Angela Holt – Founder of Jungle Joe’s
Angela Holt – Founder of Jungle Joe’s
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Show Notes & Links:
- Jungle Joe’s on Lifestyle Frisco
- Jungle Joe’s on Facebook
- Featured article on Jungle Joe’s
- Happy Hour: Mon – Thurs, 2pm – Close
- Friday, Kids Eat Free: 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco on:
Scott Ellis: Welcome to the Frisco Podcast. I’m your host Scott Ellis, and on the show today, we have the founder of Jungle Joe’s, Angela Holt. If you are looking for a place to go hang out with your kids but that also has amenities for adults, you’ve got to check out Jungle Joe’s.
Angela, welcome to the show. It’s good to have you on the Frisco Podcast.
Angela Holt: Thank you so much for having me. Great to be here.
Scott Ellis: Wow, we’re very excited to have you on the show today. We’re going to talk about Jungle Joe’s, which is a business of yours here in Frisco, and I’m sure you’re going to do a much better job of it than I will. So why don’t we start with what Jungle Joe’s is, and then tell us a little bit about how you got into that business and why you started it.
Angela Holt: Prefect. Yeah. So, Jungle Joe’s is a café where kids can play in Frisco. The way we’re different than many of the other indoor play businesses that cater to kids, is we have a café with fresh healthy food that’s made to order, and we have different variety of stuff. So we don’t have those frozen pizzas or some of the junk that you get at some of the other places. I think that’s what makes us different. Then some of the other things we do in addition to the café, we have arts and crafts, birthday parties, private events, we do different specials, and anything that’s kid-related, you can do at Jungle Joe’s.
Scott Ellis: Okay. I love it. I’ve seen the pictures, I haven’t been able to go in myself. I don’t have children. So it probably would be inappropriate for me to show up and start playing one day, but it looks like a ton of fun in there. So what are some of the types of activities that you guys have in Jungle Joe’s?
Angela Holt: Well, Monday through Friday, we do arts and crafts. So, in addition, you pay an admission to come in, and that’s included in your fee. We have Sarina, who’s in charge of all the crafts, create one for the week, and the kids can go in. The parents can go in there, too. It’s in a separate room. It just gives the parents a little break while the kids are in there with Sarina making some crafts. We also have, like I said, the birthday parties.
This summer we have the summer camps, where the parents can actually drop off the kids, and the kids can play all day long with us while the parents go and do what they need to do during the summer break. They have a Thomas the toy train table. So there’s trains, there’s a coloring station, there’s a chalkboard wall, and the most important part if our jungle structure. It’s an obstacle with a slide and it’s all padded and it’s cleaned daily. So there’s all kinds of different things that the kids can run around and do while the parents have some coffee or lunch.
Scott Ellis: Okay, very good. What is the age range of the kids that this is appropriate or suited for?
Angela Holt: Yeah, gotcha. We do have a toddler area. So we have little ones who’s young, even under one who come in, and the moms can sit in the toddler area while the kiddos crawl around. I would say the max age is probably eight or nine, depending on the child. Not that the structure can hold them, they just get bored there. It’s not a huge play center with the trampolines and the arcade or anything like that. So they’re like, “We want to go somewhere else.” When they get a little older. My son’s eight, and he’s like, “Okay, take me other places where I can go have fun.”
Scott Ellis: Okay. Sounds good. When did you guys open Jungle Joe’s?
Angela Holt: We will be open one year on June 9th.
Scott Ellis: Oh, congratulations.
Angela Holt: So right at 11 months right now. Thank you. We’re going to be celebrating our one year birthday party with a couple events on both June 7th and June 9th, one for adults only, and then also we’ll celebrate the kiddos on June 7th with a big birthday party.
Scott Ellis: Fantastic. Lifestyle Frisco’s birthday is June 6th, so that’s going to be a busy week for all of us.
Angela Holt: Oh yeah. Congratulations. That is great. You guys are, is it four year?
Scott Ellis: Four year, yeah. Time flies when you’re having fun.
Angela Holt: Wow. I know, I was just talking to my friend, her daughter’s having her party there next weekend, and we were both like, “That year just flew by, and it’s almost summer.” It’s just crazy.
Scott Ellis: It does go quickly, but it also deserves a bit of congratulations and a pat on the back. As any small business owner knows that most small businesses do not survive very long, and there are certain milestones that are fun to get over and indicative that things are moving in the right direction. Getting through that first year is certainly one of them, so congratulations again.
Angela Holt: Thanks, Scott. Yeah, we are definitely, we’re thrilled. It’s been a fantastic year, but there’s definitely been some challenges that were growing pains and “What do we do next? And how do we get more people in?” It’s good to have a year now where we know the flow, too, of once school’s back in, it’s going to get slower. Different times of yeah, what’s going to happen at that time.
