It’s likely in the past two years since The Hub has opened, that you have experienced at least one of the activities we have to offer. Whether it’s the thrill of our trampoline park, the care from our childcare services, the guidance and coaching to our cheer athletes, or the support from our many charitable activities – it is clear The Hub Family Entertainment Center (Omaha/Council Bluffs) has become an essential part of our community.
This great facility would not be here if it weren’t for the devotion and creativity of owner Brooke Hubbard, and her supportive family. This blog post is dedicated to getting to know the family behind The Hub.
Meet Brooke Hubbard:
Brooke was born and raised in Council Bluffs, and graduated from Lewis Central in 2000. Brooke had sold real estate and worked as a realtor at Key Real Estate while finishing her pre-law degree at Bellevue University. She had always thought she would be an attorney, but after having kids she knew she needed something with more flexibility, so she could be home while raising kids.
She eventually worked for Edwards Auto Group as their public relations and community events coordinator. This is when she found her love for being involved in the community and finding a strong voice. Brooke plays an active role in the community, serving on the executive board of the Chamber and will be taking on the role of Chamber Board President at the end of 2020.
When asked what motivated Brooke to start and run her business adventures, her reply was simple – “My Dad and Mom often talked about their business, struggles and successes at the dinner table. My Dad was in the middle of building his business while my Mom was focused on raising 5 kids. We were taught that you show up to work on time, work hard and you don’t stop until the work is done. My Dad instilled in me that most of what you have to stand on is your name. The way you treat others and hold yourself will speak for itself. If you are honest and hard-working, others will see this and follow your lead and to this day… I live by this. If you know me, you know that I will always speak the truth even if I shouldn’t. Being 100% transparent, and setting goals and expectations for my managers/employees is something I learned from my Dad. I push people to do better and be better, because I care about them and I want them to be the best version of themselves. I want to empower my managers to be leaders and find their own voices and be great bosses.”
Meet the family:
Brooke met her husband Jeff while attending college in Utah. Jeff was a Utah native, but the couple decided Council Bluffs was where they wanted to raise their family, so they moved back to CB in 2007. The Hubbard’s have four kids – three biological boys and one adopted daughter. Their oldest, Ace will be a sophomore at LC High School, Izzy and Max will be in 7th grade at LC Middle School, and their youngest and rowdiest child (as Brooke pointed out) is Hank, who will attend Titan Hill Intermediate School this fall.
The question Brooke gets asked the most is how they were able to adopt Izzy. Long story short – Brooke and Jeff discussed the topic of adoption even while dating, and they knew at some point they would adopt. When their son Max was about 6 months old, Erin (a friend of Brooke’s) was working for the state of Florida and interning at an agency that handled foster children. Erin knew Brooke had long talked about adopting a little girl someday, so she reached out to Brooke about baby Izzy. After 6 long months of applications through Iowa and Florida, they were able to bring Izzy home! Even though Izzy and Max are just 3 month apart in age, Izzy was far behind developmentally. Izzy was a little over a year old when they brought her home, and was so tiny at just 14 pounds – she was still wearing 4-6 months clothes. Izzy’s medical “rapsheet” is extremely long and she has overcome so many hurdles.
“I would say that having Izzy as a daughter has brought our family a deeper sense of compassion for children who struggle. I understand that she looks like all other kids but she has a huge amount of struggles that others will never know about.” Says Brooke.
The Hubbards own two other local businesses – Ace Realty that buys, sells and manages their rental properties, and Mad Max Carpet Cleaning which offers residential and commercial carpet cleaning. Just recently in 2020 Brooke opened an online boutique with two of her best friends, Andrea White and Cathy Mardesen called Busy Mamma’s Boutique, which offers comfortable and affordable clothing options for all the other busy mammas out there!
When the Hubbard’s aren’t at The Hub, they are enjoying the outdoors! They love boating, bike rides, dirt bikes, night swims and some pretty competitive games of ping-pong.
How The Hub started:
Brooke knew CB was lacking a facility that brought local kids, families, schools and churches together. There were never a lot of options for birthday parties or family and community events. As a mother to four young kids, she was tired of driving out to west Omaha for birthday parties. She knew CB could support a business that offered family friendly activities – and this is when her vision of The Hub came into play. When the option of purchasing the old YMCA came about, she couldn’t pass up an opportunity to give back to families and open a facility for the kids in our community.
A family affair:
When asked what sacrifices Brooke and her family has had to make for The Hub, her response was “LOL, sacrifices… where do I start?! With The Hub being a LARGE building, you can’t imagine the maintenance and expense it costs to keep the building looking in top shape. With my husband being so handy and literally able to fix everything, he gets used and abused more than he would like. He keeps trying to get fired but I just won’t do it!”
The whole Hubbard clan spends their weekends at The Hub. They are all well versed on sanitizing, taking out the garbage, deep cleaning bathrooms, unclogging drains and their least favorite chore is vacuuming! When asked why they all hate to vacuum, they answered “Because it never ENDS!”
Oftentimes, Brooke uses her kids as a “sounding board” for new event ideas. They are even involved when giving events specific names. She knew at the end of 2019 that we needed to ramp up the “coolness” of the trampoline park. So she bounced ideas off her kids, and decided to invest in UV glow lights, disco balls, fog machines and laser lights, in order to introduce a trampoline “club party” for weekend nights! Not only did the trampoline park get cranked up… but so did the cheer gym. Brooke installed an inflatable soccer field and knockerballs and the kids loved this! They didn’t play too much soccer but they loved ramming into each other! The weekend glow parties have been a hit!
What do the Hubbard kids love most about The Hub?
Brooke’s response – “This is easy… the ice cream! I swear that most of my dentist bill comes from the ice cream, candy and slushies!”
Brooke’s also mentioned just how rewarding opening up the cheer facility has been to her daughter Izzy. Izzy had never been a “sporty” girl, and had tried every sport that was available in CB. Cheerleading had not even been an option, unless you travelled to Omaha. In the two short years Izzy has been at Central Athletics Cheer & Tumbling (part of The Hub’s family of businesses), Izzy has found something that she not only enjoys… but it has given her confidence! She is working on mastering her “roundoff-back hand spring- tuck” and she can do a standing back flip! Brooke is so happy she was able to help bring this cheer facility to CB. “I completely underestimated what cheer and tumbling can do for our youth!”
A Rewarding Experience
There are many long days and nights that are spent making The Hub into a great family entertainment facility. Brooke has found this a rewarding experience. “The amount of hugs I get from our Jumping Monkeys childcare kids makes up for all the sleepless nights. I get constant “thank you’s” from grandparents and parents who are thankful they have a safe place to drop off their kids for a few hours to blow off steam in the trampoline park. Central Athletics parents pour in from CB and Omaha areas… again, thanking us for offering fun and upbeat practices and engaging staff. All of the smiles, hugs and thank you’s is what makes sacrificing and owning The Hub enjoyable!” says Brooke.