The Big Backyard Celebrates its One-Year Anniversary
NEW BERLIN – A “dream business” for two young moms is celebrating its first birthday with a party for current and new customers Friday, Oct. 30 with a full day of fun events, starting at 9 a.m. The Big Backyard, 2857 S. 160th Street in the New Berlin Industrial Park, is a 10,000-square foot facility with an indoor playground where children, ages infant to 8, and their families can enjoy time together.
“We overcame two serious risk factors to celebrate our first birthday,” says co-owner Christine Jahn. Many small businesses aren’t successful in their first year and the deepening recession evident by October of last year increased the normal risk. “A year ago the economy was telling us to run the other way,” says Jahn.
However, Jahn and co-owner Cindy Lofy had already put a year of planning into their venture so they took the leap. They opened the doors of the leased New Berlin warehouse they had filled with age-appropriate play equipment, a snack bar and seating areas for watchful parents.
Today, The Big Backyard is a growing business, offering a reasonably priced indoor playground and birthday center for families in southeastern Wisconsin. In addition to becoming a popular birthday party site, the facility is a frequent destination for play groups, day care centers, grandparents and others. “We serve all those people who want to give children a chance to have playground fun when the Wisconsin weather isn’t cooperating,” says Jahn. (And, research they did before opening the business, showed Wisconsin didn’t offer an abundance of outdoor playground weather).
“The Big Backyard is not a daycare center, but is designed for parents and children to enjoy time together,” says Lofy. The play areas are set up so parents can keep their children in view while they enjoy a snack or visit with adult friends at bistro tables or in comfortable seating. “It’s a great place for parents to go with one child or a whole play group,” she adds.
The facility includes an enormous wooden play set with slides, tunnels, rock wall and clubhouse, a toddler play set for children three and under, a wooden playhouse, and infant “soft play” area, riding toys, balls of all sizes and a basketball hoop. In addition to the indoor play area, The Big Backyard offers classes and activities for children.
Costs are designed to be affordable, says Jahn, with unlimited open play time $7 for the first child and $6 for a second child. More frequent visitors can buy monthly passes or annual passes to bring the cost per visit down as low as $3. Infants under age one and adults are free.
“Customers ask us all the time if we are a franchise,” says Jahn. “We are proud to say no. Our business is the dream of two moms who worked really hard to make all their ideas into reality.”
Among the events that are part of the Oct. 30 celebration:
“Jester Fun” will perform a magic show as well as making balloon sculptures for children from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m, and will return from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. for more balloon fun.
Free popsicles will be available all day and children can get a Big Backyard temporary tattoo. A special treat will be provided to everyone after playing.
For more information on The Big Backyard, go to www.thebigbackyardwi.com.
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