Twelve years ago, Retho Williams left his job as a Rocky Mount police officer and started a business handling fundraisers for nonprofit groups, schools and churches.
Part of the business involved renting out inflatable bouncers for events. That work became so popular that he now focuses on it.
“I still do fundraising,” he said. “When I got into game business, we did fundraising. The inflatables were a gift to entice kids to go out and sell something. They would have a party afterward. I bought games and started to rent them. That business took on life of its own.”
He and his wife, Susie, own Extreme Bouncers and Slides Rentals, a party rental company that provides a wide array of inflatable bouncers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
“We do stuff in South Carolina and Virginia, not but not a whole lot,” he said. “I can extend it that far if I need to, but I wouldn’t go farther than that. It’s not cost-effective.”
The Rocky Mount-based company has been hired to provide the bounce-house entertainment for events such as the Eastern Carolina BBQ Throw Down on Saturday. Other customers include Greater Joy, Englewood Baptist and Sunset Baptist churches.
The company offers slides, games, jumpers, sport bouncers and tabletop games for grand openings, children’s and birthday parties, company picnics, family reunions, church outings, school festivals and city events.
Its inflatables include names such as “Batman Comb Slide,” “Gigantic Wave Bouncer,” “Go Diego Go!” and “Castle Moon Walk.”
Q: What products or services do you provide?
A: We offer different kinds of slides, bouncy trains and water slides, all different kinds of games for kids. We have some tabletop games like “Tic Tac Toe” and “In Da Potty.”
We’ll set up the inflatables if you need it. More frequently, people are actually picking up their own games at a warehouse at 1120 Winstead Ave. to save money.
They can rent an inflatable (without installing it) for $100 a weekend. We have all the stuff they need to install the inflatables: the blower (to fill it up), the stakes to stake it down, the instructions on how to pump.
For some of the larger bouncers, we don’t let customers pick them up. They are just a little too hard to manage. We’ve got two slides that weigh almost 800 pounds. We go out and inflate them and make sure they are down properly.
Q: How many employees do you have?
Q: Who are your key leaders?
A: Owners Retho and Susie Williams and sales manager Ken Richardson from Nashville.
Q: What is your business philosophy?
A: My business philosophy I’ve developed is something I call H.O.P.E. I’ve got it all over our trucks. It stands for Helping Our Partners in Education. Our goal is to come in and assess what you are trying to do in an organization, especially one trying to raise money or help people. Our job is to be a partner with them. We partner with teachers, principals, pastors at churches and different leaders in communities.
We don’t do as many fundraisers as we used to. We pay more attention now to the (inflatable) games. But we still like to go into schools for fundraising events.
Q: What makes business unique?
A: I think the games we have. We try and get all different kinds of bouncers. I’ve got double slides. We have trains, two different trains. We have water slides. Some other businesses don’t have water slides. We have three kinds. I look at having innovative stuff, things that are unique looking, not just average bouncer. We try and have bouncers that you don’t see all the time and make sure our games look good when they go out.
Q: How has your business grown last few years?
A: Five years ago, we only owned 10 games; now we have 25 of them. We just keep adding customers every year. People refer customers to us. We continue to do great business in town and out of town. We’re enjoying it. I enjoy serving people.