NBIF 2006 Student Entrepreneurship Prizewinner Kara Hachey expands Go Go Gymnastics to new markets

NBIF 2006 Student Entrepreneurship Prizewinner Kara Hachey expands Go Go Gymnastics to new markets

By Erin Dwyer – Telegraph Journal | link to original article

A New Brunswick business is expanding into the Kennebecasis Valley and Saint John area, bringing with it a 5,000-pound mobile gymnasium for kids.

Go-Go Gymnastics Inc., based in Fredericton, is a mobile gymnasium company that takes an 80-foot-wide by 100-foot-wide gymnasium equipped with pint-sized gymnastics equipment to local communities.

It had such success with a pilot project last fall in the Saint John area teaching children the fundamentals of recreational gymnastics that founder Kara Hachey decided to open her third location here.

“We were borrowing Fredericton’s gym just to see if there was a market and there’s a huge market from what we learned,” she said.

With that success, Hachey chose to purchase her third mobile gymnasium, as well as a truck and trailer to haul it, just for the Saint John area. This dedicated mobile gymnasium means she can bring the same complement of programs she offers in Fredericton and Oromocto – like gymnastic classes, birthday parties and special event rentals – to the territory covering Grand Bay-Westfield to Sussex.

She unfolded it for the first time on April 9 at Fairvale Elementary School.

“The magical part of the company is that we’re mobile,” Hachey said. “We’re able to target numerous geographical areas with one vehicle. So people in Hampton don’t have to drive to KV, and people in KV don’t have to drive to Saint John. That’s so exciting for parents who are so busy in this day and age.”

Hachey’s award-winning business was hatched while completing her masters in business administration at the University of New Brunswick. In 2006, Hachey and a classmate pitched their business concept to the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation’s business plan competition and came away with the $20,000 student entrepreneur award.

“It was in 2006, right in the heart of when we woke up and figured out we need to get active.”

The idea became a reality that spring and was an immediate success, putting more than 2,500 Fredericton-area children through the gym doors in its first 24 months. Since then, the company has expanded into Oromocto and just recently into the Grand Bay-Westfield to Sussex area.

With the expansion here, Go-Go Gymnastics is now offering a spring program on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings at Fairvale Elementary School and on Sunday afternoons in Saint John at the Ecole Millidgeville North. It’s also booked a slew of one-week summer camps in Rothesay, Quispamsis, Saint John, Hampton, Grand Bay-Westfield and Sussex.

“We will continue to build on the expansion in the fall of 2010 when we will offer recreational classes in Hampton and Grand Bay as well as KV and Saint John,” she said.

The expansion has also meant the company has added 16 more employees to its 50-person workforce and is aiming to offer programs to 6,000 New Brunswick children by the end of the year.

Hachey, who plans to open another location in Moncton next year and eventually franchise the concept to other provinces, believes her home-grown company has been successful because its colourful gymnasiums and highly trained staff make fitness fun for children.

“Gymnastics equipment is a child’s dreamland,” she said. “What kid doesn’t want to spin, twist and turn? And there’s a lot of wow factors to our gym. We bring an inflatable jumpie castle and an inflatable trampoline. These are things they typically see at circuses and big fairs and they are getting them every week.”

For more information, visit www.gogogym.com or call (506) 455-5496.

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