MARSHALL - Wanting to provide some fun for kids' birthday parties and other celebrations, Shawn Peters of Marshall decided to delve into a side business.
Earlier this month, Peters and his wife, Maria, started Kids Have Fun!, an inflatable games rental business.
The two provide moonwalk rentals for birthday parties, school parties, church events, family reunions, festivals and other events.
The couple had moved to Marshall from Nebraska a couple of years ago to work in Research and Development at the Schwan Food Co. Peters said that last summer is when he started thinking about something to have at kids' birthday parties, as there weren't too many opportunities around the Marshall area.
Through a couple of Maria's nieces, the Peterses learned about a big warehouse store in North Carolina that rented out different inflatable games and bounce houses.
"Maria was really interested in something like that," Peters said. "That's what got our mind going."
So the couple did a lot of online research, looking at different companies. They learned how some companies offer different packages, such as inflatable obstacle courses. They also took a couple of safety classes before acquiring a few inflatables.
Two of their inflatables are 15-by-15 feet - one being a red-colored adventure bounce house and the other with a birthday theme that includes birthday candles on the four corners. The third inflatable is a combination 13-by-13 foot bounce house that has a small slide coming out of one of the sides.
There are many different ways to do rentals, Peters said, and he and his wife are currently doing full-day rentals. When they get a call from a potential customer, he said they'll discuss options and make sure there's no scheduling conflicts.
When he and his wife arrive at an event, Peters said they go over safety information and leave a sheet of instructions and tell their customers to call with any problems.
At the end of the event, the Peterses come back and take down the inflatables.
"We take them down, roll them up and we're out of there," Peters said. He said it takes just about 20 minutes to take down an inflatable bounce house. "They deflate pretty quickly."
Peters said a grassy area or dirt is best to set up an inflatable, rather than concrete.
"It's just safer for everybody and the equipment as well," Peters said.
In the last few weeks, the couple has already done a few events, including ones at Justice Park, Camden State Park and the Southwest Minnesota State University Daycare carnival. Peters said they brought the adventure and birthday bounce houses to the SMSU Daycare.
"All the kids really enjoyed them," Peters said. He said the kids were super-excited to see the bounce houses. "That's pretty rewarding."
Peters said he and Maria have other ideas they want to expand on, such as offering tables and chairs and refreshments at parties, but that's down the road.
"We want to get to that point eventually," Peters said.