Bucks County Herald

Fun in franchising

Fun Fieldz looks to expand business reach


Fun Fieldz owners Aaron Keller, left, and Jonathan Retano have gone into franchising. “I’m very excited,” Keller said. “I think this is a huge opportunity for us and I think it’s a natural step.”

Fun Fieldz is ready to go national.

Owners Jonathan Retano and Aaron Keller have already bopped home runs and booted field goals in Bucks and Montgomery counties, so, they figured, why not give franchising a stab?

“We decided to take the business to the next level,” Retano said. “It’s really been so positively received, what we do to get both children and adults outside playing and having fun. The opportunity’s right for us to franchise.”

The Fun Fieldz concept was born in the summer of 2011 when Retano and a former business associate stumbled onto the idea while on a “mancation” in Worcester Township. Retano set up a Wiffle ball field.

“I’ve been doing this sort of thing, just for fun, for the past couple of years, bringing my gear, so to speak, to barbecues, picnics, functions that my wife’s family had, just to add a little bit of fun and excitement,” Retano told the Herald in a July 2013 interview.

Fun Fieldz, which was officially launched in the spring of 2012, “brings a range of miniature, authentic sports fields to your location to create a unique and memorable big league experience,” it reads at funfieldz.com.

Imagine having an iconic stadium from baseball’s glory days erected in your backyard. Sure, the playing field may be smaller, there may not be thousands of fans looking on from the stands and the competitors are handed a Wiffle ball and bat, but the experience is second to none, Retano said.

“People really have to experience it or see it to get the full impact of what we’re trying to bring,” Retano said.

“It helps adults reconnect with their childhood and it teaches children how to just go out, have fun and play ball outside.”

Although they’re based in East Norriton, Retano and Keller have been drumming up a lot of business in Bucks County. That success led them down the path to franchising. Retano and Keller obtained legal clearances to begin franchising in October and attended the Philadelphia Franchise Expo in Oaks in November.

“I’m very excited,” Keller said. “I think this is a huge opportunity for us and I think it’s a natural step. We’ve been very happy, over the years, with how well we’ve been received and how we’ve grown just organically, so I look forward to great things.”

Doylestown-based SMB Franchise Advisors lent a hand.

“We believe it is very important that we get children playing outside again like we did years ago when we were kids,” SMB Franchise Advisors’ Steve Beagelman said. “Too many kids today just stay inside in front of their computers and don’t get the exercise they should. Fun Fieldz gets people outside, playing games, working as a team and having fun, which is really exciting.

“Fun Fieldz is a great business opportunity for someone looking to get into their own business without having the high cost of most other franchise concepts,” Beagelman continued. “A person can start this business from their home and work and build the business in the community where they live.”

“The question is, ‘Hey, can I own my own business where I get to play sports and games all day?’ ” Retano asked. “Yes, you can. And that’s Fun Fieldz.”

Fun Fieldz is perhaps best known for making Wiffle ball huge.

“We’re selling an experience,” Retano said. “It has the game, the sights, the sounds, the music, everything all wrapped into one package. It has to be authentic looking, it has to be mobile and it also has to be wind resistant.”

If a customer requests to play ball in Boston’s Fenway Park, Fun Fieldz delivers a miniature Fenway highlighted by a Green Monster in leftfield.

“All of our reviews on Google are five stars,” Retano said. “When people sign up and pay for the Fun Fieldz experience, they’re more than satisfied with what they get.”

“It’s been extremely well received,” Keller added.

That, among other things, was the impetus behind pursuing franchising.

“The hope is to franchise this throughout the country,” said Retano, noting they intend to start local. “Just the joy and fun that we bring really should be everywhere.”




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