VOLLI’s Director of Food & Beverage Kevin Aiello outside of the business on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

VOLLI’s Director of Food & Beverage Kevin Aiello outside of the business on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Coming soon to Marysville: indoor pickleball, games, drinks

“We’re very confident this will be not just a hit, but a smash hit,” says co-owner Allan Jones, who is in the fun industry.

MARYSVILLE — Allan Jones is an entrepreneur specializing in ideas “a little outside the box.” He made his fortune through robotic ice cream machines and trampoline parks.

Now the founder and CEO of VOLLI Entertainment is focused on what he calls “the next evolution of our business:” pickleball.

VOLLI will open a pickleball sports bar in Marysville on July 8. The 22,000-square-foot space will have indoor courts and other activities like golf simulators, shuffleboard, darts, an arcade and cornhole. A restaurant and bar inside will have wall-mounted TVs airing sports.

Jones calls the whole concept “ultra-tainment.”

Soft openings are planned for the bar, located at 9315 State Avenue, Suite E, before the grand opening. The planned Marysville location was formerly home to Costless Warehouse until the furniture store relocated.

VOLLI Marysville has no entry fee, but court rentals are $10 an hour per person.

“We’re making a significant investment in the city to do it,” Jones said. “These things don’t come cheap. This is a first class, AAA-plus build out. So we’re very confident this will be not just a hit, but a smash hit.”

Pickleball is a sport played with wooden paddles and a plastic ball, similar to tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It was first played in 1965 on Bainbridge Island and is named after the dog of one of the founders. Pickleball is considered by many to be America’s fastest-growing sport, and in March 2022, it became Washington’s official state sport.

Sen. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, sponsored that bill and was the author of another bill authorizing the creation of a pickleball license plate in April.

Randy Gritton, president of the Marysville Pickleball Club, has followed news about VOLLI Marysville. He said it’s “an interesting concept,” even if most players would prefer outdoor play when possible. The popular spot in town for pickleball is Jennings Memorial Park. Last summer, eight outdoor pickleball courts at the park opened to the public, according to North County Outlook.

A rendering of the pickleball courts under construction at the soon to open VOLLI Marysville. (VOLLI Entertainment)

A rendering of the pickleball courts under construction at the soon to open VOLLI Marysville. (VOLLI Entertainment)

Gritton thinks club members could utilize VOLLI Marysville for league play or whenever the weather is poor. The group established in 2017 currently has about 150 members.

“On hot days, when we do have those here, having an indoor place to play is going to be awesome,” Gritton said. “We’ll be there frequently.”

VOLLI opened its first location two years ago in Bellingham to meet what Jones sees as a growing demand for indoor pickleball courts.

“It’s just exploding,” Jones said. “So if you’re looking at any kind of retail concept in the country, there would be nothing that would approach the excitement and the growth of pickleball.”

When it comes to his startups, Jones, based in Charleston, South Carolina, said “one concept leads to the next.” He co-founded Robofusion, which created and sold robotic frozen yogurt and ice cream kiosks. He said a lot of his customers happened to be trampoline parks, and seeing their success, he got into the business.

He and other family members own attractions across the country, including Altitude Trampoline Park in Marysville and Summit Adventure Park in Bellingham. And it’s this familiarity with the area that led VOLLI to open its second location in Snohomish County.

“I’m interested in things that are fun,” Jones said. “If you can go to work inside of a VOLLI or an adventure park, or building robotic ice cream machines, I mean, why not?”

Kevin Aiello walks on the soon to be finished indoor pickle ball courts on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Kevin Aiello walks on the soon to be finished indoor pickle ball courts on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

VOLLI Marysville, first announced in November 2021, originally planned to open in summer 2022, but was pushed back. More than 50 people will be hired to work at the location, which Jones envisions as the “premier place in the town to hang out.”

Jones is developing a third VOLLI location in Texas. He also wants to franchise and open five or six more pickleball sports bars across Washington.

“We’re early on this,” Jones said about the business concept. “We think there’s going to be a whole lot of them in the United States in the not so distant future.”

For more information, visit vollimarysville.com.

Eric Schucht: 425-339-3477; eric.schucht@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @EricSchucht.

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