Our Story

History

Changing Lives

Founded in the mid-1970s by innovative educator, musician and kinesiologist Robin Wes, The Little Gym® is now the leading children’s enrichment company and offers a unique business franchise opportunity. Robin’s idea was simple - to create a non-competitive, nurturing environment where children could explore their physical development, while also growing socially, emotionally and intellectually. Today, his original vision serves as a springboard for life’s adventures and a fun franchise opportunity.
Global Growth

The Little Gym® Growth Chart

1976

The Little Gym® concept is born as Robin Wes opens his first gym

1992

The Little Gym International, Inc begins franchising

2003

Over 100 locations in 31 US states

2008

Over 300 locations in 25 countries (36 US states)

2015

Expansion reaches all six (livable!) continents

Growing by Leaps & Bounds

After decades of research and hands-on experience, The Little Gym International, Inc. has more than 300 fun franchises worldwide.

Growing Skills Worldwide

Bring Serious Fun to the children in your community!

Join the Family
Awards

Awards

Year after year, The Little Gym International, Inc. has been recognized both domestically and internationally as a franchise leader in our industry. While we’re proud of every award that we’ve received, here are a few that make us exceptionally proud:

Top 500 Franchises

2017 & 2016 Entrepreneur Magazine

Top 50 Franchise Satisfaction Award

2017 Franchise Business Review

Best Fitness Franchise

2017 & 2016 FranchiseRankings.com

Top 200 Franchises

2017 Franchise Business Review

Top Personal Service Franchise

2016 Entrepreneur Magazine

Franchising's Fastest-Growing Global Brands

2016 Entrepreneur Magazine

Best Global Children’s Centre

2015 Wealth & Finance International

Top 50 Military Franchises for Vets

2014 USA Today

Brand Appeal

Brand Appeal

We are passionate about celebrating childhood and are proud to work with renowned partners and brands that share our core values and beliefs.

logo-lego

The Little Gym® is an exclusive childhood development center home to LEGO-based activities with special LEGO® DUPLO® and LEGO® Juniors® building bock curriculum that’s built into a number of programs. Look for LEGO® experiences in “Let’s Build, Let’s Play” Parent/Child events, Wonderkids Club, Awesome Birthday Bash parties, Camps and Parents’ Survival Nights!

partner-lego
nickelodeon-characters

Are you ready for a party? The Little Gym International, Inc. partners with Nickelodeon to create exclusive character-themed Awesome Birthday Bashes featuring the animated characters from popular properties like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!

TLGI Team

Meet the Team

Pre-Opening & Resale Business ConsultantAmanda Scopo

Amanda works with new franchise owners from the pre-opening process through the first 6 months of operations, helping them to create a customized plan to succeed in their new business venture. A Florida native, Amanda grew up loving theater, playing music, and competing in both gymnastics and figure skating.

Manager, Real Estate & FacilitiesColleen Biggs

Colleen has been with The Little Gym International for 14 years. As real estate manager, she oversees the preopening process for franchisees including everything from facility location to brand standards. Colleen is a New Jersey native and a serious Taekwondo all-star who’s about to get her black belt!

Online Marketing SpecialistJessica Fasanelli

Jessica is passionate about Social Media and Online Marketing and loves providing franchise owners and team members with tools and support to help them feel confident in marketing their The Little Gym locations. A Boston native, Jessica loves cheering on her favorite hometown sports teams and hiking with her dog, Taco.

Director of Financial ServicesMark Pickerel

For over a decade, Mark has provided individual training, support and financial models to help each The Little Gym franchise owner succeed within their small business. Mark has been a Big Brother for almost 20 years and is excited to watch his Little Brother graduate college and get married later this year!

Training SpecialistJen Rice

Jen empowers team members to teach the best classes and deliver exceptional customer service as a Training Specialist at TLGI. As a child, Jen was always outside on her bike or pretending to be Nancy Drew. As an adult, she still loves anything that allows her to be outside and active, including running marathons. In her 4th full marathon, Jen placed 3rd in her age group!

Franchise Service CoordinatorShannon Wilde

Shannon’s journey with The Little Gym International began in 2008. Each day, Shannon strives to provide the tools and support each The Little Gym franchisee needs to hit the ground running. Originally from Salt Lake City, Shannon and her mother traveled across the United States competing as a mother/daughter team in the national bowling championship.

