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The Little Gym Partners with Private Equity-Backed Operators in Franchise Deal to Acquire Seven Existing Gyms

The Little Gym International, part of youth enrichment platform Unleashed Brands, has closed a franchise deal this week with a private equity-backed group to purchase seven existing gyms throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, with the goal of further expansion through acquiring and building new gyms over the next several years.

The Little Gym is the world’s premier enrichment and physical development center for children ages four months through age 12 and is part of youth enrichment platform Unleashed Brands, which also includes Urban Air Adventure Park, Snapology, Class 101, Premier Martial Arts and XP League.

The investment is being led by Hidden River Strategic Capital, a private equity firm based in Philadelphia, PA, and Taurus Capital Partners, an operationally-focused investor led by Griffin Gordon and based in Chicago, IL. Alongside existing management, Gordon will play an active role in the business, with a focus on strategic growth and expansion. The transaction also represents Hidden River’s first investment from its inaugural fund.

“My passion for this opportunity is fueled by my personal experience as a customer, as I have directly seen how impactful The Little Gym is for families. Parents continue to invest in great programming for their kids, which creates immense opportunities in child enrichment generally and specifically for this enduring, blue-chip brand,” said Gordon. “Above all, partnering with Unleashed Brands and their strategic investment in marketing, curriculum, and technology is really appealing to me as a franchisee and investor.”

The Little Gym locations included in the acquisition are Cary, Greensboro, North Raleigh, Fayetteville and Wilmington in North Carolina, as well as Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and Farragut, Tennessee. The seven gyms have been owned and operated for decades by the Moore Family and Connie Tator, long-time franchisees, and Richard Moore will be continuing in a critical operational leadership capacity post-close.

“The Moore Family (Martha, Gerald, Richard and Karalyn Ley) and Connie have been instrumental leaders within our brand for years and we’re grateful for the teams they’ve built and the families they have each impacted inside their gyms,” said Nancy Bigley, Brand President of The Little Gym International. “We wish them well in their future endeavors and thank them for the impact they made on The Little Gym.”

“This deal signifies Unleashed Brands’ first institutional capital provider into the system and we’re excited to partner with Hidden River and Taurus to further expand The Little Gym footprint,” said Josh Wall, Chief Growth Officer of Unleashed Brands. “It’s exciting to see the investment world taking notice of the great economic and community impact an investment into The Little Gym franchise system provides.”

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.

For more information on franchising with The Little Gym, visit