Small Business Spotlight: The Little Gym of Cary

Quintin Judy, 3, conquers a bar flip with help from Amy Glass, gym director at The Little Gym of Cary.

Connie Tator has been a fan of The Little Gym ever since she visited a location in Clayton with her preschooler, more than 13 years ago. The former television professional was looking for a new career, and the business seemed perfect for her.

“My son had tried other programs, but the way he took to this one was so much different. He was in his element,” said Tator. “It was a combination of music, physical skills, cognitive learning and sharing and taking turns. He enjoyed every moment of that class! It was everything I wanted for him at that age!”

Connie Tator, owner of three Little Gym locations, has been with the company for 13 years. “I am one of a handful of African Americans who are a part of this franchise. It’s my hope to get more minorities to consider opening one,” she says.

After more than a decade with The Little Gym, Tator is still excited about the company and says each location she visits across the country seems like home.

“I still feel like our franchise owners are a family,” she said. “It’s the best decision I ever made.”

Can you describe The Little Gym?

We offer a curriculum-based core program of gymnastics and other programs for children to promote coordination, balance, rhythm and flexibility. The Little Gym is based on a philosophy of allowing kids to experience success in a fun, caring and noncompetitive way. Children’s listening, social and cognitive capacities are all enhanced in the process, as students are encouraged to progress at their own pace.

Classes at The Little Gym are designed for children between the ages of four months and 12 years, and are taught by trained and caring instructors who provide individual attention and positive feedback. Although gymnastics is at the base of The Little Gym’s curriculum, classes also incorporate sports, games, listening and cooperation.

What attracted you to The Little Gym franchise?

I had previously worked in TV news and knew I could not sustain that career. At the time, we were starting our family, and the nearest TV station was in Raleigh and we were living in Fayetteville. Plus, my husband was active-duty military and deploying at times. So, I had to look for other options.

The Little Gym helps children learn gymnastics, dance, karate, and skills like balance and coordination.

How long have you owned the franchise?

I have been a The Little Gym Franchise owner for 13 years. I purchased my first location in Fayetteville in 2008, and we opened June 2011. I drank the Kool-Aid and was inspired to open another location in Wilmington in 2014.

My husband served 25 years in the military, and we decided when he was ready to retire that we wanted to move with our two children to the Cary community.

In 2019, the previous owner of TLG Cary was looking to sell her gym, and we decided to purchase it. I am the fourth owner of that gym. It has been a part of the Cary community for 26 years!

Do you have an athletic or gymnastics background?

I did not have any kind of gymnastics background. I’ve always loved health and fitness, and I did track in school. In recent years, I’ve run half- and full marathons, mud runs, and Spartan races.

What’s been the most challenging moment?

It was during the pandemic. I had just purchased TLG Cary not even a year before, and we got shut down just as we were finally beginning to thrive. When October 2020 rolled around, I sat outside of a coffee shop in tears, not sure if we were going to make it.

Through the love and support of each and every family that has supported our gym, we were able to survive. For that we are truly thankful and grateful.

Three- to 6-year-olds exercise with pool noodles.

Describe the best thing about owning the business?

There are so many things I love about it. It allows me freedom and flexibility to spend more time with my family. I’ve also loved watching my children grow up at The Little Gym.

I was pregnant with my daughter when I opened my first gym and my son was 5. Both of them are just good, well-mannered, confident kids today! My daughter continues to flourish in our grade-school program; she attends Alston Ridge as a fourth-grader. My son works part time in the gym on weekends. TLG really helped develop his self-esteem and athleticism over the years. He now plays varsity basketball at Panther Creek High School.

I love how I can be as creative as I want within my business. We can bring magic and fun inside our gym and out in the community. Over the years, our gyms have organized a 5K, Messtival Events, Fall Festivals, fun-themed parties, and community partnership events.

McKenzie Lewis, 15 months, chases bubbles during a Little Gym class.

Most of all, I love watching our kids change! I enjoy seeing Bugs (4- to 10-montholds) grow up in our gym, and knowing that some of them took their first steps at TLG makes my heart happy. I giggle when one of our spirited Funny Bugs (3 to 4 years) connects with their teacher and starts to listen and follow instructions. I’m in awe when one of our shy Flips/Hot Shots (6 to 12 years) develops confidence in our gym and tells us they want to run for Student Government or to try out for a competitive sport. Sometimes those students come back five or six years later and ask for a part time job at TLG!

These are the proud moments every day that make this all worth it.

The Little Gym of Cary
958 High House Road, Cary
(919) 481-6701


  • Joyce Pickett says:

    What an awesome story!! I am so proud of your accomplishment in The Little Gym. I love it!!! Keep up the good work!!🙏💕💪🦾👌

  • Joyce Pickett says:

    Congratulations Connie on a successful endeavor!! May God continue to bless The Little Gym.💕🏋🙏

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