Teen, family launch bounce house business


When teen entrepreneur Rogan Drainer was considering what type of business he would like to start, he remembered seeing all the bounce houses at the park across the street in Nocatee as he was growing up. To a child, these big, colorful, inflatable playgrounds mean one thing: fun. But to a young man with entrepreneurial aspirations, they represent opportunity.

“It just kind of clicked,” Rogan said.

Rogan, currently a rising senior at Nease High School, and his family began looking into the business, what would be involved. Rogan started by talking the idea over with friends, looking for valuable feedback. Then, he and his parents — Samantha and Adam White — did a lot of research. His mom, having owned a business, was familiar with the process of creating a limited liability company and handled that aspect.

Getting insurance proved to be a challenge at first. Even companies willing to insure such an enterprise wanted very specific details about the actual bounce houses the family would be using — in some cases even before the units in question had arrived.

The inflatables themselves were purchased from two manufacturers: Magic Jump Inflatables and Big Top Inflatables of San Antonio, Texas. High quality products were, in Rogan’s words, “super-important.”

Also important was pricing.

“We want to make sure that we have the best prices available,” Rogan said.

Eventually he and his family navigated the process of setting up this business and on April 7, Stars N Stripes Inflatables LLC was born, with operations really getting under way by the end of that month.

The service rents out some of the most creative inflatables around. There are water slides and bounce houses combined with water slides. There are two different obstacle courses — including a very popular 50-foot “Star Wars” version. There’s also a large balloon dome — basically a giant bubble with special air vents that blow balloons around inside it. They can be rented for a little as four hours or for multiple days.

And safety is always a top priority.

“If there are severe storms, we won’t be able to set up that day,” Rogan said. “We would offer a refund and a chance to reschedule.”

Stakes are clearly visible, and an alarm system alerts everyone should there be an unscheduled deflation.

Important to note is that there’s more to Stars N Stripes Inflatables than profits.

“A big thing that this business allows us to do is be a bigger part of the community, especially the veteran community,” said Rogan. “That’s important to us. My dad, he’s in the military, active-duty Navy. So, we love to be involved with veteran charities.”

Every quarter, the company donates a portion of the rental money it earns to local charities, both military and nonmilitary. Recently, the family made a donation to K9s For Warriors.

Adam White, who helps his 17-year-old son with the physical part of the operation — dropping off and picking up — said he was inspired by Rogan’s strong work ethic.

“It’s a lot of labor-intensive work,” White said. “It’s hot, and it’s exhausting. But he doesn’t complain about it. He’s like, ‘All right. Let’s go!’”

He said the goal was to hand the business over to Rogan when he is of age to let him own and operate it.

“It’s fun to see him grow in this business,” White said.

To learn more about Stars N Stripes Inflatables, go to www.starsnstripes904.com. Rentals can be arranged there and by text or phone call to 904-572-8836. The company can also be found on Instagram and Facebook.