Director of Franchise DevelopmentLeo Smart

As TLGI’s Director of Franchise Development, you can often catch Leo on the phone chatting with potential The Little Gym franchise owners. Leo loves learning about each individual and meeting face to face during Discovery Day. A Salt Lake City native, Leo once managed multiple radio stations booking rock and country artists from all around the United States.

Business ConsultantClarey Dees

Clarey began working with The Little Gym in Washington before joining The Little Gym International team in 2013. As a girl in Essex, England, Clarey had a passion for dance that has continued to this day (hence the photo!) When she’s not helping owners grow their businesses, you can find her with her two girls and husband enjoying the Arizona sunshine!

Consultant ManagerSamantha Ward

Sam began her career with The Little Gym at The Little Gym of Narberth in PA, and has been at TLGI since 2013. She works with the Business and Field Consultants, Marketing, Finance, IT and Curriculum Departments to ensure that each The Little Gym location has the tools and support they need to thrive. Sam has a love for dance (a dancer from childhood through college) but also loves hiking, traveling to visit friends and family back home, and sitting poolside enjoying the AZ weather.

Founder & Director of MusicRobin Wes

An innovative educator, musician and kinesiologist, Robin envisioned a place where children could explore their physical development, while also growing socially, emotionally and intellectually. He opened the first The Little Gym in 1976 in Bellevue, Washington and infused those early classes with the same positive, non-competitive spirit that characterizes The Little Gym today. Today, Robin Wes is still instrumental to the team, doing what he loves most - composing music for The Little Gym.

Training SpecialistTaryn Streich

Taryn began her The Little Gym career in 2005 as a Gym Director in PA. As a Training Specialist, she now inspires owners and team members to teach the very best classes by creating a “love for learning” culture. In her free-time, you can catch Taryn hanging out with her dog, Chooch, and entertaining her friends with her very own stand-up comedy act.

Director of Information TechnologyPatrick Knodle

Patrick has been part of The Little Gym family since 2006 and loves anything technology. He is responsible for providing technical direction for the company, overseeing software development, and managing PCI compliance. Patrick enjoys long walks on the beach with his wife, spending time with his son, and dancing like no one’s watching to his musical idol, Taylor Swift.

President & CEORuk Adams

As CEO, Ruk creates the vision for TLGI’s future and fosters the culture to get there. A former gym owner himself in Salt Lake City (where he taught Karate classes!), Ruk has been with TLGI since 2003. When he’s not at the office, he’s spending time with friends and family on the golf course, traveling, or enjoying a good glass of wine.

Senior Executive of Product LeadershipRandy McCoy

Randy began his career at the original The Little Gym in Washington in 1985. He’s now responsible for the design, development, production, and implementation of all curriculum materials. In this role he gets to combine two things that he’s incredibly passionate about: creativity in education and child development. When he’s not creating new programs and curriculum, he’s writing or performing music and spending time with his kids, grandkids, and wife Denise - his childhood sweetheart!

Licensing CoordinatorMari Miezwa

As the initial point of contact for prospective franchisees, Mari loves assisting each individual throughout their process of joining The Little Gym franchise family. In her free time, you can catch Mari playing golf, soccer and cheering on her favorite Minnesota teams.

Business ConsultantKate Corre

Kate began her career with The Little Gym as an instructor in Austin, TX. Kate now helps franchise owners achieve their goals through continuous, customized support. A Denver native, Kate previously worked at the Denver Zoo training sea lions!

SVP, CFOMike Gragg

Mike has been with The Little Gym International for over 16 years. In that time, Mike has been involved in a multitude of strategic initiatives including corporate finance, financial reporting, risk management, human resources, information systems and so much more. When Mike isn’t multi-tasking at the office, this Arizona native enjoys hiking, skiing and the great outdoors.

Brand & Corporate Design ManagerJessica Papa

Jessica oversees the development of materials to help franchise owners to market and visually communicate their businesses and leads The Little Gym’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. Jessica has always had a love for creativity, painting with whatever she could get her hands on as a child when she wasn’t tormenting her older brother. She still loves creative time and has turned her love of tormenting others into harassing her friends and family to be more environmentally conscious.

Director of TrainingJen Scopo

Jen leads the vision and implementation of training programs and materials for the global franchise network. A NY native, Jen loves enjoying the AZ sun with her wife and daughter and putting her Italian genes to work in the kitchen. Her favorite The Little Gym activity has to be Stick Dancing Partner, an energetic, imaginative square dance!

