Toon Town Pickleball brings unique vibe to downtown Jax

Indoor facility brings sport to whole new level


Pickleball continues to be a growing craze in America and now it has hit downtown Jacksonville and in a big way with the opening of Toon Town Pickleball.

Toon Town has become the largest indoor pickleball facility in Jacksonville as it has six courts and is about 20,000 square feet in size.

However, not only does the facility stick out because of its pure size, but what makes it impossible to miss is the fact that the walls of its exterior and interior are brightly colored and consist of cartoon artwork, hence the name Toon Town.

Co-owner Chance Gerisch bought the warehouse about seven years ago with the purpose of using it to house food trucks, which is also when the idea for the outside of the building was discovered.

“I was in the food truck business at the time, and we were at a food truck rally, and I saw some kids doing graffiti art on canvases,” Gerisch said. “I told them, ‘why don’t they come down,’ and they just had at it.”

The idea for the business model is unique in many ways but it is an aspect that Gerisch and fellow owner Richard Parkes believe the people of northeast Florida will gravitate too, while also bringing even more attention and interest into the happenings in the downtown Jacksonville footprint.

“We were ‘Toon Town’ before we were even Toon Town Pickleball, so it really was one of those cases where the name found us,” Parkes said. “From a business standpoint, we just knew it couldn’t be named anything else.”

After Gerisch got out of the food truck business he still had the building and was wondering what he could do to utilize the space.

“This guy (Parkes) came walking in one day, and I had never met him before in my life, and said ‘we need pickleball in here,’” Gerisch said. “I had never even heard of pickleball at the time.”

Three years later, the idea presented by Parkes became a reality as Toon Town Pickleball held a grand opening on June 8.

One of the things they wanted to come across as soon as people walk through the doors of Toon Town is the social atmosphere that they have strived to create.

“It’s a very social game and we like to embrace that,” Parkes said. “We play what we call open play where the ‘next up’ plays, so one game you might be playing with someone and then the next game you might be playing against them. It creates a very social and competitive dynamic.”

According to Parkes, it was important for the courts to have the same surfaces as outdoor courts even though they are indoors.

“There are only seven indoor pickleball courts with outdoor surfaces in Jacksonville and we have six of them,” Parkes said.

Other features include each court being equipped with cameras and technology that allows players to record their play and there are 85-inch televisions that can show the play going on.

“It’s great for capturing and playing back those wild shots that take place on the court that would otherwise be forgotten,” Parkes said.

There are seating areas between each court where players can wait while the ongoing games wrap up or for friends and family members who want to support their loved ones playing.

Giant fans hang from the ceiling throughout the facility to help the air flow circulate throughout and keep playing conditions cool, and there is a vending machine designed for pickleball where players can select their paddles and balls.

Toon Town offers beginners clinics and has leagues for players of all skill levels, proving that anyone is welcome to pick up a paddle and play and every type of player can call the facility their own.

Being located downtown and pretty much across from the stadium near the exit ramp of the Hart Bridge, they are looking forward to football season and the amount of foot traffic and interactive things they can do on Jaguars’ gamedays.

“We’re even planning on doing away game gatherings, so it can be a great mix of football and pickleball,” Parkes said.

Toon Town is a member-based facility, but walk-ins are welcome. Upcoming clinics and leagues can be found by going to for more information.