When Melanie and Dan Roach were asked to move their gymnastics center from its downtown Sumner location a couple of years ago it was devastating, but now the move has turned into a blessing.
Roach Gymanstics is expanding its programs and returning to its roots with the addition of Gymnasticsland, a 10,000-square-foot expansion to their Sumner facility.
“When we opened it was all about having fun,” owner Melanie Roach said, but the competitive program has grown by leaps and bounds. Now 80 athletes strong and with a full-time coach, it was squeezing the recreational program.
The Roaches really wanted the best of both worlds.
Competitive coach Brad Loan was the inspiration, Melanie Roach said.
Like the children’s board game, Gymnasticsland is a brightly-colored area with a combination of low-level gymnastics equipment like on-ground balance beams and youth-appropriate uneven bars and play pieces like a foam pit, rock wall and zip line. It’s a place, Melanie Roach said, “where we can provide safe, quality gymnastics and have fun.”
“It allows us to separate the recreational and competitive programs,” Dan Roach said. “It’s tailored to younger gymnasts.”
“I think that’s the best part of this space, taking care of the kids and families in the recreational program,” Melanie said, noting 90 percent of students don’t enter the competitive program.
With an 8-to-1 student-teacher ratio, youngsters can learn body awareness, flexibility, balance and build a good base for more advanced gymnastics or other sports.
The additional space is also available to rent for birthday parties and youth sports team celebrations.
Roach Gymnastics is also home to Busy Bugs Preschool, a three-day-a-week, morning program for ages 3 to 5. The preschool is taught by former teacher Lora Wilcoxson, mother of five, who has a teaching degree and a special needs background.
Adult classes are available, too, and the Roaches have partnered with neighboring Thrush Sports Performance Center, which has a weightlifting center, and Sumner Chiropractic and Massage, to provide client services.
Each month, Roach Gymnastics and now Gymnasticsland is open for Parent Night Out, a $10 drop-off program with organized gymnastics time. The next one is slated for 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 21.
It’s hard for the Roaches to believe it all started 12 years ago in their garage.
“We really didn’t envision this,” Melanie said. “It’s kind of evolving.”