Case Lawrence: Building to amaze
CircusTrix’s founder/CEO Case Lawrence didn’t begin his professional career with the intention of becoming an innovator in adrenaline-based recreation. In the polar opposite of heart-pounding excitement, Lawrence started his career as an attorney and real estate developer in the Bay Area.
The closest he got to an intense sensory experience was when his real estate career exploded with the market crash in 2008. “I got absolutely decimated,” he says. “I spent two years trying to work with banks and stay alive. When I finally got back on stable ground, I wanted to go into anything but real estate.”
Still recovering financially, Lawrence attended a San Francisco Giants game with his sons, ending up at the House of Air trampoline park after the game. The indoor park was housed in a converted air hangar in the Presidio and featured 8,000 square feet of trampolines.
Lawrence had a blast—and left with a vision.
In 2011, he founded CircusTrix and opened his first trampoline-based park near Fresno. The second park opened in Durham, North Carolina in mid-2012 and he was hooked. Now the company has more than 30 extreme recreation parks spanning American, Europe and Asia, making it the fastest-growing and biggest developer of adrenaline-based parks in the country.
After moving his family and the company headquarters to Utah, Lawrence continued creating ideas to offer safe, but extreme, physical activities. He knows he’s riding the wave of a trend, but he thinks he has the key to make the wave last a long time.
“We were innovators when things were forming,” Lawrence says. “Being in the right place at the right time is 90 percent of [our success]. We made some good decisions early on, mainly that we wouldn’t become a franchise. It’s made all the difference.”
By keeping ownership of the parks, CircusTrix ensures safety standards, continued innovation and upkeep are consistent. It also designs each location to be a social media magnet.
CircusTrix didn’t spend a dollar on advertising for the first several years. Using specifically designed layouts, colorful street art, lighting and videos, CircusTrix lets its audience do the marketing since millennials plan their activities based on how they can share their adventures on social media platforms.
“Social media is affecting recreational behavior. That’s the psyche of this generation. The analogy is, if someone goes on a recreational activity and doesn’t post about it, did it even happen?” he says. “We offer a compelling option to get out of their rooms and away from their screens, but it has to offer an extreme, deliberate physical experience.”
With attractions like the Aerial Ninja Obstacle Course, the Foam Pit Slackline and the Parkour Trampoline Wall, CircusTrix invites closet warriors to push limits and get an adrenaline rush they can share with the world.
With all that excitement, where’s the love for Utah? The closest CircusTrix park is Gravady in Las Vegas, but Lawrence hasn’t ruled out a park in the Beehive State in the future. “Utah was an early adopter and saturated the market with trampoline parks. When you compare it to other parts of the country, Utah is still saturated.”
As more venues open around the world, CircusTrix continues to create adventures that spike heart rates and boost confidence.
“We see a broad spectrum of integration,” says Lawrence. “What it’s shown is that [the parks] really have a human appeal that cuts across language and culture and age.”