From tiny tots to teens, one local businesses is creating a fun fitness environment for kids. Gym Skills offers gymnastics, tumbling and other fitness classes for children at their Gahanna-based facility, as well as many other venues across Columbus with their mobile gym.
What started as a mobile-only business has grown to a brick-and-mortar location and spread across the state. Kids and parents will find a non-competitive environment where young ones can learn gymnastics and fitness techniques from experienced instructors.
Gym Skill is focused on instilling their young members with healthy lifestyle habits that they can carry into the future. Healthy habits also means eating well, so the gym has a juice bar and health snacks for young tumblers to enjoy.
Program Director Lisa Wu recently told us more about Gym Skill’s offerings and their experience operating a non-traditional gymnastics facility.
[M] Tell us about the background of Gym Skills and how the company was started.
Gym Skills first began as a mobile gymnastics program in 2005. As a new business, it was difficult to open a gym location right from the beginning. Gym Skills traveled around the Columbus area teaching basic gymnastics and tumbling to schools, daycares, and churches. The program began to grow throughout the years, and in 2008 our first gym location opened in Gahanna through a partnership with a local cheerleading coach and friend. We opened our larger, new facility in June 2013 and launched in Cincinnati January 2014. The business was started with the mindset of growing to a national level.
[M] Tell us about the different services and classes Gym Skills offers.
We offer gymnastics, tumbling, and other children’s fitness activities through two types of mediums: our mobile gym and main gym location. We currently have two mobile gyms, one in Columbus and Cincinnati. Our program offers a variety of classes for children from 18 months to 18 years. We have recently expanded our class offerings from more than just gymnastics and tumbling. We now offer hip-hop dance, aerial arts, and fitness classes and are continuing to grow so we can provide more options. We also offer birthday parties, winter and summer camps, sports clinics, open gyms, and parent’s night out events.
We want to emphasize that incorporating a healthy diet is also key contributor to overall health, so we have a pro shop and juice bar in the gym. We offer healthy snack and drink options for children to enjoy before or after class!
[M] Why do you think it is so important for kids to be up and active starting at a young age?
Being healthy and active is a lifestyle and doesn’t always come naturally to everybody. It takes self-discipline and commitment. Beginning this healthy lifestyle at a young age will create good habits for the future. This is why our classes begin when children start walking.
[M] What has the local reception of Gym Skills been like?
The local reception of our company has been amazing! We’ve never had to do any major marketing or advertising. “Word of mouth” has been our biggest advertisement. Our members and families just keep spreading the word!
[M] What challenges and opportunities have you found operating a business in Columbus?
As with any small business beginning their journey, the path to establishing a solid and trustworthy company was difficult. Our program was different from the typical gymnastics program, so people did not know what to expect. Customers had never heard of a non-competitive gymnastics gym.
It was also quickly learned that it is not what you know but who you know. Some of the relationships we built early on helped grow our company to what it is now.
[M] Anything else you would like to add?
We are proud of how our program has grown over the years, and the enjoyment the parents and children receive from it. We are constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve, so our new website will be launching this month, along with our children’s activity book, and new designs from our t-shirt line. We wish to continue growing and stay true to our mission of helping children get active and being healthy!
For more information, visit gymskills.com.