PUBLISHED: 11:13 AM on Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Women in Business: Kristi Elliott-Gallagher
Our BackYard, LLC
Give a brief description of what your business is.

Our BackYard "Playnasium" is a tantalizing indoor playground and arcade that has been delighting Juneau's kids for over 4 years now. It is a great place for birthday parties, for the family to come for pizza and play, or to just relax with one of our magazines and free coffee while your kids socialize and burn off some energy.

What woman has inspired you or mentored you in business?

Margaret O'Neal of the Juneau Economic Development Center. She believed in me and in my business ideas. She filled in many of the gaps and guided me from the start-up stage. To this day I feel I can come to her with questions. I can count on her for the honest answers even if it's not what I want to hear. If she doesn't have an answer she will find one, or a resource for me to find it. She has always been a pillar of support for me and my business. What typically would have been just a loan process has turned out to be so much more. She may be surprised if she reads this, but it just goes to show you never know who you will influence through your actions.

What does your business offer that is unique?

The play structure in itself is unique to Juneau. There is no other indoor facility like Our BackYard that enables children to utilize their gross motor skills by climbing, jumping, sliding, pulling themselves up or swimming in the ball pits.

The games are unique in the fact that they distribute prizes when the player wins. The virtual Kiddie Coaster is like none other in town and has proven to be a favorite of the visitors.

The service that is much appreciated by busy parents is our Full Service Theme Party Packages. With these packages our staff supplies everything from the invitations to the cake and ice cream, decorations, set-up, clean up, and everything in between. All the customer needs to supply is the Birthday Child and all their friends!

Our BackYard can accommodate large parties such as Class Parties and our beloved Filipino Family Parties who generally celebrate children's birthdays in a grand way.

What has been your biggest challenge being a women-run business?

I started this business for two reasons:

1. I discovered a gap in our community of a lack of enter-tainment for children after my first son was born in 98.

2. I needed to do something for myself but was unwilling to be without my young children during the day. I created this scenario of a family-based business, giving the employees and myself the benefit of bringing our children to work with us.

For myself (and I'm sure I can speak for my employees as well) it is both a blessing to be able to work, yet also be with our children. My greatest challenge is finding a balance of operating the business while having children in tow. Even though our hours are shorter than a regular workday (to accommodate our children), I often feel like I worked double-time when putting in a shift with my three children at Our BackYard!