As Longmont's Dizzy Family Fun Center continues the fight to keep its doors open, creditors are moving against the operation's former owners in an effort to recoup nearly $250,000.
Great Western Bank is asking a Boulder County district court judge to compel former owners Matthew and Allison Hull to repay the remaining balance of a $350,000 business loan borrowed in 2014 by the couple's firm M4 Entertainment LLC, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
Matthew Hull, reached by telephone Thursday, said he was unaware of the suit but acknowledged the company's debt situation.
When the company borrowed money to help launch Dizzy Family Fun Center about four years ago, "we thought it was viable," he said. " ... But we couldn't get enough momentum and eventually the weight of the debt was just too much."
Support from a core group of customers and members of the local business community — who held a "Save Dizzys" fundraiser — wasn't enough to generate the amount of revenue necessary to service that debt, Hull said. A GoFundMe campaign launched in 2016 failed to come close to its $25,000 goal.
Peter Dauster, a Ft. Collins-based attorney who represents Great Western Bank in the suit, declined to comment.
Dizzy Family Fun Center's former general manager and minority stakeholder Aaron Nagell bought the name and assets of the operation in September 2017 for $46,000, a sum which was handed over to the bank to pay down M4 Entertainment's debt, court filings show.
Nagell is not named in Great Western Bank's suit, and both he and Hull said Nagell's company Nages Entertainment LLC is not responsible for M4 Entertainment's debt.
But Nagell said he still faces many of the challenges Dizzy Family Fun Center has been dealing with years.
"It's pretty much month-by-month right now" in terms of keeping the business afloat, he said.
Seasonality is a big issue, as much of the operation's revenue comes from events such as birthday parties. Those events, often held at outdoor venues during warm weather months, dry up during the summer, Nagell said.
In order to stay busy during slower months, Nagell said he plans to branch out by renting inflatable play apparatus to organizers of warm weather events and festivals.
But even during the busy winter season, Dizzy Family Fun Center must compete with larger operations that offer a similar experience in prime real estate locations. In Longmont, those major competitors are The Wild Game and Get Air Longmont.
Hull said he roots for Nagell's success but fears there "is only enough room for one (of these types businesses) to survive."
But Nagell has one thing going for him that Hull didn't.
"He doesn't have all the debt," Hull said. "So I'm hoping he generates enough revenue that (the business) can survive the summer."