My market research was directly retrieved from the 2000 US Census, 2002 NARC Census and the BASC 2000 Demographics Study. Per the same data, and to get an accurate idea of current (2003) data, my totals incorporated the projected 1.3% annual growth rate to the demographics. My data was then targeted to the selected townships that use Bemidji for schooling and shopping. They were typically townships within a 24-mile radius around Bemidji. My projected income data from this demographic assumes that only one parent of the households will accompany their children to the facility.
4.1 Market Segmentation
My market demographic is 100% targeted to families, specifically, households with children in the 2 - 5 year-old age group in the Bemidji area.
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
Our research into the local market has indicated that a concentrated target marketing effort will yield the best results. We are therefore focusing on the 1,200 households surrounding Bemidji with 4,000 children between 2 and 5 years of age. Children in this age range are typically not yet in school yet, and in need of diverse means of recreation, including "play groups" with children of their parents' friends. As members of this demographic, my wife and I fully understand the need and benefit of offering our children diverse recreational and physical outlets. From experience, this demographic will look for and seek out recreational opportunities for their children for not only the child's benefit, but for the parent's benefit as well. Out-of-home facilities that can entertain kids and give parents needed respite are in high demand.
This market is greatly under-served with respect to the services Cabin Fever plans to offer in the greater Bemidji area. The school system can provide this type of recreation to an extent, and there are some businesses that have recreational outlets. However, it is my observation that similar facilities are either too small, seasonal, have health hazards, or are not geared to younger children and their family. Winter is long here, and weather is unpredictable. "Cabin Fever" will be a preferred destination for families looking for something new, fun, and exciting for themselves and their children, especially if it promotes physical and social growth.
4.3 Service Business Analysis
About Soft Contained Play Equipment (Soft Play)
Soft Contained Play Equipment is a visually stimulating and mentally exciting configuration of tubes, slides, ladders, nets and mazes. It also incorporates devices which apply the kids' own energies to make something move mechanically, like a sign or a front-end loader or a fire truck steering wheel. Some equipment is also designed to stimulate the child's playful creativity such as the double-sided Fantasy Role Play Panel and the Magic Ball Popper. The whole approach of Soft Contained Play Equipment is to design their equipment through the eyes of a child. It is then developed through consultation with child development experts and adheres to ASTM F1918-98 safety requirements.
As previously mentioned, Cabin Fever is all about family recreation, specifically, child development and fun. As parents continue to look for fun and exciting activities for their kids the family entertainment center (FEC) has become increasingly popular. FECs have traditionally encompassed multiple attractions such as bowling, skating, mini-golf, batting cages, etc... but the one development that has really spurred the popularity of the FEC is soft contained play equipment. Soft contained play systems continue to be major draws to recent FECs. Kids love the fun and interactive play they provide, while parents appreciate the increased safety measures.
There is a competitive market in the Family Recreation industry in Bemidji. Currently there is a roller-rink, seasonal water park, bowling ally, Gym-Bin, BSU Rec-center and a few city organized activities on a seasonal basis. However, there is no facility dedicated exclusively to building the social, physical, and mental interactions of children ages 2-5 and their parents in an exciting and stimulating environment.
4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns
Families make choices for family recreation activities based on cost, availability of activities appropriate for the entire household, and fun. Currently in Bemidji, activities for children under 5 are an after-thought. There may be a smaller wading pool at one end of the water park, or a special roller-skating class for 4 and 5 year olds. This discrepancy is most keenly felt by parents in the winter, when normal outdoor activities are curtailed for the youngest children. At the moment, parents of small children must choose between a small array of limited activities on a schedule not of their choosing, if they want any out-of-home play.
Safety is another major concern for parents of young children. Activities and venues that are perfectly safe for 10-year-olds may be extreme hazards for very young children. The need to be right next to their child during every moment of play in any of the existing offerings does not alow parents any respite or recreation.