Flip Out is opening a new adventure play park ‘super-centre’ in a former BHS store in Aylesbury. The Aylesbury centre is the latest site for the rapidly expanding brand, best-known for its trampoline parks. It hints at how the high street may shift from retail to entertainment.
The Flip Out super centre is opening in the former BHS department store in Friars Square Shopping Centre in Aylesbury. Stretching over 45,000 square feet, the building has cost over £1 million to refit and is likely to generate 75 new jobs.
Flip Out is the UK’s largest adventure park franchise, majoring in trampoline parks. However its latest venture doesn’t include its trademark trampolines and inflatables. Instead it promises an ice rink, a bumper car track, interactive mini golf and football, ninja tag, and a 10,000 square foot interactive assault course.
“This is a revolutionary new concept adventure park,” said Richard Beese, co-founder of Flip Out, talking to MKFM News. “This park, with no trampolines or inflatables, is the first of its kind, and is absolutely jam-packed with a multitude of fantastic activities and we can’t wait for the people of Aylesbury to enjoy what’s on offer!”
The centre covers two floors of the former store. While trampolines aren’t part of the new offering, many classic Flip Out sessions will be on offer. These include fully hosted birthday parties, toddler soft play activities, group sleepovers and ‘after dark’ discos.
Flip Out originated in Australia in 2012 and is now a worldwide family-focused leisure entertainment brand. It’s the fastest growing trampoline park franchise in the world and the UK’s leading trampoline park operator with 25 locations in the UK, and a further 20 more planned for the coming years.
“Our first international site was Taiwan, then we hit the UK, Saudi, Egypt, Dubai, Kuwait, all through Asia, Malaysia, China, Thailand, South Africa, New Zealand and Europe like Poland and Germany,” said Flip Out founder Brent Grundy, talking to Western Weekender.
“A lot of them are now franchises but it has been a cool journey to see an idea spread to over 15 countries.”
Flip Out has it’s own manufacturing facilities, through which it supplies its franchisees globally.
Adventure play is not just for children
Flip Out is gaining a growing reputation as an adult-friendly indoor adventure park, attracting groups of friends and couples. “The same old date routine can become boring and repetitive, so it helps to mix things up at a more unconventional and exciting date venue,” says DatingAdvice.com.
She suggests that getting the adrenalin flowing with fun activities is the best way to make a date successful. “Flip Out is the perfect date spot for parkour enthusiasts, rock climbers, athletes, and other fit individuals who want to test their limits,” she says. “You don’t need any experience to play around on the trampolines, inflatables, foam pits, and balance beams.”
While the majority of Flip Out visitors range from five -15 years, many Flip Out locations offer special adult-only hours or days, specifically aimed at 20 and 30-somethings.
Flip Out going back to its roots with adult new venture
The first Flip Out centre was opened in Penrith, outside Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. It moved from its original site on Mulgoa Road to its current location on Batt Street. Founder Grundy now plans to buy back the Penrith Flip Out and refurbish it. In addition, he hopes to open something new next door.
“If approved, it will be a sister brand called Yo Loco. A Mexican themed play centre that will have great quality food and drinks where kids and their parents can spend hours. People will see some cool Mexican masks and wrestling, piñatas, Day of the Dead decorations, delicious food and great equipment.”
Re-imagining the High Street
BHS in Aylesbury closed its doors in 2016. The site was then used by other operators, including a stint as a charity shop. It’s a microcosm of the situation across the UK. 82 percent of us now shop online, up from just 53 percent ten years ago. The UK, in particular, has shifted to ecommerce for its shopping, according to the Office of National Statistics. Large high street retailers, in particular, have been hardest hit, according to Retail Gazette which warns that 18,000 high street stores could be left vacant this year.
Closures across the UK include Debenhams, Homebase, House of Fraser, Mothercare, and Toys R Us while many stores have closed branches. “The high street is under siege like never before,” says James Child, retail analyst at Estate Gazette, in a report for Key Loans and Mortgages Limited. “However the high street isn’t dying – it is in a state of transition. Locals still need service-led offers. ”
Over 18 million square feet of retail space has become vacant over the last year in the UK. While some will be taken up by creating residential units and offices, it’s also an opportunity for entertainment to move from out of town sites to city centres.