Billings — The Billings Sportsplex was purchased by a local Billings couple and transformed into a family fun center.
Lava Island is a Colorado-based franchise that offers family fun through its business model of indoor trampoline parks, playgrounds and restaurants.
James Duncan and Miranda Duncan moved to Billings from Colorado with their two children five and a half years ago.
“What we love about Billings is summer. But what we struggle with is winter, especially when we have kids,” explains Miranda Duncan. I think by March or so everyone will be ready to climb the wall and get out.”
In October 2021, the Duncans’ 9-year-old son Nathan was diagnosed with AML leukemia. While Nathan was undergoing chemotherapy at a children’s hospital, his family spent a lot of time in Denver, Colorado.
“We have a daughter, Joslyn, but of course it’s still COVID-19 top priority so we can’t go to the hospital, so something had to be done,” said James Duncan. I will explain. island), and it progressed very rapidly. ”
Nathan is now fully recovered after a bone marrow transplant from his sister Jocelyn and extensive chemotherapy.
But the Duncans fell in love with Lava Island, saw the Billings Sportsplex for sale at 5000 Southgate Drive, and decided to bring it to Billings.
“It is wonderful to know that there are blessings in trials and tragedies, and we definitely consider this one of them. I’m thrilled to be able to express myself in the future,” explains Miranda.
Duncans plans to open Lava Island in spring 2023. He plans to employ about 20 to 30 people and says those interested can sign up for progress updates on his website.
The center’s main focus is to provide a fun indoor environment for all ages to spend time together.
The Duncans say they are working to make Lava Island Billings a go-to place for any occasion.
And for out-of-town visitors, the Duncans hope to be seen as a stopover in Billings.
“Our goal is to keep our prices very reasonable so that the whole family can come. You don’t have to go to Billings. That’s one of the things we do.” We want to be part of Billings’ destination for those who live outside.”
Lava Island also offers party packages. James says this is a major highlight of his model of doing business.
“This is a private party room that we don’t have here (Billings) right now. These are themed party rooms and they’re pretty impressive,” says James. The room is designed like a princess’s castle, and as a private space, you can invite your friend and he can use it as a room for an hour. This is a special place. A place where you can entertain your children and friends. Something they’ve never seen, especially here. ”
Miranda adds that party packages make planning much easier and effective.
“Kids feel like a million bucks. When a kid feels like a million bucks, you see it in your parents’ eyes,” Miranda says. knows that, and parents are like I did it, right? And while we want to offer that to parents, we also want to be a part of it. I love it. ”
Duncans sent out a press release announcing the purchase and plans on Tuesday. Miranda says she has received several responses expressing grief over the loss of Sportsplex.
However, Miranda realizes where they came from and says that Billings is losing the facility, but anyone can come and burn the energy at the new center.
“I feel like this is somewhere in between. We don’t want to eliminate sports, we just want to be able to play active,” explains Miranda.
While the Duncans manage the center, all operations will be overseen by a Colorado company owned by Celeste Henderson and her family.
Henderson is the owner and founder of Lava Island and her daughter Whitney Barrow is the event manager.
Bullough explains that he is overjoyed to have a family like the Duncans running the place.
“They leave a little bit of magic behind. When I’m done talking to them, I feel so happy,” Bullough explains. “They are really nice people.”
“Lava Island targets a slightly younger demographic than many other trampoline parks. We have toddlers up to 12, but it’s also a place where parents take their shoes off to play,” explains Henderson. . “The family time factor drives us because we know how important it is for families to have a place to spend time together.”
The Henderson, Burrow and Duncan families would like to emphasize that this is a family run business.
“This place is perfect for everyone, no matter how big your family is, and that’s what we really like to do,” says James. “We are excited about what this will bring to Billings and the surrounding communities.”
Click here for more information on Billings Lava Island.