Todd Ostwinkle started his business, H & H Fun Rides, almost by mistake.
He attend an auction at Chuck E Cheese with a friend and purchased a couple of coin rides on a whim that he thought would be fun to have at home for his children.
He soon took the rides to a fall festival in his hometown of Worthington as something fun for the kids to do the day of the event.
Word started to spread to other such events that Ostwinkle owned the rides and rented them out. The next thing he knew, he bought an inflatable bounce house.
“I’ve always liked trains, so I did some research and found a company out of Virginia that made trackless trains,” he said of starting to purchase more inventory to rent out at events. “As we got busier and the more money we made, we invested in more equipment.”
Today, 15 years since Ostwinkle began, H & H has grown into an entertainment rental company that can provide inflatables, rock walls, dunk tanks, a trackless train, a haunted house and games, among other activities. The company will handle delivery and setup as well as pickup when the event is over.
“No matter if the customer is renting one piece or 10 pieces, we bring it and set it up,” he said.
He added his company will set up for a variety of events, including company picnics, wedding receptions and family reunions, town festivals, school and church events “and even a backyard birthday party.”
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While business is slow down for the colder months, Ostwinkle said he will continue to have rentals through the holidays.
“While we do events 12 months out of the year, this is a good time for us to do maintenance. I’m a pretty hands-on person and I own the equipment, so we take good care of it.”
Ostwinkle said most of the business comes from word-of-mouth and people seeing them at other events. Most of their rentals, in fact, tend to be annual events that H & H returns to every year.
He is the only full-time employee of the business, but during the busy summer months — when they are sometimes doing up to six events in one day — he can have the help of some 30 part-time workers.
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At a glance
l Owner: Todd Ostwinkle
l Business: H & H Fun Rides
l Address: Cedar Rapids
l Phone: (319) 393-0215
l website: hhfunrides.com/