HR Manager / Contract AdministratorEbony Randle

Ebony has been with TLGI since 2003 and manages all aspects of the HR Department and the legal aspects of the franchise award process. When she’s not in the office, Ebony is spending time with her kids or expanding her knowledge of history; she’s a bit of an amateur Egyptologist! Growing up in Las Vegas, Ebony loved to draw and roller skate as often as possible!

SVP, COOAlex Bingham

Alex has been a part of The Little Gym his whole life... literally! He attended the first The Little Gym as a child in Washington where he developed a love of sports that has remained with him to this day. Alex has been a part of The Little Gym International since 2001, and currently oversees strategic direction for the service, marketing, training, and brand development departments. When not at the office, Alex can be found on the golf course or hanging out with his wife and three kids.

ReceptionistDeja Bock

Deja started working with TLGI in 2015. She’s the first point of contact handling all inquiries and providing administrative support for the company. As a child, you could catch Deja running or drawing in her hometown of Las Vegas. She still has a passion for art as well as playing volleyball and swimming.

Support Systems AnalystJohn Martin

John applied his love of sports to his position as Gym Director with two The Little Gym Locations in PA. He’s been working with TLGI for 10 years, where he maintains and improves the systems that allow others to spend their time driving the operations of their businesses. Fun and incredibly interesting fact: John delivered one of his own children at home when the baby decided to come a little earlier than expected!

Director of MarketingHeather Anderson

Heather leads consumer, franchise development and partnership marketing efforts to build awareness for The Little Gym brand. She played an instrumental role in the development of the “Serious Fun” branding campaign and is currently spearheading the company’s efforts to build authentic relationships with young moms. Originally from the East coast, Heather enjoys images of animals dressed as humans and spending time with her husband and new baby daughter.

Director Of International OperationsDave Ackerman

Dave began his The Little Gym career in the North Carolina region before joining The Little Gym International in 2003. Dave provides guidance and advice all international locations. Outside of the office, Dave gets to continue his love of sports by watching his own children excel in their given activities, athletic and academic alike.

Senior Software DeveloperJesse S.

Jesse has been working with TLGI for 8 years and loves the fact that it continuously provides new challenges. He designs the architecture and leads the technical implementation of TLGI’s custom software. When he’s not working, Jesse loves to play soccer and music and eat as much Mexican food as possible. If he could, he’d love to learn some of the awesome gymnastics, karate, or dance moves taught in The Little Gym!

Senior Executive of Franchise LeadershipMartha Moore

Martha helps franchise owners achieve the ultimate dream, running a successful The Little Gym location. A North Carolina native, Martha and her family own five TLG's locations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee!

Training Administrative CoordinatorCristina Pavich

Cristina can be found juggling projects spanning multiple departments including training, franchise development, marketing, and operations to name a few! When she’s not performing circus feats at the office, she’s at home with her family where she likes to cook and read.

Accounting AssistantKathleen Woznicki

Our resident bookkeeper, Kathleen has been with The Little Gym International since 1998, but was first introduced to The Little Gym when her twin granddaughters attended Robin Wes’s gym (they’re now college graduates!) When she’s not keeping our numbers in check, Kathleen likes to escape to her mountain cabin with her family and enjoy her dogs and her garden.

Business ConsultantLacey Woolfrey

Lacey has applied her ambition and love for adventure to help The Little Gym franchise owners plan and achieve their goals. An Arizona native, you can catch Lacey hitting the great outdoors on road trips with her family. Fun fact: Lacey was one of the runners to carry the torch in the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay!

AccountantTammy Gaskins

Tammy has applied her passion for numbers, timesheets and expense reports to head TLGI’s Accounting and Payroll Department. When Tammy isn’t hitting the books, you can catch her hanging out in the Arizona sun with her friends, family, and furry family members.

Director of CurriculumJacquelyn Oldham

Jacquelyn oversees curriculum development for the programs offered at all locations worldwide. She started her career with the company as a director for a multi-unit gym owner in Texas and eventually owned & operated her own The Little Gym location in Texas! Prior to her time with the company, Jacquelyn worked on Broadway in the theater scene with actors like Julie Andrews! Outside of TLGI, she loves hiking and taking adult dance classes.

Manager Of Brand Partnerships & ProgramsJoe Polychronis

Business ConsultantJulie Riley

Meet the Whole Team
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What our owners are saying

We both feel that making a positive difference in the lives of children is our greatest success.

Randy and Eleanor Garver,
The Little Gym® Franchise Owners

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