Christopher Hess, 8, plays on an inflatable slide Wednesday at Bounce-N-Around at Golden East Crossing mall.

Telegram photo / Alan Campbell

Christopher Hess, 8, plays on an inflatable slide Wednesday at Bounce-N-Around at Golden East Crossing mall.

Business means to have kid appeal

By John Henderson

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Jimmy Mizelle’s businesses in Rocky Mount have the simple mission of entertaining young people.

The more children can enjoy clean, family fun, the less time they have to potentially get into trouble, he said.

The former Rocky Mount police officer has teamed up with a longtime friend, McKeith Myrick, to open Bounce-N-Around in the food court of Golden East Crossing mall. The business, which offers indoor bounce houses, slides, children’s rides and movies for young people ages 2 to 12, has opened in the 5,000-plus-square-foot space that previously was occupied by Toys ’R’ Us Express.

As their parents shop in the mall, their children can enjoy themselves, Mizelle said. More venues for family entertainment might help to change the image of Rocky Mount.

“People always talk so negative about Rocky Mount,” he said. “We actually have good safe things for everyone to enjoy that are affordable. Hopefully, we can try and turn Rocky Mount around one small step at a time.”

Students he got to know while a resource officer at Edwards Middle School are among the customers of his new businesses.

“My kids come in here and talk to me all the time,” Mizelle said. “They come in here and might play racing games and have fun in here. It is something that all ages can come in and enjoy. But we have a specific age target we are really trying to capture. But if I can have some teenagers in here playing some games to keep them off the street, I’m happy about that.”

In June 2011, Mizelle and Myrick reopened Hot Wheels Amusement Park at 2451 N. Wesleyan Blvd. Closed for 10 years, the park has an arcade and video games, a prize ticket counter, go-karts, bumper boats and an inflatable bounce house.

Mizelle also offers Air Filled Fun, a business that rents inflatables for events such as birthday parties, family reunion and church events. He uses space in the back of Bounce-N-Around to store his inflatables.

Bounce-N-Around also offers group rates for birthday parties and events put on by nonprofit groups and churches.

He said he couldn’t have asked for a better location than in the mall food court in a location with glass windows. He said he’s put children’s rides by the windows to attract customers.

“(The location) is like a magnet,” Mizelle said. “As soon as the kids and their parents come through (the food court entrance), the kids are about to pull their parents arm off as they try to come in. When they walk through (the business front entrance), it just looks like Christmas morning. That’s what we want.”

The charge is $4 to $5 per hour depending on the day of the week and $6 for unlimited bouncing.

Q: What products or services do provide?

A: Birthday parties, inflatables for the kids. We have several kiddie slides and a few arcade games – good clean, family fun. We’re enclosing that area. We have a projection screen up. Hopefully, in next week or two, that will be ready for movies. We have popcorn, cotton candy, cake pops, little snacks like that for the kids.

Q: How many people employ?

A: Six.

Q: Who are your key leaders?

A: Myself and my business partner, McKeith Myrick.

Q: What is your business philosophy?

A: To offer a place for good, clean family fun. When children and parents leve, we want them to feel they had a great time and want to come back.

Q: What makes your business unique?

A: It’s unique as far as business itself. There is really nothing else like it. We have unique bounce houses. Nobody else has a carousel.

Q: How do you foresee your business growing in the coming years?

A: We definitely see it growing. In just the two weeks we’ve been here, the feedback has been great. We’re booking parties left and right. We really think it’s something that can help the community, help the mall, help everybody with some good, clean family fun. It’s something that the kids can come in and enjoy. Parents can drop them off when they go shopping. It’s for ages 2 to 12. We’ll definitely have at least two staff members on hand pretty much all time. Kids get wrist banded, parents get wrist banded. We have a good check-in and check-out system. It’s really just a convenience for the parents too. They don’t have to worry about anything.