Canton Entrepreneur Goes Airborne
“Last summer I was driving a Bobcat for ten dollars an hour, so to be on stage talking to you about entrepreneurship, it’s an incredible story,” said Josh Neville, Founder of Airborne Canton, as he concluded his 1 Million Cups Cherokee (1MC CHK) presentation on Wednesday at The Oak House: Canton’s first coworking space. 1MC is a national program of the Kauffman Foundation designed to give entrepreneurs the feedback, support, and community they need to launch or grow their startups.
It was truly a Canton-centric event with the venue at The Oak House, the presenting entrepreneur based in Canton, and the coffee sponsored by East Main Cafe located in Downtown Canton.
Neville, supported by his wife Brooke, business partner Scott, and oldest daughter, presented his business plan for Airborne Canton – the first trampoline park of its kind in Cherokee and largest in Georgia, complete with a skateboard park, private event rooms, a restaurant, and a parent lounge. The name, Airborne Canton, was inspired by his military experience as an Army Infantry Officer and Airborne Ranger.
Airborne Canton will also be partnering with Cherokee Impact Soccer to provide a training area for Cherokee Soccer Association teams to practice indoors during inclement weather.
“At forty years old, I had a bunch of different careers. I have been in the waste business with my great friend and business partner Scott. I have been a financial advisor. I worked in the energy efficiency consulting business, and I simply felt unfulfilled and knew I needed to do something different and build something that is amazing and different than anything you have ever seen before.”
Neville got into the trampoline business after seeing how much his kids loved the setup of the parks. After meeting with several companies and completing research on his own, Neville saw a lucrative business opportunity to build an extremely profitable business in a fun market. “Once I began investigating, I saw that it was worth pursuing, and I kept meeting people at their parks and some of them were kind and allowed me to look through their financial statements. We felt like with the absolute growth of the county, there is a perfect market for this type of business.”
During the Q&A portion, an audience member raised the question of Neville’s plan for long term profits, “I’ve been to other trampoline parks and I’ve noticed the kids would be excited to go. They would go three or four times but then the novelty wears off and they no longer go other than attending someone’s birthday.”
“There always has to be something new. If we do a new feature every six months, such as a ninja course or a salmon ladder, that will keep the interest alive. We will also focus on marketing and hope to reach a large radius of customers, even up to the Blue Ridge. There is also more to the park than trampolines; there is a broader customer base and a longer customer life with the inclusion of the skatepark and other spaces,” said Neville’s business partner Scott.
“What we really want to do is give back to the community. Trampoline parks in general make a lot of money and we could buy fast cars with it, but we would rather partner with organizations like Must Ministries and Goshen Valley to help buy lunches and meet other needs for the community.”
Neville asked the audience to provide feedback about their marketing efforts especially when it comes to social media, not surprisingly Facebook and Snapchat were the most popular answers.
Still in pre-launch stage and a grand opening planned for Labor Day 2018, Neville ended with some of the big lessons he’s learned along the way: “You may have to hear a thousand ‘Nos’ to hear a ‘Yes’ and “You may only get one chance so make it amazing.”
Free, bi-weekly program developed by the Kauffman Foundation
helps build startup communities nationwide.
To learn more about 1MC or if you are interested in being a presenter, please visit the website to be directed to the application.
If you missed the event this morning, you can still access all the fun! All of the 1MC Cherokee events will be live streamed and recorded. So, pour yourself a cup of coffee and check out the presentation here: https://www.1millioncups.com/cherokee
1MC Cherokee will meet at The Circuit – Woodstock on August 1st from 9-10 am featuring Adam Baker of Rounding Third.