Laurens, South Carolina – With the planned opening this winter of a Big Air USA Trampoline Park venue, Laurens County will have new options for family fun without having to leave the county.
Jake Cooper, owner of Riverside Garages on West Main and North Harper streets in Laurens, has just signed off on a Big Air USA franchise and rental agreement and soon hopes to begin preparing the former BI-LO store into a combo trampoline park, bowling alley and indoor walking trail.
“I’m expecting to see the plans this week and at that point I will get them to the City of Laurens and hopefully start pulling permits to begin demo and renovations,” Cooper said, adding he’d like to be open before Christmas.
The businessman began looking into family entertainment options a couple of years ago, several years after he and his family moved to Laurens from Simpsonville.
He wanted something which would enrich the city and county he now calls “home.”
Just like other families who live along Highway 76 west of Laurens, Cooper had hoped to see a grocery store move back into the former BI-LO. When that didn’t happen after almost three years, Cooper asked the agents handling the store lease to reach out to Piggly Wiggly and all of the other grocery stores which had made inquiries. He didn’t want to prevent a store from coming there, and if the vacant building was considered too large, Cooper suggested sharing the space.
None planned a move, however, so after gathering more information, Cooper sought out the franchise and he’s rented the building for Big Air USA Trampoline Park.
The space is almost 40,000 square feet, so in addition to Big Air Trampoline, Cooper is planning to install a small bowling alley, a walking track inside the perimeter and a small restaurant.
“I’ve talked to church youth pastors who said they’re always taking their youth groups out of town, so they were excited to have an option here,” Cooper said.
Cooper began seeking a family-friendly entertainment business which could enhance Laurens County without competing with opportunities already here.
Big Air USA is based in California, but already has four locations in South Carolina.
“It’s a unique franchise,” Cooper said. “What drew me to them is because Big Air is family owned and it has some unique attractions. There are specifics to the park for each age group, so children six and under play in a dedicated space for the smaller kids so it’s safer.”
“We got very involved in Laurens as soon as we moved here,” Cooper said. “I live and work and worship in Laurens and this city has taken care of our family. I feel the need to give back. We looked around for a location and I liked the idea of it being close to where I work and live.”
Cooper expects the Big Air designers to have plans to him this week. He’ll be passing them on to City of Laurens Community Development Coordinator Madison Workman and City Administrator Eric Delgado.
“He’s already talked to us and the property is already zoned for general commercial so he wouldn’t have to go before the planning commission,” Workman said. “As long as everything’s done correctly, he can begin pulling permits and getting to work.”