It all started with a birthday party.
Corey and Christina Stalnaker took their 8-year-old son, Blaine, to a birthday party at Launch in Cumming last year and made a life-changing decision.
“I told my husband ‘okay you have got to see this place. This is awesome. We should see if this is its own location or this is a franchise’ and it just went from there,” Christina said.
The Stalnakers, who have wanted to establish a family business for years, decided opening a Launch trampoline park in Dawsonville was exactly what they were looking for.
“We’ve been looking all this time, trying to find somewhere to go, something to do and we looked at so many different restaurants and different things, but nothing clicked with what we wanted for our family,” Corey said.
Then they discovered Launch and saw how much both children and parents enjoyed the business’ activities.
“This is fantastic,” Corey said. “This is something we can do that the kids want to be involved in.”
It was important for the Stalnakers to find a business that would not only affect their family, but everyone in the community as well.
“We grew up here. There was nothing but you had the lake so as long as it was warm, you could go to the lake,” Christina explained. “You had the movie theater. You had the mall, which most of us worked there … really there was never anything fun to do. We had to go to Forsyth County to do fun stuff.”
“These are our people. These are our roots. This is where we’re from. We grew up here with nothing,” Corey said. “We remember having nothing here, having to go somewhere else to do anything.”
Both Corey and Christina grew up in Dawson County, but now live in Cherokee County with their three children: Blaine, 9; Skylar, 3; and Cavin, 14 months.
Still close to their roots, they wanted to bring something fun to their community, but it wasn’t easy to convince the Launch corporate team that Dawson County was the perfect place for the third Georgia location.
Dawson County was always their first choice, Christina said, but the pair looked at properties in Gainesville, Sandy Springs, Kennessaw, Snellville, Buford, Lawrenceville and Marietta before securing space in the old Kroger shopping center became a done deal.
“We just never had a peace with (the other locations) though,” Christina said. “When we prayed it was like ‘why can’t we do this in our hometown?’ We know the community. We know what they need.”
Corey explained that communities north of Dawson County also don’t have many family-friendly activities and that their Launch location could provide a much closer option for fun.
“There’s nothing north so to all those people north we are south,” Corey said. “With all that’s coming here and all the businesses that are coming to Dawson County, the expansion that’s been happening – we totally want to be a part of that and be able to say ‘we were there when there was nothing.’”
The trampoline park will occupy 30,000 square feet in the far right portion of the old Kroger and will include activities beyond trampolines. The Stalnakers plan to have two-story laser tag, ninja courses, a tag active arena, arcade, party rooms and build-your-own pizza by Krave. Approximately 50 part time jobs are expected to be generated when Launch opens.
While a date for the grand opening has not been set, the Stalnakers have their hearts set on opening Launch in the spring 2020.
Beyond launching the business venture, the couple hopes to partner with churches and the school system to help give back to the community they love so much.
“We want to be able to give back,” Christina said. “That’s the whole fun of being a business is being generous.”
Updates on the progress of Launch and its opening will be available online soon, according to the Stalnakers.
After news broke that Launch was destined for Dawsonville, the Stalnakers were overwhelmed with support from the community.
“To get on Facebook Friday afternoon and see hundreds of comments and even more hundreds of likes to the page – right away it was like ‘we’ve got to get the website up. We got to give people more to see, to see what’s coming, that we can post progress too and just to stay relevant,” Corey said. “We’re coming. It’s not a dream. It’s not an idea. It’s concrete. It’s happening.”