Changing careers, especially successful ones, can be a daunting task for anybody.
Add to that relocating your family from the West Coast to the East Coast with small kids in tow and it can be downright scary.
But for Sudbury residents Malcolm and Mandy Sim, the change in careers and the move East have turned out to be one of the best decisions they've ever made.
Three years ago, the Sims opened Jam Time, an indoor play center for kids in Maynard.
Their business became so successful, they opted to open a second one in Natick less than a month ago and have their sites set on a handful more.
“This was our Plan B,” Malcolm Sim said at his Natick location at 251 West Central St. “Mandy was a film producer and I was a visual effects supervisor. We loved it, but once we had kids we didn’t like Los Angeles so much anymore. Our parents thought we were completely insane giving up these great careers. But we knew we wanted to move and took the plunge.”
The move to Sudbury was an easy decision as they have family nearby in Melrose and southern New Hampshire.
But figuring out how to develop their own start-up business had its challenges.
“We had a whole sheet of different (types of) businesses,” Sim said. “There was doggie day care, Dunkin’ Donuts … but it came down to this and (thought) it looks like fun. Let’s try something completely different.”
The Sims spent countless hours on developing the business before opening their Powder Mill Road doors in Maynard three years, making sure they were comfortable with the concept and what they wanted to offer customers.
“This was a big change for us,” Sim said. “In Maynard, we basically ran everything. Now we have managers in both locations. We want to make sure we spend equal time in both places so we can guarantee quality is still there. Everything we put in Maynard comes down here to Natick.”
Jam Time is basically a 4,000-square-foot indoor playground constructed specifically for kids 6 years old and younger. The playground includes slides, a bouncy house, monkey bars, a ball pit, climbing structures and countless toys.
Snacks and juice drinks are for sale, as well as gourmet coffee for adults, at the front desk and can be enjoyed in the cafe area.
Parents and caregivers can relax in the deluxe seating with free wi-fi and views of the entire facility.
The Sims offer various classes for different age groups. Most classes cost $170 for eight weeks ($180 for Jammin’ Science), but included in the cost is unlimited open play during the enrollment period.Drop-in play time is $10 for kids older than 1 year old. Adults are allowed in for free. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the week, and 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the weekends.
Parents can reserve the space for private parties on the weekends after closing.
Sim said Jam Time is not a franchise … at least not yet.
“Hopefully it will be,” he said. “We’d like to open four or five and franchise them out and have Jam Time all over the place.”
Sim said he and his wife have had to wear many hats since opening Jam Time, from advertising to accounting to maintenance, and have had to work many long hours.
But the decision they made three years ago to relocate and reinvent themselves is not one they regret.
“It’s enjoyable work,” he said. “We’re glad we made the move. Nowadays our parents don’t think we’re so crazy.”
JAM TIME FACTS
- Maynard address: 86 Powder Mill Rd Maynard, MA 01754
- Maynard phone: 978-897-2917
- Natick address: 251 West Central St Natick, MA 01760
- Natick phone: 508-651-2917
- Catering to little ones 3 months to 6 years
- Open 7-days a week for open play
- No membership required
- Socks are required at the facility
- On the web: http://www.jamtime.com/