By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 07, 2012
Stories about businesses closing are becoming an old song in this town. It’s time again for the depressing deja vu, all over again.
Unable to sustain the business in this tough economy, the indoor playground Tumblewoods will be closing down by the end of July.
Considering the basic economic principles of supply and demand, an indoor seemed like an idea whose time had come.
April Rommel saw a town brimming with kids. And she saw there was no indoor playground for the tiny tots.
After planning it for almost five years, she finally mustered enough money and courage to start Tumblewoods, an indoor playground on Government Road in the business park. Barely an year later, she is ready to close it down.
Rommel said she didn’t get as much support as she expected.
Rommel said she didn’t start her business on a whim. An informal survey in Squamish suggested people would use an indoor playground.
The $5 charge for an all-day-entry to the playground seemed reasonable too.
As is clear now, she seemed to have misread the spending power of Squamish residents.
Self-flagellation is common among business owners when business doesn’t do as well as expected. As she spoke to vent her anger, her ire had another target: herself.
“Why did I spend so much time and effort on small details,” she said.
“Look at this,” she said, pointing to the light-blue colour of tiles in her kitchen.
“I spent so much time choosing these. Why did I do this?” she cried out.
It was one of clock, the sun shone brightly outside, and her indoor playground wore a deserted look.
The business didn’t find the expected audience from the start, and in the last few months, the losses multiplied.
In the beginning, she had priced the entry at $7, but slashed the price by $2 in the hopes that it would bring more people.
It didn’t have the desired effect.
With rent and overhead cost, it would take at least $500 of business every day for Tumblewood to survive.
That rarely happened.
Still, she says she doesn’t feel like she has failed.
“I tried the best I could, and gave the community what they had asked for.”
“I started as an optimist, but I’m just jaded now.”