Never Too Old to Party

A party franchise proves business and pleasure do go together.

By Sara Wilson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Keele Winter, 33, loves to party. In fact, she has been partying nonstop for the past three and a half years and has even gotten the city of Brentwood, California, to join in on the fun. Complete with pizza, a 20-foot slide, an 18-foot bounce house, and a 1,500-square-foot obstacle course, her party facility ranks among the best in town. But Winter doesn't just play around--organizing parties is her business as a Pump It Up franchisee.

In 2001, Winter, a former stay-at-home mom, opened the doors to her 10,000-square-foot facility and attracted fun-lovers by offering 40 free parties during the first month. Within three months, party fever swept the city, and Winter was already seeing profits. Now there's a six-week to two-month waiting list to schedule a two-hour party at the indoor facility. Sales for 2005 are projected to hit $500,000, and Winter is busy constructing a bigger building to accommodate the growth. "I'm talking about parapets and walls and sheetrock and permit fees and things you don't think will ever come into your vocabulary," says Winter. "I've learned a lot."

Check out the Pump It Up franchise in Entrepreneur.com's FranchiseZone.

And Winter's parties are not just kid stuff. From hosting Easter egg hunts for big companies to throwing surprise birthday parties for the older generation, the inflatable equipment brings out the kid in everyone. "When you see moms and dads and grandpas and grandmas going down the slides, it's hilarious," says Winter. "It's like being on a giant indoor playground."

For this mother of three, the party has just begun. "I don't ever see a time in my life when Pump It Up is not a part of it," Winter says. "I plan on doing this for a long, long time."

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