Intown Stars Gymnastics plans move and massive expansionIntown Stars Gymnastics and Parkour now has 75 employees and serves 1,700 kids every week from its 18,000 square foot location at 2935 N Decatur Road.
Greater Decatur, GA — What began in 2013 as a small class held in a Sunday schoolroom at a Grant Park church has grown by leaps and bounds.
Intown Stars Gymnastics and Parkour now has 75 employees and serves 1,700 kids every week from its 18,000 square foot location at 2935 N Decatur Road. Now it’s time to move on to something bigger. Way bigger.
CEO and founder Anna Santiago told Decaturish that the gym is moving to 421 DeKalb Industrial Way, taking over a space occupied by a storage unit rental company and a company that made plastic footballs. When the move is finished, anticipated to occur in April 2022, the company will be renamed as Intown Stars Athletics Center, a 70,000 square foot facility that will be more than a place for gymnastics, though that will still be its main focus.
That program will double in size and the parkour program will triple in size, Santiago said. There will be a turf field, 10 batting cages, and a volley ball court that can be used for tennis, football and basketball.
But that’s not all.
“We’re going to have a coffee shop,” Santiago said. “We’ll have a luxury parent observation deck that spans the whole length of the building, so parents can see any sport happening at any point. We will have also spaces to sublease out to various businesses that are in line with our mission to serve the children of the community. We’re looking for other sports organizations. We have 7,500 square feet we’re leasing out. We’re looking for tenants like a children’s hair salon, or massage therapy. Any kind of services that serve children and families, we want them to be one of our tenants. So it’s like a one-stop shop for kids sports and activities.”
The space will have a parking lot that’s easier to get into and out of, she noted. The current parking situation at Intown Stars Gymnastics involves making an unnerving left or right turn onto North Decatur Road with no traffic light to stop the oncoming traffic.
That regular dice roll for parents visiting Intown Stars Gymnastics is one of the big reasons for the move, Santiago said.
Decaturish learned about the move when the current storage unit rental company sent letters to its customers notifying them that their leases were being terminated.
Santiago said the community has taken care of her company during COVID-19, allowing the gym to expand and grow during tough times.
“The community has been really good to us, and … since we came back from COVID we were able to build our savings back up, and we’re also partnering with the landlord who is doing a tremendous amount of work on tenant improvements,” Santiago said. “We have a good partnership with them, and they’re giving us a tremendous amount of money to renovate the building and improve the building for our purposes.”
During COVID, the gym also reciprocated the community’s support by creating a virtual learning lounge where kids could do their school work while parents went to their jobs.
Santiago was a gymnast in the 80s, became a coach through high school and continued doing it as a side job while attending college.
“I just always loved it,” she said. “I never intended to open a gym. I got married and had kids, and when I decided I was going to be a single mom, I started a business so I could be independent. I had been stay at home mom for a while. Even though I had a master’s degree in political science, and I was a political consultant, once the economy crashed …, I was like, ‘What the hell am I going to do now?’ and I thought, ‘I’m going to go back to my roots which is gymnastics.'”
There were no programs close to where she lived, and she had two boys she wanted them to be in gymnastics.
“I believe in the amazingness of the sport,” Santiago said.
She began by teaching a few classes, and it took off from there. In 2020 Intown Stars was named by Inc. Magazine as one of the Fastest Growing Companies in America. It is listed as No. 1,236 out of 250,000 entries, Santiago said.
Intown has been at its current location for four years. While the trend in Atlanta seems to be toward creating more storage units as opposed to taking them away, Santiago said she had a good pitch for the current owner of the property.
“I said look, ‘You can make more money.’ We both realized we had similar business values, and it ended up being a good transaction,” she said. “Really smooth. Really easy. We both want each other to succeed.”
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