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Sarasota entrepreneur jumps at new franchise opportunity

From rock star drummer to cancer survivor, Michael Tucci has seen (almost) it all. His latest challenge: finding the just-right space to open an indoor trampoline park in Sarasota.

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A busy entrepreneur, with a hand in everything from coaching tennis to pharmaceutical sales, is mixing things up with his most recent venture — an indoor adventure park. 

Michael Tucci, 42, wanted to open his first Urban Air Adventure Park location in Sarasota. But finding the right location for the trampoline-based facility has proved difficult. So when a spot in New Tampa opened, he lurched at that opportunity. 

“I always wanted to get into some kind of franchise,” he says. When his sister-in-law discovered the Texas-based franchise company for Urban Air, Tucci contacted the company. Not long after that, in 2018, he signed on to build three franchises. 

The New Tampa location was the first, which opened in January 2020, with a second one, in Brandon not far behind. Tucci recently received a permit for the Brandon location, and while grappling with supply chain delays, he expects it to take around seven months for construction to be complete and says the location will be open shortly after. 

The Brandon location was a $5 million investment; Tucci took out SBA and conventional loans from Gulfside Bank in Sarasota to build the park. The Tampa location was a little more than $3 million investment, but the big investment will be in Sarasota. Tucci expects to invest anywhere between $5-7 million just for the business, not including if he has to purchase land. 

According to Urban Air Adventure Park website, the investment in building includes an initial franchise fee of $75,000, any real estate and construction costs and cost of attractions. The company estimates it will take a franchise owner about 600 days, or 18-24 months, to open a park from the initial conversation.

The Sarasota location is still in the works because Tucci hasn’t found the right site yet. He says he hasn't been able to find enough space for a fair rent in Sarasota. So he’s instead turned his sights to land development opportunities where the adventure park would be built from the ground up — a more expensive option. While the location hasn’t been selected yet, Tucci believes he’ll have it open by fall 2023. He's looking for a 60,000-square-foot space anywhere between Lakewood Ranch and Palmer Ranch. 

Since opening the Tampa location, Tucci says the growth has been "tremendous." He declined to give specific revenue figures due to franchise corporate rules. The company’s website states the average park volume brings in $2.3 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization annually. 

Tucci was attracted to Adventure Park's strategic business plan and its multiple revenue streams, which include walk-in guests; special events and occasions; a new membership model built for guests who visit often; and each park’s café. 

“They have a successful formula that works,” he says. “I loved the outlook and future growth.” 

Also part of the formula? The company invests more than $1 million annually into research on new attractions while also providing attractions for a cheaper price due to its national buying power and industry relationships. Additionally, each park owner is equipped with branding and marketing support. 

The parks, Tucci says, are more than just a trampoline park. The Tampa Palms Urban Air Adventure Park features a timed warrior course, bumper cars, dodgeball courts and rock walls. 

The 28,000-square-foot building at 6250 Commerce Palms Drive, which employs 110 workers, was the former location for an HHGregg appliance store, which closed in 2017. 

The Urban Air Brandon at 121 E. Bloomingdale Ave., meanwhile, features 47,195 square feet of space. Once open, the company is expecting to employ 60 people there. “We’re hoping to provide a family fun adventure park,” he says. “Every time you come, it’s a memory.” 


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