Connecticut-based fun center operator eyeing Indy market

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The husband-and-wife team who opened the first Thrillz family fun center in Connecticut last year is looking for franchisees to bring the concept to Indianapolis.

Rob and Lisa Cannon of Weston, Connecticut, opened Thrillz in the nearby town of Danbury in August 2018 in a 27,000-square-foot space adjacent to an indoor trampoline park they own.

Thrillz offers a range of activities, including zip lines, a rock-climbing wall, a slack-line balance challenge and other physical challenges; along with axe throwing, laser tag, a virtual reality ride, esports and an arcade.

The Cannons say they’ve seen success so far. The Danbury Thrillz booked about $1.8 million in revenue in its first year of operation and returned a third of that—about $635,000—to the bottom line.

“We know what people want, we know what fun is and we’ve been able to develop these parks that are second to none,” Rob Cannon told IBJ.

“We have a great eye for what people love,” Lisa Cannon added.

So the couple now wants to grow through franchising. They’re looking for franchisees in several metro areas, including Indianapolis, Chicago; Houston; Nashville, Tennessee; Boston; and the tri-state New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area.

“Even though we do not have any franchisees at the moment, we do have a bunch of leads,” Rob Cannon said.

Prospective Thrillz franchisees should have at least $500,000 in liquid assets, and they should expect to invest between $2 million and $3 million to open a single location. Franchisees are also expected to pay a $60,000 single-unit franchise fee and pay a 6% royalty on revenue and another 2% for marketing and advertising support.

In exchange, Thrillz will offer engineering, design and construction support as franchisees work to open their own facilities. The company will also offer franchisees four weeks of training, both in Danbury and at the franchisee’s site.

“We will hand-hold from the beginning to the end to make sure these parks are built properly and safely,” Rob Cannon said. “We will do anything we can for these people to succeed.”

The ideal Thrillz site, Rob Cannon said, is a vacant building with 20- to 22-foot ceilings that can accommodate the fun center’s rock-climbing walls and other high-flying activities. Since the fun center is a destination attraction, he said, the ideal site does not have to be immediately adjacent to dense residential neighborhoods.

“As long as you’re within 20 miles of a population of 350,000, you’re doing fine,” Rob Cannon said.

Before they got into the fun-center business, the Cannons worked on Wall Street. He worked in finance and she was a commodities broker before leaving to raise the couple’s two children, now ages 15 and 23.

They opened a franchised Bounce! trampoline park in 2016. The Cannons later bought out their franchise contract and now operate the facility as Jumpz.

In other news this week, we have several reopenings to report:

— The Cinemark 8 movie theater at 1848 E. Stop 13 Road is set to reopen Dec. 12 following an extensive remodeling. The south-side theater, which is just north of County Line Road and Greenwood Park Mall, had been a second-run theater since its opening in 1990. It closed in late September for renovations, including the installation of luxury seating and an upgraded concessions area. IBJ first reported on the renovations in October.

Cinemark 8 will reopen as a first-run movie theater. The company says it also intends to continue screening “Bollywood” films from India, just as it did before the renovations.

Kilroy’s Bar and Grill reopened last week at 201 S. Meridian St. It had closed in mid-September for flooring repairs and originally planned to reopen within two to four weeks, but the needed repair work proved to be more extensive than originally anticipated.

— Cajun/Creole seafood restaurant The Boiling expects to reopen this month at its new location, 14 E. Washington St. Manager Paolo Mendez said renovations on the space are mostly complete and he’s shooting for a Dec. 16 opening. The space formerly housed CharBlue Steak & Seafood, which closed June 29.

The Boiling operated in the basement of the nearby King Cole building at the corner of Washington and Meridian streets before it vacated the space this fall. That building is being renovated into a Motto brand hotel.

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4 thoughts on “Connecticut-based fun center operator eyeing Indy market

  1. While I am not a great fan of this concept, and am doubtful that it is sustainable in the long-run, it would seem that Lafayette Square Mall, which is now on the market, would be an ideal location for a local Thrillz.

    1. So place an unsustainable entity in a district in desperate need of attracting long term concerns who will be fully vested in creating lasting change. Hmmmm….

  2. Brandon P. you definitely make a good argument but I do agree something needs to be put there in the Lafayette sq area. indy could use a few more major attractions for tourism.Theres a lot of competition from neighboring states and peer cities to steal our major conventions. I think one way to hold on to the FAA,GenCon,Big 10, Mens and Women’s Final 4 is to bring more fun things to do for convention goers.louisville, Nashville,Columbus OH,Kansas city and Saint Louise are just to name a few cities that’s trying to compete for these conventions and sporting events. Indy shouldn’t take this for granted and continue to build off our success. this is why it makes no sense for White Lodging to get in the way of the city and Hilton building another major hotel Downtown Indy.i also hope Penske builds up Speedway into a major theme park for race fans. there should be way more to do on a major scale over there.central Indiana could be one huge major attraction if planned and developed correctly. Vegas is in the middle of the desert and if they can do it so could indy

    1. Kevin P. I agree with you sir. In regards Lafayette Square. I suggest a master mix use development single phase in design: 1.) Single Family Home development (Flanner House Style). 2.) Trade School / Charter School Concept (Harlem Children’s Zone Style) and 3.) This ( a la job creation. I fully agree with you in regards to boosting things to do in Indy. Let’s dream for a minute. Castleton is ‘reimagined’ and encompasses a new soccer stadium and related night life to such. The creation of a “City Museum” for youth 10+. The city moves towards the creation of placemaking with distinctive neighborhood marketing and nodes. Indiana Ave is reignited as a true music scene for the arts – mainly jazz. These things combined with a robust public transportation system and Indy will remain a destination and more importantly a draw to individuals to make it “home”.