Beloved local business unable to bounce back after pandemic
KNOWN for offering children hours of entertainment, the doors of a local business have sadly closed for the last time and here's why.
Maurice Salib and Majdi Slaibi first brought the concept to Bundaberg in February 2016 and after receiving an overwhelmingly positive response, the recreation and fitness centre has called Bundaberg home ever since.
But now, just four years later, Bundaberg's Flip Out is shutting permanently.
Working for the local business as store manager for just shy of two years, Dee McLaren saw the potential of the entertainment precinct and decided to purchase the franchise.
"It was only last year in September that I decided to buy the business," Ms McLaren said.
"I really loved being manager and I thought if I owned it I could put more of my ideas into it, but some things I didn't get around to."
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted workplaces in many ways, with the challenging and unpredictable circumstances forcing some small businesses to close, including Bundaberg's own Flip Out.
"We have decided to close due to COVID-19 and how it has affected our business," Ms McLaren said.
"It was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make (because) Flip Out is such a good place for the community."
Ms McLaren said she was grateful for all the customers who had shown their support over the years and was saddened by the idea of saying goodbye.
"We had so many loyal customers and so many kids that came in weekly for our ninja classes and people who had birthday parties there every year," she said.
"It's also such a shame for Bundaberg because Bundaberg doesn't have much for the kids to do.
"We are selling the trampoline arena and though it will not be staying in the same shed, we have had a little bit of interest so hopefully someone local buys it and starts something similar up."
News of the closure was first announced on the Facebook page of the local franchise.
"It's with an extremely heavy heart and it's a decision that hasn't came easy but the team here at Flipout Bundaberg would like to announce that due to the COVID-19 we will not be reopening, with all reasons being out of our control as new business owners," the post said.
"For those that have supported us in every way we cannot thank you enough.
"To our super loyal customers, we will miss you … please don't be shy if you see us around to say hello."
Close to 200 comments were made by customers voicing their sadness over the news, sharing special memories at the venue and passing on their appreciation and support.
Mr Salib who is from Sydney originally, previously told the NewsMail he got involved with Flip Out when he was just 16-years-old, after his mum asked him to get a job.
He said while fitness was three times more likely to be achieved through trampoline-based movement than cardio exercise, he also wanted the business to assist children who were experiencing a challenging time.
"We have found this sort of thing helps engage with kids and can really change people," Mr Salib said.
"They may go from getting in trouble at school to having this which they can focus on and keep them out of trouble … I think this is just what Bundaberg needs."
Customers who have prepaid for ninja lessons or parties are encouraged to send proof of purchase, along with their full name, BSB and account number, via email.
For more information, please email Bundaberg@flipout.net.au.