MALTA — The Little Gym, opening at Ellsworth Commons on Sunday, Jan. 7, is a part of a franchise that provides kids with classes of all athletic varieties, giving children “unique programs that revolve around active play,” according to the official statement.
With over 350 Little Gyms in the world, Kathryn Pellett and her husband Jim decided to open one more, right here in Saratoga County after receiving an email from Little Gym International. Pellett was involved with The Little Gym long before she opened her own, though. As the mother of four boys, all between the ages of one and eleven, her second-born son Chase showed signs of being on the spectrum around three years old. With that information, Pellett decided to enroll Chase in The Little Gym in Colonie three years ago.
“He was given an introduction month at the gym and he loved the program, we loved the program, and it was a really good fit for our family. Chase was mostly non-verbal when he started at the gym and as a mom it was nerve-wracking to send him into that situation. They never acted like he was different from any other kid going there. He really flourished in that environment,” Pellett explained.
With an undergrad degree in finance and an MBA, Pellett was a good fit to open this business.
“The email came at a good time. Chase was settling down and it would be nice for me to have a career of my own at this point and with my families’ history at the gym and my background in business, it seemed to be a really great fit. It was an ‘a-ha!’ moment to open the gym,” she explained.
After she and her husband talked to their family, who were all on board, and wrote a business plan, they got their funding in place and went from there. After a 16-month process, The Little Gym has their open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 7 with classes beginning on Monday, Jan. 8. The gym will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with weekend afternoons reserved for pre-scheduled birthday parties.
“The birthday party calendar is filled right up. People in this area are always looking for party ideas for their kids,” Pellett explained.
The gym’s curriculum is approved by the United States Gymnastics Association (USGA); because of the non-competitive nature of the gym, the kids are still learning the sport in a nice and safe environment. The Little Gym follows a 3-dimensional learning method: moving is the first dimension and is based on the class itself, the second dimension is brain boost, which focuses on cognition of the child, and the third dimension is citizen kids, which is fostering great relationships and teaching them how to be “great little humans,” she explained.
These three dimensions are present in every class at every age group. Every class is non-competitive. Opening The Little Gym also required the Pellett’s to attend a lot of training.
“Over the summer we went to Arizona for two weeks, where The Little Gym International is based. I also interned for a week at The Little Gym in San Jose. There is a lot of training that goes into a franchise,” Pellett said.
Class instructors were chosen after extensive background checks, they also needed to participate in intense online training.
“We focused more on finding someone who works well with kids rather than a gymnast,” she said.
All instructors also need to be CPR certified.
“I’m excited about it, there aren’t a lot of businesses you can open, and your family can participate with you. Chase is very excited about it. They’re all excited. We’ve done a good job of explaining to them that this is our family’s gym now. We want them to be proud of the gym,” Pellett said enthusiastically.
The Little Gym follows the school season, which ends in June, and then a shorter summer session, and then the full season starts in September. There will also be summer camp programs and camps during break weeks (such as spring break) offered.
“We’ve really found that a lot of parents are really happy to see it coming to this area. A lot of positive feedback with a lot of people excited that it’s going to be in Malta. It’s a child-friendly business for this community. We’re really excited this is opening and excited to bring it to this area. We want everyone to benefit from The Little Gym,” Pellett stated.