The Bubble Bus Story

“We have had you come out to our event for the past few years and everyone loves it!”

- West County EMS & Fire

The Bubble Bus Story

The B.B.B. (Before Bubble Bus) Years

john_and_beth

My story starts as a small child who loved taking things apart. I always liked it when appliances around the house broke down because I knew the repair man was coming, and I was going to watch him fix it!

By fourth grade, I’d become interested in magic and, along with my friend John, we started my first business… The Double J Magicians. We charged $8 to perform at birthday parties, using the money we earned to buy more magic tricks. As I grew into my teens, I ventured into lawn care. My hands were perennially bright green from the stain of freshly cut grass.

As a college sophomore, I became a windshield repairman, fixing dings and cracks. I bought my first dealership when this repair technology was still on the ground floor. I worked my way through college, repairing windshields between classes and on weekends.

Graduating with a degree in aircraft maintenance engineering, I began working as a mechanic on commercial jets and, later, as an engineer on military fighter aircraft. This continued until I became bored with being confined to a desk. I preferred being in the trenches — always have, always will.

I also preferred spending time with my wife, Beth. Early in our marriage, I started an electronics company from home, specializing in high-end security systems for homes and businesses, becoming an expert in and installing wireless security systems well before they were fashionable.

Soon everyone switched to wireless, but we had already carved our niche. We added smart home automation systems — again, something brand new — to set myself apart from the other alarm companies popping up in my backyard. Business was good, and I became the local “go to” guy in the early days of home automation.

One of the people I met in those days was a high-level quadriplegic looking for a way to make his home “smart.” He wanted to be able to remotely control his lights, heating and cooling, music, window blinds — even the water in his bathroom sink. After much research, we designed a system he could control through his computer. Suddenly, he achieved his independence. Soon, other physically challenged people began to call. I became a dealer for environmental control units, or ECUs, (boxes that can control a physically challenged person’s surroundings, enabling them to be more independent).

Fortune looked down on me and, working through the VA Medical system, I started installing ECUs for disabled veterans throughout the Midwest. It’s an awesome business and a wonderful way to use my electronics knowledge to give back.

 

What does this have to do with bubbles?

Great question. I always joke that bubbles are part of my college aeronautical education, the study of all aspects of flight through air — even bubbles!

Our bubble business actually evolved about 10 years ago from a late night Google search that turned up a glowing blacklight bubble product called Tekno Bubbles. I didn’t know what they were, but I wanted some. So, I placed an order.

Next thing you know, I was a distributor. It took many conversations and a few bribes, but I eventually convinced my wife — who was working as a physical therapist and mothering three young children — to let me buy the patents and trademarks from the inventor, and in 2003, we became the new face of Tekno Bubbles.

bus_gladys

I thought we had the latest Pet Rock, and we would be selling millions of bottles of this genius product to the unsuspecting shoppers of the world.

Well, things didn’t quite pan out that way. We created a new bottle and label for the bubbles and sold them where we could. Sales were slow, and we were discouraged.

Then just before Halloween, something wonderful happened. We got a call from someone who planned to use our glowing blacklight bubbles in their Haunted House. Eureka! We’d struck bubble gold. Our glowing bubbles would be the next Halloween craze.

And we did enjoy some success marketing directly to the Haunted House and Halloween industry. Tekno Bubbles were new, different and cool. People loved them, but we had to educate them on how to use them safely in a Haunted House. Thanks to these early customers, we became experts on indoor bubble safety.

bus_original_truck

Meanwhile, we also started appearing at events pro bono, just to advertise our bubbles and stimulate retail sales. We started hearing the same questions over and over: “How much do you charge to put on a bubble display?” or “Can I pay you to do this at my son’s birthday party?” Voila… the Bubble Party was born!

We outfitted my old Chevy pickup truck to haul the bubble equipment and started doing parties wherever we could. Before long, we needed another vehicle. So we bought Gladys, a 1993 Caprice Classic with 90,000 miles on her. We retired Gladys many years later with over 240,000 miles.

Even with Gladys, our business was growing fast enough to require another vehicle — one that could make a statement and was large enough to transport our bubble-making equipment. Much to my wife’s dismay, I looked at old ambulances and even hearses. She had a better idea. She wanted something fun, something happy, something eye-catching.

Lo and behold, the Bubble Bus was born.

We bought a used school bus and, for the first year, it remained its classic yellow color. With a local college student’s help, we gave it a makeover. Peace, Love and Bubbles was our theme, and our customers loved it! Soon we were an icon in many local parades and civic outdoor events. The Bubble Bus was becoming a household named known by schools, parents and local businesses.

Our own kids joined in on the fun, doing face painting, handing out flyers, walking in parades and blowing millions of bubbles! A year or so later, we bought a second bus to meet growing demand.

Since our first bubble event in 2005, our business has grown almost 50% every year. In 2014, our three buses participated in more than 300 bubble events.

 

What’s next?

In 2014, after almost 12 years in the bubble business and 9 years doing bubble events, we decided it was time to franchise the Bubble Bus and give others the same opportunities we have enjoyed.

We love this business, and we love the smiles and happiness it brings to people young and old! We are very excited about the future of Bubble Bus and are dedicated to its success. We hope others will see the amazing opportunities — both economical and emotional — that this business can bring. With hard work and dedication, there is no reason others cannot become even more successful than us!

The business model we’ve developed is solid and is designed to help you succeed. So what are you waiting for? Donʼt let another Bubble Season pass you by!

Peace, Love and Bubbles,

John

ABOUT THE BUBBLE BUS

The Bubble Bus is the world’s most sure-fire way of spreading joy and bubbles to people of all ages.

The first and only mobile business of its kind, the Bubble Bus and its interactive bubble-making magic can appear anywhere you want to attract or entertain a crowd.

CONTACT US

810 Meramec Station Road
St. Louis, MO 63088

Phone: 1-844-BUBBLEFUN
FAX: 314-966-5516
E-mail: info@bubblebus.com

Franchise Opportunities

TESTIMONIALS

"...In the last two years [the Bubble Bus Team] has provided glow body paint which we highly recommend. The carnival mixer would be nothing without Tekno Bubbles!"
- Visitation Academy

"Our experience was great from start to finish. We will definitely book with them again and have shared our experiences with other Chick-fil-A locations in our market and nationwide."
- Chick-fil-A Sunset Plaza

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