TAMPA – Kids parties are not what they used to be: a group of kids would get together, sing “Happy Birthday,” open presents and go home, maybe after eating some cake and candy.
It’s a different world and the parties are now more complex than some wedding receptions.
It’s big business. Joanna Perkins and her husband, Craig, who live in the Westchase area, have several children and grandchildren. They had been to so many kids’ parties that they decided to get in on the fun. They opened Westchase Inflatable Fun in July 2012, and it has been a huge success.
It’s hard to drive around Westchase on a Saturday or Sunday without seeing their bounce houses, water slides or pony rides that the Perkinses supply for parties. Almost every park in Westchase has used their products and Joanna said the business isn’t limited to Westchase. She has been called to deliver her bounce houses to sites all over Hillsborough County.
It all started as a kind of whim. After seeing so many bounce houses and slides at so many parties, she decided to cash in and have some fun at the same time.
“We were going to kids parties all the time, and then we started to see them at adult parties,” Joanna said. “We just said, ‘Why don’t we start our own?’ ”
They did and it took off immediately, mostly by word of mouth and business cards at a local day care. The Perkins’s don’t just serve kids parties. They supply the bounce houses, but also water slides, concession stands, tables, chairs, pony rides and more, including clowns. There are princesses that look very familiar, as well as a mouse character, and the couple recently hired a barbecue caterer.
Joanna, who is preparing for her daughter’s wedding, said that while she likely will not be supplying a bounce house for the big day, she has done weddings.
“Kids get restless at the reception and they really don’t want to see all the dances and things that happen there. They get bored easily. Even a lot of the parents do,” Joanna said. “Giving the kids a bounce house is a great idea and it keeps the kids entertained.”
The couple’s business is doing quite well and is now starting to give back to the community. They do a lot of free or cheap work for local charities and churches and Joanna said it is worth the cost.
“Westchase is the perfect community,” she said. “The people here are great and young and active and it’s great to see so many kids having so much fun.”
To contact Westchase Inflatable Fun, call (813) 842-0227 or (813) 842-7688, or visit the website, www.westchaseinflatablefun.com.