Thursday, November 8, 2012

Can it be true? A Gym Tale's 7 year Anniversary!

I cannot believe that this past week was A Gym Tale's 7 year anniversary! It feels like so long ago Alan and I began our journey - our little small business in the green roofed building on Larkin Dr and Greenbank Rd. Then again it feels like it was just yesterday that we decided to begin our Nursery School program - I have been running into some of our 'original' families who began with us 7 years ago and the children are now 12 years old! That is crazy!

A Gym Tale originated from Alan's Entrepreneurship final project in University. I did not get into my Master's program of choice and decided to take a year off to help Alan open up his business. Little did I know that we would go on to create a dream career for myself and a life style that we would not trade for anything. It really has been wonderful being able to use our creativity to fill a niche within the very community that we grew up in.

In the above picture - taken from my scrapbook, Alan and I are sitting at our giant desk on the very first day that we opened - we were only 23 and look like kids!

Anyone remember our original logo with the little caped boy and all of the t-shirts with capes that my aunts and I made?
It still shocks me at how much our vision of what A Gym Tale would be has changed and grown over the years. We began with a vision of 'gymboree' type classes which encouraged children to develop their imaginations while at the same time promoting an active lifestyle. These classes have drastically changed in format - a big thank you to all of the families who gave us a chance as well as feedback to help us develop the program that we have today. We very quickly realized that filling 40 hours a week with Gym & Music classes was not realistic - and so the idea of beginning a Nursery School program came about. This really gave me an opportunity to use my skills and challenge my imagination to create a program that fosters the natural development of young children through play based learning. Once again this program has changed and grown over the past 6 years to become one of my projects that I am most proud of. It also provides the opportunity to really get to know so many children and their families within Barrhaven. Birthday parties have also changed drastically over the years. It absolutely shocked Alan and I that within two months we were consistently hosting 8 birthday parties a weekend every weekend. I will not get into how we used to offer personalized invitations and change the colour of streamers after every party to coordinate with the theme. Have I also mentioned that we more or less lived at A Gym Tale and did not sleep for the first 2 years?!

After two years in the green roofed building, we came to the realization that what we were getting out of A Gym Tale simply was not worth working 7 days a week, night and day, and all holidays (except Christmas day). We had to make a very difficult decision - either close A Gym Tale and walk away knowing that we tried our best or to take a leap of faith and create something bigger. We have always liked the saying 'go big or go home', and so Alan fulfilled his life long dream and we bought a pirate ship and a castle! Our move to the new location (our present location) was both the most stressful time in our lives as well as the most exciting time. This was a huge undertaking and we were so very fortunate that the client base that we had gained supported us and we were able to attract so many new families to give us a chance to become a part of their children's lives.

During the past five years in the new location we have continued to grow and change in order to try and meet the needs of our community and to challenge ourselves to create higher quality programming and active entertainment for children. We now also offer Kid's Night Out, Before & After School care, Camps, New Year's eve Sleepovers (we did anyway) and group visits.

It is also incredible the number of staff that have helped to shape A Gym Tale along our journey. In our first location we had 4 staff members at a time and now we have 14. Each and every individual who has worked with us has brought with them ideas that have helped to shape what we have become.

We are so very grateful to everyone who has helped A Gym Tale become what it is today and to all the families that have invited us to become a part of their lives. We love what we do and we will continue to strive to provide the best quality programming and children's entertainment.


  1. Happy anniversary! So glad you decided to "go big or go home" and keep building!

  2. Congratulations you guys! I'm so thankful that I can send my daughter Alexis to a fun, caring and affordable place like A Gym Tale. Sending her there for before school care has been the easiest and best decision. The staff are all awesome!

  3. Congrats from International Play Company. Wow, seven years. That is fantastic.