12 at the Northern Maine Forum. He admitted, with a smile, that the venture was “a logistical challenge.”
Hatch, who also runs a party-rental business, took up 15 units (compared to seven at the Bangor location, which remained open that weekend) in a 35-foot enclosed box truck, along with 13 employees.
It took him and his staff several days to load the truck, four hours to set up the inflatables over 20,000 square feet and two hours to break down everything.
The event drew 4,000 people over the two days, including 1,500 children.
“The people up there were very hospitable,” Hatch said. “It was humbling to be up there with them. It showed us that The Maine Jump has become a statewide attraction.”
The weekend was a test for the Maine Jump concept.
“Before we get a footprint in a community, we want to see if there’s interest, to see what the feedback is,” Hatch said. “We’re also looking to go to Augusta as well, maybe sometime this winter.”
Hatch is in the midst of finalizing a licensing agreement for a Maine Jump facility in Presque Isle, which he is hopeful will be open by October.
“With a licensing agreement, we get them in touch with our vendors and help them set up the facility,” he explained. “They’re buying the name, the trademark, our proven method. When people buy into our system, it costs us less to expand.”
What did Hatch learn from the experience?: “I learned how exhausting it is on my body. I discovered that we’ve created something for the children of Maine that has been lacking for years. Families that couldn’t afford to come down here could go there. The Maine Jump is about making memories, and we’re just happy to be part of it.”
Hatch recalled recently finding old photographs of a family trip to Storyland, in Glen, N.H.
“It’s a good feeling to know that, down the road, kids will find pictures of themselves playing at The Maine Jump,” he said. “Maybe, when they grow up, they’ll bring their kids here.”
For more information, visit www.themainejump.com.