RIPLEY - As a class full of toddlers rumble and tumble their way from station to station in Gymfinity’s “Mommy and Me” program, one thing is abundantly clear – the staff are passionate about each and every student and make a special effort to give one-on-one instruction to their students.
“We are a family driven business. We strive to maintain that atmosphere,” says Kristin Kennedy-Reed, owner of Gymfinity in Ripley.
Kennedy-Reed’s road into the business was a natural one. At age seven, she began her gymnastics journey under the instruction of Ronda Studivon at the Flip Flop Shop, which has since closed its doors after several years of success in the area. At fifteen, the young athlete suffered a major injury that caused her to have to walk away from her passion. She channeled that into a position as an instructor. After spending time at West Virginia University with eventual plans of studying law and/or education, the young entrepreneur decided to pursue her dream.
“My Mother (Jane) encouraged me to go for it. We purchased the equipment from the Flip Flop Shop as well as other items we needed and developed a business plan,” said Kennedy-Reed.
A spot was secured on Main Street in Ripley and an open house was scheduled for August of 2011.
“It was at that point that I knew we were onto something special.” She continued, “I was overwhelmed at the response and the feedback from the community. It was amazing.”
It was obvious that help was needed to bring the idea to complete fruition. The obvious place to start was her sister Kati Skeen, whose experience and dedication to gymnastics would be a tremendous boost for the core of the business.
“My Mom jumped in there and really helped organize things. She is the backbone of what we are doing. She does everything but coach. She is pretty amazing,” said Kennedy-Reed.
As the business approaches its two-year anniversary, it has over 200 students on the schedule, which is a testament to the dedication of the staff and the support of the community.
One parent, who wished not to be identified for this story had a unique, personal perspective and experience with the local business.
“My daughter was recently diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which is a mild form of Autism. Gymnastics have really helped our daughter focus and develop in a short amount of time. When I told Kati about her diagnosis, she didn’t blink an eye and was very encouraging to me as a parent and it meant the world to me,” she said.
“I highly recommend these ladies. I was on the waiting list for about 60 days but it is absolutely worth it.”
Page 2 of 2 - Gymfinity doesn’t just cater to toddlers and beginners. They also coach intermediate and advanced students as well.
The full time staff includes Kennedy Reed, Skeen, Megan Randolph, Dusti Fisher and Nicci Cobb. Part time contributors are Cyerra Kersey, Erica Gibson, Emily Morgan and jade Donohew.
Skeen is looking to develop a competetive All Star Cheerleading program in the very near future. The target age demographic has shifted to pre middle-school girls due to WVSSAC rules preventing middle schoolers from participating in All Star programs outside of the school system without a penalty.
Last month, a new facility was opened and the business moved into its new home at 231 Straight Street. The spacious, cavernous gym is quite majestic once inside. There is a designated waiting area for parents and the atmosphere is comfortable and friendly. Parking is available at both ends of the facility with easy access.
The professional equipment on hand is nothing short of impressive and there is plenty of space for it to be utilized to its maximum potential.
Pricing for Gymfinity is very reasonable. A little comparison-shopping in Parkersburg and Charleston will show you quickly what your hometown dollar will get you, just down the street.
“A family friend named Bobbie Ferrell encouraged us to take this larger space that she had available and it has worked out wonderfully. It is a work in progress but we are getting closer to our goals for the facility every day,” added Kennedy-Reed.
“We are very excited to be growing and serving our community.”
If the large steps taken by Gymfinity in a short time are any indication of its future, bigger things are surly around the corner.
To get your child on the waiting list at Gymfinity or to inquire about the all Star Cheerleading team and/or pricing, call 304-514-2118.