The decision to invest in a family-fun center was “a leap of faith,” according to owners Paul and Bobbi Sloas.
The couple opened Inflation Station Family Fun Center And Rentals in downtown Grayson as part of a “turn key” purchase from original owners, David and Beth Marsh, last fall.
“The place was never closed. We opened the next day,” he said, just before each praised the assistance provided by the sellers. “They were excellent to work with and they’re still helping along the way. Any questions – they are there to help for sure.”
They explain their venture into family-focused business began when they bought the “Snowie of Grayson” vendor operation from the late Phillip Rice.
“Bobbi always wanted a party center,” Paul said, explaining his wife has worked as a hair dresser for 20 years and is a co-owner of “A New U” salon, also in Grayson, and he worked as a boilermaker and worked 13 years as a site safety inspection supervisor.
The indoor center at 127 East Main Street has been open six days a week (closed on Wednesday) since Paul and Bobbi took the reins, and they celebrated their 100th party booking in early February.
They also stay busy hauling, setting up and operating outdoor units including a rock-climbing wall, bungee trampoline and a “Big Baller,” at different places.
“We’ll go about anywhere in eastern Kentucky,” he said, listing Pikeville and Inez among recent destinations.
In addition to being the go-to place for parents with kids who need to burn off a little energy, it has also earned a reputation as a great place to get lunch.
“Yes, we do serve lunch! We do soup, hot dogs, barbecue and other specials,” she said.
Both are also quick to credit the efforts of the people they rely upon to keep everything up and running.
“Tracy Felty-Layne … She is our manager. She’s our right arm. She does everything. We need to clone her. We need about 10 of her.”
“And Damon Robinson. He’s our delivery on-site supervisor. He has helped us with Snowie of Grayson from the get go.”
Both born and raised in Carter County and graduates of East Carter High School(Class of 1991 and 1994), Paul and Bobbi Sloas have four kids, a dog and a ball python named “Boots.”
When they aren’t working, he enjoys time on two wheels riding his 2004 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic, “every chance I get.” Bobbi said she prefers time at home.
“I’m a homebody. I like being out in the sun. I like to sit on the porch. I like to clean – that’s my therapy.”
As business owners, they also agree their own faith is a crucial element of their operations.
“We are a Christian family and are faith based in our business. We are open six days a week, but we still take time for God.”
With a big grin, both confess they still get a kick from doing their own research and testing of the equipment.
“I’ll take my shoes off and say, ‘Come on, buddy!’ That’s the fun part of the job.”
For more information about Inflation Station Family Fun Center And Rentals, visit their Facebook page or call, 606-898-5739.
Story and Photos by TIM PRESTON