Since opening in 2014, Bounce Milwaukee has been a fun and inviting place for kids, parents, gamers, and countless others to spend time on the outskirts of Bay View. Through the years, it’s also been an invaluable asset to the community, a source of support during the height of the pandemic, and an example of how to run an environmentally sustainable and socially conscious business. Sadly, roughly a decade after first opening, this Milwaukee hub will be closing its doors next month.

Wednesday night, Bounce Milwaukee announced in a press release that it will be closing this summer. August 31 will be its final day of operation. The cause? According to ownership, rising rent and other astronomical building fee increases are to blame for the business’ abrupt closure.

“We invite our guests to come play and create more memories with us before we say goodbye, and encourage them to show our brilliant employees appreciation for their hospitality and spirit,” the press release says.

Thanks to Bounce for all the good memories they’ve provided and for all the amazing things they’ve done for Milwaukee over the past 10 years. Places like this don’t come around very often and it will be sorely missed.

You can read the full press release below.

For the last nine years, we’ve tried to make Bounce Milwaukee more than just a family entertainment center. Yes, we wanted to create a space for families, friends, and colleagues to bond through play. But more than that, we wanted to create a community within our community. We strived to build a business that placed our city, our workers, and our future at the forefront of our decision making; despite that being incredibly difficult, we made it a tremendous success.

We’ve hosted hundreds of fundraisers for schools, nonprofits and progressive causes and electeds. We donated to hundreds more. We’ve become a hub for social justice groups to meet, plan, and build capacity. We’ve prioritized sustainability with solar energy and electric vehicles, and won countless awards for our green business. During the Covid 19 pandemic, we donated our space to mutual aid organizations to ensure everyone in our community had access to food and hygiene products.

We’ve watched our guests grow up before our eyes, hosted thousands of birthday parties, bachelor(ette) parties, family reunions, and even weddings. Every day, our employees had a laugh or a heartwarming moment alongside our guests in laser tag or on the rockwall. We’ve developed friendships and partnerships with so many Milwaukeeans and love this city even more than when we first opened our doors.

Above all, we have tried to demonstrate that running a business honoring workers with fair pay, great benefits, and supportive management is the most powerful business model possible. We wholeheartedly encouraged our employees to unionize in 2021 and it has been an unequivocal success. Our greatest joy in owning Bounce has been watching the development of truly remarkable leaders, their individual growth, and their unwavering bonds with each other.

In recent months, it has become clear that our landlords do not wish to retain us as tenants. They have chosen not only to raise our rent by 50%, but also to increase our deposit from $2600 to nearly $200,000. Obviously this is neither reasonable nor tenable. It’s not possible to stay in those conditions; nor is it fiscally or logistically possible to move such a large and unique business at this stage.

Bounce Milwaukee’s last day of operation will be August 31st. We invite our guests to come play and create more memories with us before we say goodbye, and encourage them to show our brilliant employees appreciation for their hospitality and spirit. We have been moved and honored to be part of Milwaukee’s celebrations for almost a decade and hope to have been a part of warm memories for your families. Thank you for nine amazing years.

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About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.