Ian Manheimer grew up in Florida, the epicenter of diversions, which led him on a path which he says has been formed by a lifelong love of both entertainment and service. As an only child, he spent his youth looking for new ways of entertaining himself, such as martial arts, theater or sports. Amusement is still a driver in his life; he’s always looking for something fun to do. So it’s no surprise that aforementioned path has led him — along with a lot of hard work — to owning and operating a business providing entertainment to Southwest Washington families.
Business address: 4107 Fruit Valley Road, Suite O, Vancouver. 360-571-5754
Educational/professional background: I was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but grew up in South Florida, graduating from J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs. I completed a program called the Academy of Travel and Tourism, which focused on the travel and tourism industry. My senior year, I participated and took first place in a DECA competition in the area of entrepreneurship and also was active in the International Club.
After graduation I attended Broward Community College as a theatre major with a minor in education. I held a variety of positions in many different industries throughout my life, most of which have been focused on kids — YMCA after school and summer programs, para-educator, substitute teacher, coach, special education teacher. I’ve worked at theme parks, restaurants, communications companies and was an assistant marketing manager at a mall.
I completed my bachelor’s degree in education with a special education endorsement from City University in 2005 and taught until 2015, while building my business on the side during summer.
How — and when — you got started in your business: While here visiting my cousins in 2001, we went up to Ocean Shores where there was a small family entertainment facility with go-carts, mini-golf, video games and an inflatable laser tag. I overheard the owner talking about selling the laser tag. I loved it up here and wanted to leave Florida, so I made an inquiry and negotiated a price that we both felt was fair. I purchased it and moved up here in 2002 to start this journey.
Obtaining my teaching certificate and working full time provided a steady income while I was starting to build and develop my business. In 2006, I sold the laser tag business and started Bounce-N-Battle Inflatable Party Rentals the next year. I started with one castle-style bounce house and one gladiator joust. Every time I did an event I would save the money and purchase new equipment. I have demonstrated steady growth every year.
In November 2014, I purchased a photo booth company as an extension of my party rental company.
Now VIP Photo Booth, along with Bounce-n-Battle, have developed a strong presence and positive reputation in the community. We are involved with many local nonprofit organizations and continue to give back to the community.
Personal/business philosophy: My personal/business philosophy is to treat all of our clients, customers and employees like they are family. Our mission is to provide our clients with the highest quality equipment, affordable rates, and exemplary customer service.
Most rewarding part of job: Creating positive memories for our clients, helping local nonprofit organizations, and making a positive impact in our community. Additionally, all the relationships and partnerships we have been able to foster and develop throughout the years.
Most challenging part of job: There are a few. 1) Fighting the weather. Due to our safety standards we can not and will not set up in the rain or inappropriate weather conditions. 2) Retaining quality employees. Being that most of our work is seasonal due to weather, many of our employees are forced to seek other employment during our slow months. 3) Competing with businesses which, although they may be less expensive, may not be legal or work at the same standards we do. Trying to support industry standards and manufacturing requirements is a big thing. We go above and beyond to make sure equipment is safe and clean.
Something surprising about your work: In order to operate legally in Washington you must go through an annual safety inspection through the Department of Labor and Industries. There’s more to it than just setting up a bounce house and charging people.
Best feature of my Clark County community: The support of this community is amazing.
There is a huge push to support and promote local business.
What would make your community a better place: More free or low-cost activities for middle-schoolers, teens and young adults. There are not a lot of things kids can just go do.
We need parks, teen centers, entertainment centers.
Your favorite travel destination and type: I have not done much traveling. Locally, I’d say one of my favorite places is going to Mount Rainier. It is so majestic and beautiful. I’d love to just get lost there! I also enjoy going to Disneyland, “the happiest place on earth.”
Favorite food: Sushi.
Hobbies: Anything involving my kids! Watching my boys play baseball, riding my Harley, taking road trips, exploring nature, visiting with friends and family, live music, working out, martial arts and reading.
Most enjoyable book/play/movie/arts event in past 12 months: Books I really enjoyed: “The Go Giver” by Bob Burg, and “The Compassionate Samurai” by Brian Klemmer. I also went to see Cirque du Soleil –that was amazing!
Something you’d like to do this year/within five years: A long-term goal is to create a facility to target middle school through college age featuring age-appropriate activities.
Also I’d like to take more personal vacations. I’d like to summit a mountain.
Words to describe yourself: Positive, determined, charismatic, caring and giving.
Person you’d most like to meet: Leonard Peltier.