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Thursday, Feb 02, 2017

Business has local man walking on air

Please click here for more information on Space Walk Bounce Houses

COLUMBUS — Kenneth Hash often has a bounce in his step as he walks away after setting up one of his inflatables for birthday and graduation parties or other family gatherings.

The Columbus man will likely feel the sensation again in the weekends ahead — he had already booked four customers in four communities for this Saturday and Sunday — as young children, teens and even adults eagerly await his arrival.

On almost every delivery, the owner of Space Walk of Columbus said, kids and adults gather behind him during set-up of an All-Star Sports Combo, Pink Castle Combo, wet/dry slide or Challenge Court inflatable to watch the process.

There’s a buzz of anticipation. Their special day or event awaits.

“The look on the kids’ faces, even the adults, get excited because I’m bringing entertainment to a party,” said Hash, who started his new business in the fall of 2015. His mother, Kathy Hash, often jumps in the pickup if she has time to lend a hand during set-up.

“The kids’ faces light up as everybody stands around and watches the castle, sports combo or slide inflate. It’s fun to be a part of that,” said Hash, whose full-time day job is maintenance director at Scotus Central Catholic.

The Columbus business, one of about 200 Space Walk branches nationwide, offers bounce houses, combos, large slides and obstacle courses. The only other Space Walk branch in Nebraska is located in Grand Island.

“I have five different inflatable units and will be getting two more in a couple of weeks,” said Hash, who is gearing up for end-of-the-year school events, including graduation parties and school fairs.

The bouncers will really keep the “little cousins” busy at graduation parties, he joked.

The business recently set up a couple of inflatables for the indoor Twin River PTO Carnival. Space Walk is also booked to participate at Columbus Days, Humphrey Days, Pawnee Days in Tilden and Silver Creek Valley Days in Newman Grove this summer.

The business was a little slow in gaining momentum last fall as Hash worked to build word-of-mouth goodwill among potential customers.

This spring has been a different story despite some cool temperatures and soggy skies.

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    “Spring and summer (bookings) have really picked up,” said Hash, who had to cancel seven or eight events this spring because of strong winds or thunderstorms.

    The bouncers, which are tethered to the ground by 18-inch stakes, operate best at winds 20 mph and below.

    Winds above 25 mph are considered a no-no in terms of safety.

    “I’ve never had a problem,” Hash said. “Safety of the customer is No. 1.”