This jump start into the New Year comes hot on the heels of the brand’s significant growth in 2022, as the franchise commemorated one year as part of the youth enrichment, growth-focused platform Unleashed Brands. Showing no signs of slowing down, the company signed 31 new franchise agreements in 2022, topping the total number of agreements signed from 2019 to 2021.
The first deal The Little Gym announced in 2023 was a franchise agreement with longtime customers Jenny and Brandon Conard, who brought their daughters to The Little Gym across the world for years and are now set to open a gym in Maple Grove, Minnesota early next year.
After graduating college, Jenny received her degree in Adaptive Physical Education and went on to teach for over eight years. During this time, she and her husband Brandon had two daughters and juggled numerous moves due to Brandon’s career. However, no matter where they moved, The Little Gym remained a consistent place to take their kids for activity, socialization, and physical development for six straight years, starting at age three. Even a move overseas to Kuwait couldn’t stop them from visiting The Little Gym, since there was an international location near their home there.
Along with the Minnesota deal, the brand announced an additional franchise agreement in the Tampa area, which will bring three new locations over the next three years. Behind the deal are John and Dena Murphy, Tampa Bay locals who also own a successful Christian Brothers Automotive franchise in the area.
The Murphy’s currently run one of the top-performing Christian Brothers Automotive franchises in the United States. Since the Murphy’s acquisition and investment in the store’s employees and culture, annual revenue has increased by over 200% and ranks among the brand’s top 5 stores. Prior to investing in that business, John spent 25 years working for his family’s manufacturing company, where he managed a 350-employee operation. After the sale of that business in 2019, he and his wife turned to franchising, seeking a business opportunity that was a fit for their lifestyle.
The Murphys are targeting the Westchase area for their first The Little Gym location and have eyes on Odessa and Wesley Chapel for their second and third gyms.
To round out the already impressive growth in the New Year so far, The Little Gym inked a new franchise agreement with entrepreneurs Eric Alstrin and Nicole Stiles to bring two new gym locations to Katy West and Cedar Park, Texas within the next year. The entrepreneurial duo already owns and operates six locations throughout Houston and Austin, which will bring the pair to eight total gyms throughout Texas.
Based in Fort Worth, Alstrin initially met Unleashed Brands’ CEO and Founder Michael Browning Jr. in 2014 at a local church where both of their families attended. After learning more about Browning’s vision with Urban Air Adventure Park and franchising, Alstrin invested in the brand in 2016 and opened two Urban Air parks in Humble and Spring, Texas. Then he hired Nicole Stiles, who was 19 years-old at the time, as an assistant manager. Stiles was quickly promoted to general manager for both parks.
As Unleashed Brands began to further its portfolio with other innovative and profitable youth enrichment brands, Alstrin became interested in diversifying his franchise portfolio with The Little Gym, since he understood the value the brand brought to early child development, having seen the impact firsthand with his own daughters. He teamed up with Stiles to join him as part-owner and by February of 2022, the two opened The Little Gym of The Woodlands and acquired the Katy East gym two months later. Shortly after, they opened gyms in Copperfield, Fairland, and Round Rock.
Since becoming a part of the Unleashed Brands portfolio last year, The Little Gym is experiencing record-breaking systemwide revenue, average revenue per gym, and enrollment numbers across its U.S. locations.
With nearly 400 locations across 31 countries, The Little Gym teaches kids social and physical skills appropriate to each stage of childhood by creating opportunities to experience achievement and build self-confidence. At the core of the international franchise’s mission is becoming the foundation of a child’s development that will set them up for success. Through three-dimensional learning including physical activities, cognitive skills and social and emotional learning, the core teaching methods create opportunities for children to experience achievement and build self-confidence.
Content reposted from FranchisingMagazineUSA.com