Trampoline parks bouncing into the area
A South Elgin couple is jumping into the indoor family entertainment business.
Jill and Kevin Rempert recently opened Epic Air Trampoline Park in South Elgin. The business features six different jumping courts totaling 14,000-square-feet. A basketball court, dodgeball area and foam pit are part of the mix, which Jill describes as "exercise in disguise."
Jill, who was in the mortgage industry for 15 years, and Kevin, a former contractor, wanted to start their own business. They thought about everything from restaurants to retail before coming up with the idea for the trampoline park, which their five children were in favor of.
The independently-owned business has been going well, with lines to get in stretching out the door. "We have been really busy on the weekends," said Jill, 44.
The concept has been growing across the country, much like that of indoor inflatable centers a few years ago.
There are several trampoline park franchises that have seen success. Sky Zone takes the credit for creating the world's first patented, all trampoline, walled playing courts in Las Vegas in 2004.
The company, which became a franchiser in 2009, was named one of the fastest-growing, private companies in the United States in 2011 by Inc. magazine. The company's revenue jumped from $2.4 million in 2007 to $4.3 million in 2010.
Popular in Florida or out West, Jill expects the indoor parks will grow in this area. "The word is out. They are coming," Jill said of the concept.
Other parks that have hit the area include Sky High opening in Naperville and Niles and Xtreme Trampolines in Buffalo Grove and Carol Stream.
The owners of the parks all claim safety is a main concern. Each park has its own rules and safety features. Some require special socks to be worn to prevent slipping and others claim the padding on the trampolines is placed in a way to prevent injuries.
The trampolines are positioned low to the ground so there is no way to fall off, which reduces the number of injuries, owners say.
In case you're wondering, the cost to jump at these gyms is $11 or $12 for the first hour and then about $7 for the second hour.
After operating in Niles for 25 years, Scott Stainless Steel Inc. recently moved to Northbrook.
The new location at 666 Dundee Road doubles the company's space and provides room for expansion, said Operations Manager Dawn Finn.
The company that started 59 years ago distributes flat rolled stainless steel, coil and sheets. Larry Scott, the founder's grandson, serves as president.
Master mom entrepreneur
A local writer recently published a book filled with tips and practical advice about how to be a mom and run a booming business all at the same time.
Jill Salzman of Oak Park launched her first book called "Found It: A Field Guild for Mom Entrepreneurs."
The book's 51 short chapters are brimming with tricks to help women fine-tune their self-starter skills and build a successful company.
The inspiration for the book came from her current business venture, The Founding Moms, an organization based on the belief that it's possible for women to be successful in the business world, while also juggling motherhood.
The book also contains dozens of mom entrepreneurs' accounts of their adventures.
Season of giving
Northern Illinois Food Bank based in Geneva set a record for distributing more food than ever before throughout its 13-county network and exceeded its fundraising goal for the holiday season.
During the months of November and December, the agency received 49 percent more food donations than last year, a total of 7.6 million pounds.
The agency also received a 23 percent increase in monetary donations. While this was great, it still didn't meet the need as there are more people that need help, said Director of Communications Donna Lake. She said in DuPage County alone, nearly 46,000 kids (nearly 20 percent) are at risk of hunger.
More sub sandwiches
Two new Jersey Mike's Subs recently opened in the area.
Jay Punukollu opened his second franchise at 178 Biesterfield Road in Elk Grove Village. He opened his first store in Gurnee about 13 months ago.
And John Griparis and Jeff Berns launched their tenth eatery. The franchise owners opened their latest sub shop at 5691 W. Touhy Ave., in Niles.
In the spring of 2009, the business partners opened their first location in Vernon Hills.
The sub sandwich franchise is growing, with nearly 30 in Illinois and about 600 stores open and under development nationwide. The company that serves authentic East Coast-style subs on fresh baked bread started more than 50 years ago.
Odds and ends
• Cushman & Wakefield of Illinois Inc. has been awarded a leasing assignment for a five-building portfolio in the suburbs. The portfolio totals about 750,000 square feet, consisting of properties at 1600 Corporate Center (1600 Golf Road) in Rolling Meadows, Embassy Plaza (1933 North Meacham Road) in Schaumburg, One North Arlington (1550 West Shure Drive) in Arlington Heights, Kensington Corporate Center I (1660 Feehanville Drive) in Mount Prospect and Prairie Stone Commons (5401 & 5407 Trillium Boulevard) in Hoffman Estates.
• Half Price Books recently opened its newest store in a 9,100-square-foot space at 2867 95th St., Naperville. The company is the largest family-owned new and used bookstore chain with 115 locations in 16 states.
• Scharm Floor Covering in Des Plaines was presented the 2011 Chicago Floor Covering Association, Retailer of the Year Award. Scharm is a full service floor covering company servicing the area for more than 38 years. In addition, the company received the Angie's List Super Service Award for 2011.
• Kim Mikus, editor of the Daily Herald Business Ledger, covers local business. Send business news to email@example.com.
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