Franchisee Profile: Wesley Herold – Urban Air and Snapology

Unleashed Brands loves to feature first-person interviews with some of our most successful multi-unit and multi-brand (MUMBO) franchisees. We take the time to interview them, learn their personal stories and background, then share their answers in a testimonial format. Once completed, we publish them online, so others can learn more about how each of these standout franchisees discovered the perfect youth enrichment brands to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams. For our latest interview, we sat down with Wesley Herold, who not only owns two Unleashed Brands franchises – he houses them in the same location – making his operation a MUMBO Combo! Herold and his wife launched their Urban Air Adventure Park in Plymouth, Minn. back in May 2019, then later opened a second franchise, Snapology, under the same roof. Below, in his own words, Herold shares the backstory of their personal entrepreneurial journey and explains why his dual-franchise operation could be the start of a new trend for Unleashed Brands’ franchisees.


“I have a degree in electrical engineering and earned my MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. I still maintain my full-time ‘day job,’ with an industrial automation engineering firm. My wife was formerly in elementary education, but a health issue prevented her from continuing her work in the classroom. When we decided to open the Urban Air franchise, it was her way of staying connected to kids and our community.”

On Choosing an Entrepreneurial Future

“Back in my twenties, I actually dabbled in entrepreneurship when looking into passive income opportunities to diversify my revenue. I really liked the franchising model and ended up purchasing a couple of Anytime Fitness locations. Those businesses did really well, but I ended up selling them a few years later when I was looking for something new and different. When we were planning our future, my wife and I decided that she’d run the day-to-day operations at Urban Air, and I’d keep my day job and handle other investment opportunities in my free time. Unfortunately, my wife’s health worsened, and she passed away, so I’ve taken over all operations. Even now, I’d still like to make this my full-time job, but recently my engineering firm secured a couple of fairly large projects that could double my business unit’s revenue over the next four years or so. It’s like I say, ‘you just never know where life is going to take you.’”

What Attracted You to the Urban Air and Snapology Franchise Opportunities?

“It’s actually kind of a funny story, really. I have a close friend here and from time to time, we like to get together and talk about different business opportunities. Well, he has four boys and was complaining that almost every weekend, he’s attending a birthday party for one of them or their friends. One of these birthday parties was hosted at the Urban Air park in nearby Coon Rapids and he was insistent that I come see this place for myself. At the time, it looked like the perfect fit for my wife and myself to own. It had flexible hours and plenty of opportunities for us to connect with the young kids in our own community. Same with Snapology – it aligned with my wife’s teaching background and was right up her alley. Both Urban Air and Snapology just fit our needs.”

What are the Benefits of Having Both Concepts Under One Roof?

“To begin with, Urban Air and Snapology are just a good match for one another. With Snapology, the business model suggests that owners begin as a mobile opportunity, then transition to a physical discovery center. But once you open an Urban Air location, that’s your discovery center right there. You’ve already rented the space and you have the support staff in place with your employees. That reduces your upfront costs and lowers your overall risk. I’m not exactly sure, but I think I was one of the first 20 or so franchisees in the Unleashed Brands system to try out this arrangement. For our situation, it was a great solution because we had the right people in place for both models to take off and be successful. The only real difficulty in launching the Snapology side of the business was educating our Urban Air customers on how the program worked, but we found creative ways to overcome it.”

What Advice do You Have for Others Who May Consider a “MUMBO Combo” in One Location?

“My advice? Go for it. As long as the brands compliment each other really well and match up, there are considerable cost savings for you to take advantage of. The resource-sharing makes good business sense, and you can get a lot more visibility and awareness right there in-house. In our case, we set up tables right at the main entrance of Urban Air with all kinds of Snapology literature and demonstrations for customers to see. With all the foot traffic we were getting, it amounted to some great experiential exposure for the Snapology side of the business.”

What Have These Business Opportunities Afforded You That You Might Not Have Otherwise?

“I think for me, the greatest benefit is that it feels like having another close family. All of our employees are so supportive and I just love being around them. We really lift each other up and love to participate in working sessions, brainstorming – even going out socially. It’s been a real second family for me, something I truly appreciate.”

What Does the Future Hold for You?

“With my work at my engineering firm, I still have quite the balancing act going on and it’ll probably be that way for the near-term. But ultimately – maybe in the next two to four years or so, I’d love to make my franchise ownership my full-time occupation. My new Snapology location in Apple Valley is coming soon and I’m working on setting up another discovery center in the Urban Air location I recently acquired in Coon Rapids. My goal is to keep expanding into other markets and open more locations. But I’ve been told I need to ‘cut the cord,’ so to speak on my day job. We’ll see. As for now, everything’s going pretty smoothly at the moment.”

To visit Wesley Herold’s Urban Air/Snapology franchise on the web, please follow this link.