Jumping to Heights of Success


Jumping to Heights of Success

The business plan is pretty simple. Offer modern facilities with kid-friendly fun, competitive pricing and top-notch customer service, and people will come.

Xtreme Jump Trampoline Parks began in San Benito about three years ago and last month opened its newest location in Harlingen. They also have operations in McAllen, Corpus Christi and Laredo, with more planned in the near future for the Rio Grande Valley and other towns in Texas and Oklahoma.

Xtreme Jump features a variety of trampoline configurations and other attractions for youngsters. No two locations are the same. San Benito has Laser Tag, and a go-cart track in the parking lot. Corpus Christi has four big rock-climbing walls. Harlingen features an obstacle course known as Ninja Warrior, and the largest toddler area of any location.

Other attractions at Xtreme Jump locations include a trampoline basketball court called Xtreme Slam and a team sport played on trampolines known as Xtreme Dodgeball. There are also arcades featuring the latest games.

“They all have trampolines and they all have a foam pit, but each one is a little bit different,” said Mario Martinez, who joined the Xtreme Jump management team earlier this year. “Really, it’s just a place for kids to come and have safe fun.”

The atmosphere is clean and inviting, with walls painted in bright colors and decorated with murals. The layout offers seating where parents can relax with good vantage points from which they can watch their children. A line of massage chairs also gives parents a place to unwind. Adults are also welcome to join their children on the trampolines. “Especially at birthday parties, you see the parents out there jumping with the kids,” Martinez said.

The Ninja Warrior course includes a challenging climb up a treadmill. (VBR)
The Ninja Warrior course includes a challenging climb up a treadmill. (VBR)

Xtreme Jump owners Shane and Frances Thrailkill have ambitious plans to expand the business.

“This is a growing company,” said Martinez, who left a 23-year career with H-E-B to join the company. “And I am all about customer service and I love talking to people. I know I can do a good job.”

A Harlingen native, Martinez is a familiar face in the community. As he walked through the new Xtreme Jump a few days after it opened, customers stopped him to shake hands and say hello to the cheerful manager they remember from shopping at the local H-E-B he managed.

Shane Thrailkill started out with a rental company that handled bouncers and rides for children’s parties. “It’s always been about entertaining kids for him, that’s what he does,” Martinez said about the owner. “And he has given us all the resources we need to be successful.”

A key to Xtreme Jump’s success and growth has been competitive pricing. “You don’t have to be rich to have a good time at a place like this,” Martinez said. “School groups, church groups, sports teams … we have group rates for everybody.”

Mario Martinez is a manager that oversees operations at different Xtreme Jump locations. (VBR)
Mario Martinez is a manager that oversees operations at different Xtreme Jump locations. (VBR)

An emphasis on customer service enhances the friendly atmosphere. Smiling faces greet customers. Staff members in bright blue shirts station themselves throughout the facility to monitor activities and ensure safe fun for kids and a worry-free experience for parents.

For every birthday party booked, a hostess helps with setup, serving food and cleaning up so parents can relax and party with their children, Martinez said.

Safety is a vital part of the operation. Colorful, bold signs are on display throughout the buildings with guidelines and rules for the use of attractions. The staff interacts with the youngsters while keeping an eye out for any potential problems. All customers must sign a liability waver. Patrons may do this in advance online to avoid waiting in line at Xtreme Jump to sign one on a computer.

Xtreme Jump has around 200 employees, averaging about 30 at each location, Martinez said.  

The business plan for the future includes solidifying Xtreme Jump as a familiar brand name. The McAllen location was once a trampoline park, Altitude. Thrailkill bought it, upgrading and rebranding it as Xtreme Jump. Martinez said a fuzzy green mascot named Xtremo is another asset in the company’s branding tool box.

A boy hangs above a pit filled with foam squares to soften his fall. (VBR)
A boy hangs above a pit filled with foam squares to soften his fall. (VBR)

“It’s a matter of getting the name out there,” he said. “If you want to be a name brand, you need a mascot. Xtremo has been a big hit.”

Social media is used heavily to promote Xtreme Jump with special offers and themed events like Jump Mania Teen Nights. They also host fundraisers, where organizations can invite guests with a portion of the proceeds going to the group. The entire facility is available for booking corporate events as well as large parties like family reunions and sports team celebrations.

Xtreme Jump’s growth strategy can result in additional economic benefits for the communities where it does business. Thrailkill likes to pick locations that help revitalize underused commercial areas, and have room to grow, Martinez said.

The new Harlingen location, for example, is in the old Sun Valley Mall, at one time a premier shopping center that had declined over the years. The shopping center owners recently renovated vacant spaces and dressed up the storefront facades. Xtreme Jump was the first tenant to sign up for a space in the remodeled section of the shopping center.

“More businesses are going to want to come,” Martinez said. “They will want to be a part of this.”

The San Benito Xtreme Jump opened in a long-vacant building that was once a grocery store. The company plans to open a skating rink in the building, next door to the trampoline park. “All our locations are going to get bigger,” Martinez said.

The toddler area and seating where parents can watch their children have fun. (VBR)
The toddler area and seating where parents can watch their children have fun. (VBR)

George Cox is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years experience as a newspaper writer and editor. A Corpus Christi native, he started his career as a reporter for The Brownsville Herald after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in journalism. He later worked on newspapers in Laredo and Corpus Christi as well as northern California. George returned to the Valley in 1996 as editor of The Brownsville Herald and in 2001 moved to Harlingen as editor of the Valley Morning Star. He also held the position of editor and general manager for the Coastal Current, a weekly entertainment magazine with Valleywide distribution. George retired from full-time journalism in 2015 to work as a freelance writer and legal document editor. He continues to live in Harlingen where he and his wife Katherine co-founded Rio Grande Valley Therapy Pets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the benefits of therapy pets and assisting people and their pets to become registered therapy pet teams.