Today we’d like to introduce you to Leslee Martin.
Hi Leslee, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I had another career while my kids were students at The Little Gym. At that time, the business was not doing well and the owner put it up for sale. Our kids loved The Little Gym, and although we knew we were purchasing a struggling business we decided to take the risk. We took over The Little Gym in January 2017. It has been a struggle for 3 years to build the business back up. We gave many free classes and talk a lot with families about the benefits of our programs. By January 2020, we finally started taking off and finally starting to no longer lose money on this endeavor we put so much work and passion into. Then, just two months after we started seeing a small return on all the effort, we had put in for three years, we had to close down for COVID. It was a very difficult time. Customers wanted refunds from the closure and we were uncertain about what the future held. We did a small reopening in May with meager growth. It was like starting all over again. Through persistent work and following the CDC guidelines, we started building up again! By summer 2021, we felt like everything was going to be ok until we took another blow by the Delta variant. In this rollercoaster ride of running a small business, the Delta variant sent us to another plummet that we are now currently trying to overcome. We do amazing work with kids, however, because our work is set indoors, this time is incredibly difficult as families are being hesitant to do indoor activities with their kids. We’ve had several parents cancel their classes because their pediatrician told them to avoid indoor activities like the ones we provide. I remain optimistic about the future, even though the present is incredibly difficult. I am passionate about the work I do with kids and parents do love our programs. I believe if we can weather this last storm, we can get back to helping kids find the best versions of themselves and keep the bills paid to do it.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No, see my previous story. We had an uphill climb to success, only to be slapped down twice by COVID,
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Starting as early as 4 months, programs at The Little Gym are designed to help kids feel ready for whatever comes their way. Kids who are ready to crawl… ready to run… ready to leap… ready to play… ready to learn… and ready to grow. We use a concept called 3-dimensional learning that gets kids moving, boosts their brains, and promotes positive social behavior. Our programs boost early childhood development. We work to create resilient kids who are ready for whatever they encounter while developing gymnastics skills. We are all very proud of the work we do at The Little Gym!
Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
At The Little Gym, we encourage kids to take risks and try new things. I think it’s important to push ourselves a little bit out of our comfort zone. I took a big risk by leaving a well-paying stable job to try and save a business I felt passionate about and it was not easy. Sometimes it is really hard and I think about how nice it was to have that well-paying stable job. There is nothing worse than working your hardest and still losing money because your business is struggling. However, even on my worst days, I remind myself that if I was still at my old job I would be wondering “what if”. I truly believe that once we overcome the obstacle COVID has thrown at us, running a successful business doing work I love is one of the greatest rewards I can imagine. This kind of reward could have never been obtained without taking the risk.
- Classes – $17-$25
- Private Lessons – $25
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.thelittlegym.com/SouthCountyMO/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tlgsoco/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TLGSouthCountyMO
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/tlgsoco