Scott Ellis: Sure.
Angela Holt: Yeah, it’s exciting.
Scott Ellis: Is this where parents, in some cases, especially with toddlers, they’re going to come and stay with them, and I know you said at camps they can drop them off, but on a normal basis outside of a special camp or something, is this something where parents can drop off kids for a little while or do they really need to stay with them the whole time?
Angela Holt: Right, they normally need to stay with them. 99% of the time, but we did last fall, did some parents’ nights out. We’ve been talking to some different groups, too, where we can accommodate that. We have a staff that’s CPR certified, and they’re trained with kids, and they know what they’re doing. So it’s definitely something that we will probably revisit after the summer’s over.
Scott Ellis: Okay. Very good. So let’s back up a little bit now, and tell us how you got into this business. What made you want to state Jungle Joe’s, and what led to getting this thing up and running?
Angela Holt: Well, it’s very interesting. I, years and years and years ago, got a teaching degree in special ed, but then my path took me other places. I ended up moving to California. Gosh, it’s 19 year ago now that I moved there and became a real estate broker and did that for 15 years and met my husband there, who was in the Navy at the time. Then, as he was getting close to retirement, we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do.
I grew up in Round Rock, outside of Boston, and we decided we wanted to leave California and get back to Texas. So with that thought in mind, we were like, “What can we do that I can still work with kids?” But being self-employed for so many years, I didn’t want a nine to five job or a teaching job or anything like that. My little eight year old, he was little then, but he’s eight now, was kind of our market researcher. Wherever we went, if we’d go out of town or wherever, we’d check out the indoor play places and see what they had, and just started forming a business plan from there when we got here to Frisco, it’ll be two years in August that we moved, we just started looking.
We hit the ground and realized that we probably couldn’t afford to do anything in Frisco, and then after we gave up on the idea … Both Rick and I are licensed real estate agents in Texas, we were both going to do that … we found this spot on Hillcrest and Rolater. Within a week, we had signed a lease and got moving on construction of remodeling the place.
Scott Ellis: Wow.
Angela Holt: Yeah. So it’s always been a dream of mine to first be a business owner, but also just my love of kids. I’ve always wanted to work with kids. So this really allowed me to do both, and it’s been great so far.
Scott Ellis: Good.
Angela Holt: I’m sorry, yeah. I was just going to say, Rick loves it and he loves the business side, but he’s not … No, he loves kids, but not to where … It’s loud in there. Kids are running around screaming. So he’s more of a behind the scenes guy.
Scott Ellis: I think that’s probably where I would be, as well. I completely understand.
Angela Holt: Yeah.
Scott Ellis: So he’s full time with part of this business with you, as well, then?
Angela Holt: He is. He’s working for different ventures right now, but yes. He has been for the past year. Now, like I said, we’re getting to that one-year anniversary, he’s like, “Okay, my job is done here. Now I can go figure out what my dream is and do that.”
Scott Ellis: Fair enough, get things up and running and kind of trucking along, and see what else comes next. So good for him.
Angela Holt: Yes, exactly.
Scott Ellis: So, talk to me a little bit more about the food. You mentioned that we have some healthier options for people. Is it just while they’re there? What kinds of options do they have? Do you guys do any kind of catering? You mentioned birthday parties. Help me understand what you guys have going on there.
Angela Holt: Yeah. Our menu consists of salads, sandwiches, paninis, and then we also have power bowls. So one of the top menu items that we sell is our roasted veggie salad that is roasted veggies with chicken and feta and homemade balsamic vinegar. So like I said, it’s a true café. It’s not where we’re prepackaging everything and it sat there for days. It’s made while you’re there, once you order it. Then, our power bowls are another popular item where there’s a quinoa bowl that has hummus and cheese. It’s really popular, and it also has the roasted veggies. We have tacos and burritos that are with chicken or veggies. So, like I said, it’s not burgers and fries or pizza.
Scott Ellis: Yeah, it’s not chicken fingers and corn dogs.
Angela Holt: Yes. Now, we do have that stuff for the kiddos because they don’t want the healthier stuff. But it’s totally up to the parent if they want their child to have the corn dog and hotdog, that’s fine. We have all that, but we also have other things that they can have that aren’t … We have veggies and hummus. We’re adding some dips. We have queso if they want that. So it’s just a variety of different foods. So if you’re there and you’re hungry, you can get something that you’ll enjoy.
Scott Ellis: Okay, very good. What about beverages?
Angela Holt: Yeah, we have a coffee bar. We don’t have fresh squeezed, but we have juice for the kids. We have sodas, we have a whole fridge full of stuff to drink, but our coffees are very popular. A lot of parents come in and just hang out. Some work while they’re there. They bring in their laptops, we have free wifi, and then hang out while their kiddos run around and get tired for nap time.
