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.