Devastation was the word that came to mind when Flynn Drummond, operator of Action Indoor Sports in Richmond, recalls the fire last January that gutted his facility.
Fire crews were called out on Sunday, 27 January at 3:30 pm to battle a blaze that started in Inflatable World, due a fault with one of the electrical blowers that inflate the attractions.
For Flynn, whose family took over the business only months before the blaze, it was a lot to get his head around.
“You go through the whole range of emotions. Obviously, it was devastating at first.”
But what began as disappointment quickly turned into an opportunity.
While the clean-up and the insurance process took time, Flynn says that ideas started to form.
“Suddenly it was an opportunity. It gave us time to think about the layout and function of the business, and how we could use the time to reconfigure things.”
Flynn spent time travelling around the country to do research at similar operations.
“We started looking at aspects of other centres that worked well and thought about how we could improve.”
After a long, detailed project, the new facility is ready to go, almost exactly a year after the blaze gutted the centre.
However, the centre, officially reopened this week, will look quite different to how patrons may remember.
An improved bowling alley, a brand-new American-themed diner, and virtual golf are just a few of the new additions to the improved facility.
Flynn says the fire ended up being a good way to improve and redesign the facility.
“We had some time to play with the layout, and make things a bit more functional.”