Coal Grove inflatable business has #8216;blown up#8217;

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

Four years ago, M&M Inflatables Owner Mick Clark was working for Pepsi.

He was at a school carnival and saw how much everyone was enjoying the inflatable bouncer. A light bulb went off on what he could do for a side job.

“I started off wanting to make a little extra money,” Clark said. He started with a slide, a jumper and an obstacle course.

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The demand quickly skyrocketed and now, the company has 82 inflatables, from jumpers to bouncers to slides to skee ball to boxing rings and even a Velcro wall.

It has grown from just Clark to 10 full-time employees.

“I honestly never thought it would be this big,” Clark said. “It has just blown up from when we started.”

He estimates that on an average week M&M Inflatables does 100 to 150 set-ups at various events throughout the Tri-State.

Clark said the inflatables are as popular with adults as they are with kids.

“We’ve done parties for senior citizens,” he said. “So there really is no age limit for this, from two-year-olds to 65-year-olds.”

Clark calls churches the bread and butter of his business.

“We do a lot of church events, it is probably 65 percent of our business,” he said. “Schools too, but they are only open part of the year.”

The busiest time of the year for M&M Inflatables is from early spring to fall when the weather is nice.

While setting up an inflatable takes about 10 minutes, taking it down and getting it back on the truck is the tricky part.

“When you take them down, you have to let all the air out, roll them up and put them back on the truck,” Clark said. “That’s the hardest part.”

And it takes a couple of people to pick up an inflatable since they range in weight from 300 pounds to 1,600 pounds.

“It takes four guys to do that,” Clark said.

As for future plans, Clark said M&M Inflatables is getting ready to open up an indoor party center in South Point.

Right now, he is negotiations for the property, but has a good idea of what he wants the business to be like.

It will have private party rooms, birthday party supplies, an arcade and of course, inflatables. He is also considering having miniature golf.

“It will be late fall or early winter by the time the building is up,” Clark said, of the as yet unnamed business.