Sky Zone Franchisee Launches Slick City as Slide-Centric Indoor Park Franchise | Franchise News

After proving his concept of bringing the water park experience to a dry, indoor setting, Slick City Action Park founder and CEO Bron Launsby said the brand is ready to grow beyond its three-unit store count, with company-owned and franchised locations alike.

Franchising, which began in March, was a possibility since day one, said Launsby, but he wanted to first ensure the concept worked by establishing company-owned parks.

After its founding in 2021, Slick City’s first location opened in Denver in early 2022. Launsby said the idea for the concept came to him in 2020, when he installed a slide feature at the Sky Zone trampoline park he owned.

The equipment, built by Slick Slides, was a fast hit, and it led Launsby to approach its developer, Gary Schmit, about a new business venture.

“The slides from Slick Slides are designed to be like water, and capture the experience of a water slide,” Launsby said. “I saw the reaction from my guests and, long story short, I had a conversation with the founder about creating a new slide park.”

Bron Launsby Slick City

Slick City Action Park founder and CEO Bron Launsby

Launsby, who has 12 years of experience in the family entertainment industry, launched the new brand with Slick Slide vertically integrated as the company’s manufacturing affiliate. After the first park opened in Denver, Slick City opened two more locations, in St. Louis and Houston.

A fourth park is in development now in Phoenix, and the brand is scouting other markets for expansion, including Dallas, Milwaukee and Chicago.

“We want to have a strong portfolio of corporate locations as we build a franchise system,” Launsby said. “I think the more we can open corporate locations, the better we’re helping create economies of scale as well as learning different best practices that we can share. I think that’s a key component. Franchising, then, allows us to put up additional flags in more markets.”

The square footage of a Slick City park can vary, with Houston’s at 56,000, Denver’s at 40,000, and St. Louis’ at 30,000; the average, as listed in the franchise disclosure document, is 25,000 square feet.

Because of the size and equipment requirements, the initial investment to open a park is between $1.5 million and $3.1 million. While the upfront cost is high, Launsby said there’s a good return on investment, with the brand’s first location doing $4.1 million in sales.

“It’s a pretty strong model of payback for the owner,” Launsby said. “It is a larger investment than a lot of franchise systems, but the profits are also much higher as well.”

Launsby noted the vetting process and financial requirements are stringent to ensure there aren’t parks that go undeveloped.

“We need to make sure they’re a match for us, and they’re pre-approved from a financing source,” Launsby said. “We definitely have a variety of candidates. There are a number of them that have franchise experience, but also a fair amount that don’t. We have accountants, doctors, attorneys, real estate people, you name it. For me, it’s about having somebody who really is passionate about the brand and not just looking at it as an investment.”

Indoor family entertainment franchises were especially challenged during the pandemic but have demonstrated stronger performance in recent years as sales rebound. Sky Zone, Altitude Trampoline Park and Launch Trampoline Park all posted double-digit sales in 2022 and are pushing new franchise development. Other emerging brands, such as KTR, which counts Olympic medal-winning skateboarder Jagger Eaton among its fans, are also looking to grow.

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