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What’s replacing traditional malls, stores? Trampoline parks, apparently

With retailers like Toys “R” Us and Elder-Beerman disappearing from the region, some unorthodox entertainment concepts could be bouncing on in.

Trampoline parks and other entertainment concepts are filling vacant tenant spaces as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to find a way to fight online shopping trends.

More indoor trampoline parks are opening worldwide and existing entertainment facilities add entertainment facilities add trampoline courts into their mix of attractions, according to the International Association of Trampoline Parks. Trampoline Parks have increased from 40 facilities seven years ago to 800 parks domestically and 1,200 total worldwide, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

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Get Air Trampoline Park opened its first Dayton area location in 2017 in a space formally occupied by a Kroger store in Huber Heights. The chain of trampoline parks has locations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Japan. The indoor parks are also located in Akron, Hilliard, Middleburg Heights, Toledo and Liberty Twp., according to the company website.

Get Air is also opening another location in the Southland 75 Center on Ohio 741 in Miami Twp. The location will replace Office Max, which occupied about 29,600 square feet of space in the center that also includes Hobby Lobby and Furniture Fair, township records show.

Entertainment businesses like trampoline parks are thriving in the region.

Scene75 founder Jonah Sandler and his team are slowly setting the stage for an expansion of their local Scene75 entertainment location, the company’s inaugural site. Vandalia City Council recently approved a plat expansion for Scene75’s 6196 Poe Avenue location, rezoning a remaining 40,000 square feet of the building for entertainment uses, doubling the available allowed parking and linking Scene 75 parking to the nearby former ITT Tech School building that Sandler bought last year.

Knockerball Plus has opened at the Upper Valley Mall, which allows customers to strap themselves inside large, inflatable spheres and play a variety of games including a version of soccer. And, escape rooms like Breakout Dayton are opening across the region.

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These types of entertainment businesses are popping up as malls and shopping centers fight to stay relevant. Why? Consumers want an active experience when they go to retail mixed-use concepts now. Malls will have to get creative and many may not have much time, retail experts say.

Andrew Feinblatt of Cincinnati-based OnSite Retail Group, said in a previous interview that replacing an anchor tenant like Elder-Beerman is difficult. Square footage alone is an issue — as most retailers aren’t looking for massive boxes to lease out right now. Even Target is shifting to more small-format stores.

Feinblatt said he doesn’t think it’s a hopeless situation for local shopping centers. Retailers, especially discount ones like At Home and T.J.Maxx, are still expanding in large spaces. Malls are “being proactive,” trying to bring in more food, drink and entertainment options at their centers, he said.

“It’s about evolution, creativity, it’s an opportunity to get creative to find a solution that appeals to today’s consumer,” he said.

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