When Caitlyn Collins graduated from Hammonton High School in 2006, she could not have known the direction that life would take her.
Collins, now the owner of The Bounce House, first attended LaSalle University then Rowan University, studying early childhood education, then worked with her husband, CJ, at East Coast Epoxy, where Collins said she was “doing all of the books for the company, which was 100 percent construction industry-based.”
“It’s a complete 180 from the direction I ended up in,” Collins said.
Collins said that the idea for The Bounce House was born out of a desire to have things to do with her eldest son, who was born in 2016.
“Everything was always so far. It was always, ‘I can go here, but I’m going to travel a half-hour to get there, I’m going to stay there for two hours, and then I’m going to come back. He’s going to fall asleep on the car ride home, so there goes his nap for the day.’ It was always this huge anxiety-ridden thing of wanting to go out and be able to do these things—these crafts, these activities—and not having them available,” Collins said.
Collins said that the idea for such a facility in Hammonton was a natural one.
“I said, ‘I’m tired of driving far—Mt. Laurel, Cherry Hill, Philadelphia—and we’re going to do this. I know I can do this right.’ It seemed like such a fun thing to do. It didn’t even feel like starting a business. I have a 5-year-old and a 6-month-old; this is prime time to have this. My 5-year-old thinks I’m a pretty cool mom over here,” Collins said.
Thus was born The Bounce House, which officially opened its doors on March 3.
Collins said that, besides bouncy castles and other inflatable structures, there are lots of things for kids to enjoy, especially little ones.
“We have a toddler area in the back, which has all sorts of soft-play blocks where you can build a giant castle and you don’t have to worry that they’re going to come tumbling down and hurt someone. We have a mini bounce house back there for the kids who are just too small for the big ones, who aren’t quite at that level yet. We have little rollercoasters and a million bouncy balls. We have a bunch of sensory tiles that they can step on that feel squishy and are cool to look at. We have a lot of stuff back there,” Collins said.
The Bounce House also has a back room, which Collins said has “tables and flat-screen TVs and stuff like that.”
“I always tell people, feel free to bring your own snacks. If you want to do lunch, go get a pizza and bring it into the back. You can bounce and go eat pizza. You don’t have to stay in one space here. You can utilize the whole thing. We’re here for whatever you want to do,” Collins said.
Collins said that The Bounce House is also available for birthday parties and other special occasions.
“We provide all the paper plates, the tablecloths, napkins, cups, balloons, you name it. I have a stock of happy birthday banners and other nichey decorations. You can rent out the space for a birthday party and have the whole place to yourself and your guests, which I think is cool and separates us from a lot of other places,” Collins said.
Collins said that her background in early childhood education also sets The Bounce House apart from other facilities.
“I give my employees different ways to react to different problems that might arise, ways to interact with a child to be able to help them make right decisions, even when they’re there. If you see a kid who’s acting out, who might be starting little problems, it’s all about deflection—let’s have a race; let’s see who can bounce the highest—little tips that I’ve learned along the way that I’ve been able to tie into this,” Collins said.
Collins credits her employees with much of The Bounce House’s success.
“They’re all amazing. They’re great at what they do. They really do care. They’re with the kids. They’re entertaining the kids when they come bounce. They’re interacting. They’re helping them. It’s great to see them care so much. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the backbone of all of them,” Collins said.
Admission for The Bounce House is regularly $20 for a two-hour bounce session, though bundle packages are available. Access to the toddler area is $5 per child. Admission also includes free access to whatever events are planned for the day; a calendar of events is available on The Bounce House’s Facebook page.
The Bounce House is located in the Blueberry Crossing shopping plaza at 234 S. White Horse Pike. For more information, call (609) 481-2970 or visit their website thebouncehousenj.com.