Scott Ellis: All right, very good. Well, I think that coffee bar has to be key to keeping some of the parents happy when they’re in there. So, glad to know that you have that there.
Angela Holt: Yeah. It’s there.
Scott Ellis: Let’s talk a little bit about the events and birthday parties, because there’s so many kids in Frisco, and it constantly feels like I’m hearing somebody talk about they’re planning a birthday party or something, some event like that that they need to do. It sounds like your location for the right age range is a good place for them to have a kid’s birthday party. What kinds of activities do you do around that? Is it kind of a package thing where they can come in and say, “Okay, I got however many kids,” and, “This is what it’s gonna cost per kid?” How do you guys handle those things?
Angela Holt: Yeah, exactly. So, we have a budget for pretty much anyone. The parties start at $179, and then they go up from there. The first 45 minutes, the kiddos just run around and they play. They do whatever they want, and then the next 45 minutes they go into a private party room where we offer the food there. They can order pizza or fruit platters, veggies platters. The kids eat, have cake, and then the party’s over.
But we also offer private events, where you can have all of Jungle Joe’s to yourself as well. The structure is always the same, but what’s included, it just depends on the package that you order. We can decorate for you. You always hae a party host that makes sure that everything’s running smoothly and takes you from A to Z for the party. So the parents really like it. They can just sit back and relax. And we’re not so big that they have to be following kids around all the time, they can see on the cameras where the kids are in the structure while they’re in our lounge area. It’s just all chatting and having a good time.
Scott Ellis: Okay, well, sounds like you guys have a very good thing going on there. If anybody hasn’t already heard about Jungle Joe’s, where can they go to find you guys online? How do they find out more?
Angela Holt: Our website is easy, just Junglejoesfrisco.com. We’re on Facebook, JungleJoesFrisco. Twitter is the same. Then we’re just on the corner of Hillcrest and Rolater in Frisco behind Family Video.
Scott Ellis: Okay. So for anybody who may not be super familiar with that area, what are some of the major cross streets?
Angela Holt: If you’re on the tollway, you would take Stonebrook, and Stonebrook turns into Rolater. Then if you’re on the 121, you would take the Hillcrest exit to Rolater.
Scott Ellis: There you go. Okay. Well, Angela, thank you so much. We’re going to link all that up in the show notes, you guys, as always. So if you are interested, you want to go hang out and take your kids, have some coffee, get a little work done while the kids play, or just take them and have fun with them, go visit Jungle Joe’s. We’re going to have picture, links, everything online along with the post, or you can just go straight out to Junglejoesfrisco.com, learn a little bit more about them. Great place for a birthday party, too, if you got those coming up. Of course, like I said, we’ve got lifestyle Frisco’s birthday party coming up, but I don’t think it’s going to be the right fit.
Angela Holt: No. Probably not, but thanks for thinking about it though.
Scott Ellis: Most of our audience is a little bit over eight or nine, but yeah, otherwise we’d be there. Anything else you would like us to know before we sign off for the day?
Angela Holt: Well, just a couple more things that we do. We do have happy hour in the afternoons for the parents that want to come in from 2 to close. There’s three dollars off admission and half off any drinks, excluding smoothies. Then we also have kids eat free on Fridays. So if they come in after 2 on Fridays, we stay open ’til eight, and they can have dinner there as well.
Scott Ellis: Very good. Give us the quick rundown of hours, Monday to Friday or whatever days you’re open.
Angela Holt: Yeah, so we’re open at 9:00 every day except Sunday. So 9 to 6, Monday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday we stay open ’til 8. Then on Sunday we’re open from 11 to 6. We are adding some breakfast items to the menu. We already have baked oatmeal and breakfast tacos, but we will also have some pancakes and some yogurt things that they want to come in right at 11 and have an early lunch and brunch while the kids run around and play after church.
Scott Ellis: Okay. Very good, and you mentioned happy hour, and that’s on Fridays?
Angela Holt: That’s Monday through Thursday.
Scott Ellis: Monday through Thursday.
Angela Holt: Pretty much any time 2:00 and after, we have some sort of special going on Monday through Friday. So happy hour is Monday through Thursday, and then the kids eat free is on Friday.
Scott Ellis: Okay. We’ll make sure that everybody is very well aware of that schedule as well. Again, thank you so much for coming on the show today. We appreciate having you here. Hope you guys stay busy. We’ll sit down and chat with you in another year, if not sooner, and see how things are going.
Angela Holt: Great. Yeah.
Scott Ellis: Everybody get out there, Junglejoesfrisco.com, and as always, we’re grateful to have you tuning into the Frisco Podcast. Thank you everyone for joining us today. Thank you Angela, for coming on the show, and we will talk to you next week on the Frisco Podcast.