How this Husband and Wife Franchise Team Became The Little Gym Owners

How this Husband and Wife Franchise Team Became The Little Gym Owners

Katie and Bill met at The Little Gym of Twinsburg. Katie was in high school and Bill was in college. Bill started working birthday parties in April 1999 and Katie began doing birthday parties in February 2000. They were friends for a little over a year before they started dating in May 2001. They then got engaged in 2003 and married in 2005. Randy and Bill even collaborated and developed a 4 min. song in true TLG style about Katie and Bills relationship that Bill surprised Katie with at their wedding!

Bill and Katie both went to college for education. Bill received his B.A. in Elementary Education. Katie received her B.A and M.A. in Early Childhood Education as well as received the Pre-Kindergarten Special Needs and Reading Endorsements. Their original plan was to be in the typical classroom setting. However, their love of teaching and love of sports made teaching at The Little Gym a no brainer! They both love the variety and the fact that they can teach a four-month-old and then an hour later teach a 12-year-old. There is also so much positive energy in the air versus the negative energy that can be seen in many schools nowadays!

Katie and Bill were at The Little Gym of Twinsburg until December 2008. During that time, Bill went from birthday instructor to lead instructor to program director to gym director. For Katie, it was always a part-time position as she was in High school, college and then grad school. She went from birthday instructor to part-time lead instructor to weekend manager. They always dreamt about opening their own The Little Gym but never thought it would become a reality!

In 2009, their dream came true and they opened up their first The Little Gym, The Little Gym of Brecksville Sagamore. They were able to do so with the help of their partner, Mike Bakonyi. Having already spent 9 to 10 years with the program, they knew they would be successful!

Shortly after, in 2010 they started a family and had their first daughter Anjali. They want on to have three more children in 2012 (Jazlyn) 2014 (Kailiana) and 2016 (Kaivanni). TLG quickly became the kids home! They spent more time at the gym than they did at their house. They also became the mascot as all the families got excited to see the kids there when they walked in. It’s like a constant playdate for the kids. At 3,5,7 and 9 they all still take many weekly classes.

Becoming multiple gym owners was always a dream of Bill & Katie’s as well. However, the thought of splitting up and not being at the gym together as a family made the decision tough. However, in 2014 they were approached by a local owner who was getting ready to retire. He asked if they wanted to take over the very successful The Little Gym of Westgate, Now Rocky River. In less than two weeks they were the newest owners of The Little Gym of Westgate. Having a very successful team at Westgate meant Katie and bill did not need to be at the gym on a daily basis and could continue to run The Little Gym of Brecksville Sagamore.

In 2015 they had a similar story. The owner of The Little Gym of Twinsburg was ready to retire and asked if Katie and Bill would want to take over The Little Gym of Twinsburg. Without hesitation, they took the opportunity and it became full circle for Katie and Bill. They now own the gym where they met 15 years ago. The Little Gym of Twinsburg also had a very successful team with great directors so once again they were able to continue to put their main focus of Brecksville with overseeing Twinsburg like they did Westgate.

Some people think they are crazy for having 4 active children and 3 gyms, but having a successful team in place at each location has been a game changer for Katie and Bill.

As they’ve become multiple gym owners and have had more children of their own, they have had to rely on their amazing directors and team members to keep the gym going since they cannot be at all three gyms 100% of the time. They both spend the majority of their work hours at the Brecksville Sagamore gym, each spend one half day a week at the Twinsburg gym and do not currently teach at the Rocky River gym. However, a weekly meeting with the directors keeps them in the loop and allows them to oversee what is happening at the gym. The gyms would not be successful without the amazing teams that they have at each gym!

They still have the same love for TLG as they did 20 years ago! Bill continues to work 70 hours in the gyms. Katie, however, is now in the gym around 30 hours a week but does a lot of work at home and at her daughters’ all-cheer practices. Being their own bosses (and having the amazing teams that they have) has allowed Katie to develop a schedule where she can still teach many classes but also be able to take the kids to their sporting events and travel with them as needed! Thankfully they have great family members who help out a few days a week as well!

Katie and Bill make a great team at the gym! They both teach all levels of gymnastics classes. Katie is the lead dance instructor while Bill is the lead sports instructor. He even wrote all of the sports curriculum for all TLGs worldwide! Bill handles all of the training at Brecksville/Sagamore while Katie handles all of the marketing for the gyms. They do a great job of dividing the daily tasks according to their strengths!

Although not always easy, being a TLG owner is a dream come true for Katie and Bill! They have no regrets and are looking forward to many more memories in the years to come!