Island Hop was born after owner Missy Parsons had an epiphany one day while relaxing on the beach.
“Well my then boyfriend and I had been on island for about a year and wanted to open up a business but didn’t know what to do. We were at Pau Pau [Beach] one Saturday and looked around and saw all the kids at the parties actually playing and making up games, not one kid was on a tablet or phone,” she said.
Parsons thought that seeing children actually playing outdoors and being active was refreshing.
“So, I told my boyfriend that I definitely wanted to do something family oriented and something the island didn’t have (or I hadn’t seen) and I realized I hadn’t seen one bounce house since we had been here and that’s how it all began,” she said.
The whole idea of coming up with Island Hop came in a flash, but the company didn’t actually take off until months later.
“I ordered the bounce houses mid-December 2017 and my first rental was March 4th (it took quite a long time to get here). The initial reception was more than I had anticipated. Once my Facebook page was up and I shared it with some friends I had over 400 followers in the first five days, orders started coming in the second day my page was up and the bounce houses weren’t even here yet!”
Parsons said that her bounce houses come from China.
“Both times I have ordered it has been from China. After doing months of research I realized that they used the same type of vinyl and stitching as the companies in the U.S., plus they had so many more fun-looking ones than thy typical castles they sell in the U.S. and the shipping was cheaper.”
As far as pricing goes, Island Hop’s biggest and most elaborate bounce house is the Castle Combo. “It is a 3-in-1 bouncy house, water slide, and pool and it is $275 for the day,” said Parsons.
Aside from the Castle Combo, Island Hop also rents out Candy Land ($125); Jungle Monkey ($125); Birthday Cake ($125); Wet/Dry Double Slides ($225); and Tidal Wave 20-foot water slide ($250).
Parsons said all prices are for full-day rentals.
Aside from the usual birthday parties, Island Hop also get bookings for christenings, school events, church events, Liberation Day, family fun days, and even island events like the American Red Cross-NMI Chapter Walkathon and Konqer.
As far as the frequency of bookings, Parsons said it could be as unpredictable as the Saipan weather.
“So far, the busiest month two years in a row has been April. As far as bookings go that is always up in the air, I have had as little as one up to nine in one week,” she said.
Lately, however, like other local businesses Island Hop has also taken a hit from the economic slowdown and the subsequent government austerity measures.
“It has affected my business tremendously. June and July of this year have been my worst months since I opened in 2017. In June, for example, I had the same number of rentals for the entire month that I usually have in one weekend.”
To give the bottom line a boost, Islands Hop is offering 20% off all units until Sept. 1, 2019.
Regardless of plateauing sales, Parsons said she’s just happy providing an important service to local families and children.
“Without a doubt the looks on the kids’ faces, their excitement, and the cutest things they say is the most fulfilling part of owning Island Hop. Their giggles and laughter… I have had more than one child tell me ‘It was their best day ever.’ How could you not love that?” she said.
For more information on Island Hop or to book one of their bounce houses, contact Parsons via Facebook at Islandhopsaipan (There is a blue button right on the page that says “Message Me”), via mobile phone at 788-0033, or via email at info@islandhopsaipan.