Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor
For a woman who spends time bouncing on trampolines almost every day, Rhonda See can get really serious.
Especially when it comes to nutrition.
See and her husband, Dale, own Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park in Cheektowaga and another soon to set up shop in suburban Rochester.
The Cheektowaga location became the ninth franchise Sky Zone in the corporate chain in November 2011 – and the first to prohibit sales of soda.
That didn’t sit well at first at corporate headquarters, See told me earlier this week during a “What are you eating?” interview for today’s WNY Refresh.
“They told me I could not open unless I sold soda, and I told them I would not open and they could take their trampolines back to California. I did not want anything to do with it unless they were going to let me open with just my healthy options.
“If I give somebody an apple or a banana to pick from, they’re going to pick something. If I give them a chocolate bar or a banana ... I’m an educated woman, I’m probably going to pick the chocolate bar, even knowing what I know.
“So my thing was, I didn’t even want to give kids the option for soda because seeing soda so much, that’s their comfort zone and that’s what they’re going to go for.
“So I told corporate that I would not open unless I could open my way with my healthy options. And they said, ‘OK, if you think you can make it in Western New York where there are chicken wings and pizza, then go ahead.
“To this day, we’re the highest in the country for concessions.”
See says you can burn 1,000 calories an hour in her 30,000-square-foot joint, 17,000 square feet of which is covered in cushioned trampoline.
The Sees are from the Columbus, Ohio area and moved to Amherst in 2001. They own the region’s Stanley Steamer franchise, as well as the one for Sky Zone. The couple have two children, Faith, 6 and Dylan, 4.
“We’ve always had a huge passion for fitness,” See says.
Sky Zone is tucked into the back of an office complex at 425 Cayuga St., at Cleveland Drive, and sits along one of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport runways on the northeast corner of the intersection.
“Western New York is a great place to raise a family, it’s a great place for school curriculums, but there’s not a whole lot of (indoor recreation) options,” See said. “This is a difficult state to do business in, so people are gun shy to create an indoor place or do activity in, in general. So I kept traveling to the indoor water park in Niagara Falls. Every time I would go, it was so expensive you could only go three or four times a year, and that was being generous. Here, I wanted to create indoor activity that was reasonable, so all families could play together.
“We took a big leap of faith.”
Trampolines line some of the walls at Sky Zone, so you literally can bounce off the walls. Others are set up for dodge ball and one is a half-basketball court, the kind that can give the shortest kid a sense that dunking is not out of the question.
“We’ve had a 1-year-old jump on trampolines here and a 92-year-old,” See says. Her staff of 65 keeps an eye out for horseplay and size differences of those using the trampolines and addresses both, she says.
Find out more about offerings – including fitness classes that play out on a 5,000-square-foot wrestling mat – by visiting skyzone.com.