Rainbow Ryders, one of the biggest hot air balloon companies in the country, is celebrating its 40-year anniversary by opening a new facility in Glendale.
The presence in Glendale will provide never-before-seen views of the city’s scenery and will aim to become a staple for tourists and residents looking to get their eye in the sky.
“Coming out to Glendale, working with the community there, as well as Luke Air Force Base, we are very pleased with our welcome and we’re looking forward to it,” says Scott Appelman, founder and CEO of Rainbow Ryders. “We’re thrilled.”
In 1983 Appelman founded Rainbow Ryders, which was formerly located in North Phoenix.
“At the beginning, to be honest with you, it was the idea of being able to make a living out of what I love to do — flying balloons, entertaining people and being part of their memories,” Appelman says. “We’re blown away by our growth, and we didn’t realize this type of size was possible. But we have a great team at Rainbow Ryders with 100-plus folks working on a daily basis in different locations.
“Our whole appeal is really simple. We want that five-star experience. We want it to be the safest of any company out there. We have very high standards for balloon pilots. It’s just one of those things, it’s a privilege to be part of people’s memories, and we want to make sure that that’s a great memory.”
For Appelman, the move to Glendale’s fast-growing market is a big deal, but it wasn’t the thing that had him most excited.
“I don’t think in my career of business I’ve ever met a more welcoming and supportive government infrastructure for us being out there, once they heard.” he says. “I was just blown away by how welcoming they are and how excited they are to have another asset for the West Valley to be able to promote.
“The timing is really great with the new resort and the new hotels going in out there. I see a very, very strong possibility of some really good stuff from the tourism aspect, especially with the city and the community support that we’ve seen.”
Rainbow Ryders adds another level of entertainment in Glendale, joining Westgate Entertainment District, State Farm Stadium and the under-construction VAI Resort.
“This is probably one of those crowning jewels in my career,” Appelman says. “I am very pleased to think that, as I look at stepping further and further back from the business on a daily basis, I’m thrilled to have what we’re doing in Glendale. It’s really showing quite the evolution of Rainbow Ryders.”
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