“When you teach a child to have trust, encourage them to try a new skill, and then watch as they perform that skill – it's magical,” says Charlene Richenburg, co-owner. “It feels as if we're contributing toward healthy children and healthy families – which all build healthy communities.”
Brittany Stermer, Charlene's business partner, agrees. “The community is very important to us. It's not just being part of the community, but building community – children come to learn and grow, but so do their parents. It's nice to be part of it.”
The gym itself is borne from the Western Washington community. Started in Bellevue in 1976, The Little Gym company now has more than 300 franchise locations; Brittany and Charlene have owned the Everett location since 2015. Brittany's gymnast background paired perfectly with Charlene's dance and competitive cheer experience, and ten years after their first meeting, the two officially joined forces.
The duo's athletic abilities weren't the only thing that paired well: Charlene handles day-to-day operations and oversees the gym's classes, while Brittany is comfortable handling administrative tasks and growing the business. As far as why they chose BECU for their business banking, it comes down to yet another franchise– specifically, Burgermaster.
“My grandparents owned Burgermaster,” says Brittany. “My grandpa would match the tips I made when waiting tables, keeping the money in my BECU savings account. I spent my whole childhood learning and observing, helping grandma with deposits, running tills, everything.”
Her childhood education paid off: As a business owner, Brittany has expanded her business know-how – she's not just running tills, but managing and growing the business, using products such as BECU Business Checking and Savings, the BECU Business Visa®, and Merchant Services. “We like how low the fees are,” says Brittany. “I used to work with the previous Little Gym owner and saw the percentages that a different vendor [merchant services provider] took. It's just so much better with BECU.”
The Little Gym focuses on social, emotional and physical development of children ages 4 months to 12 years. It embraces “movement-based learning,” removing a competitive environment and encouraging the building of one's confidence and self-esteem through movement. Find your community of care at a Little Gym near you by visiting their website.