Happy, Healthy Families
In 1994, I had just graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelors degree in Education. I returned from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Boise, Idaho in December of 1994. Four months later, eager to pursue to my newest dream of being on the world cup team in inverted aerials and hopefully the Olympic inverted aerial ski team I moved to Park City, Utah. While living in Park City fresh out of college with no money, I needed 2 jobs to support myself. I was a full-time 4th grade teacher during the day and a gymnastics coach in the evening, not to mention my ski training regiment. It was a very busy schedule and I had little time to do much more.
One day I was conversing with two other world cup ski hopefuls. We were talking about life after ski jumping and the demands of working two jobs. One thing we all had in common was that we all had grown up skiing and doing gymnastics. We all agreed that with our backgrounds we could open a gymnastics gym. One of my friends also suggested running a Tumble Bus program. I had never heard of this program, so with a little curiosity I decided to do some research and find out more about this type of business.
Two weeks later, after extensive research, my girlfriend Katie and I loaded up her car and headed to Denver, Colorado to check out a Tumble Bus program. We spent a day in Denver learning about the program and getting excited about this possible new business. Needless to say, our business did not get going right away. At the end of the 1995/1996 school year and ski season I stopped teaching and hung up my skis. I needed to get a job that would pay off the debt I had created over the last year traveling to ski competitions. I joined a professional ski show that toured the world and performed at World fairs, state fairs, county fairs, boat shows, side shows, and anywhere someone wanted to hire us. I like to say I was a “Glorified Carney!” It was a lot of fun, it helped me get out of debt and led me to pursue my new dream of owning my own business.
In the fall of 1997 I moved back to Boise, my home town, to be near my family and friends. During the next several months my family helped me build, paint, and create my first Tumble Bus. On January 12, 1998 The Magic Tumble bus had its first customers. The Magic Tumble Bus quickly became a leading children’s educational and physical activity at many of the Treasure Valleys Childcare centers, events, and birthday parties. By the spring of 1998 I started my second Magic Tumble Bus and had hired an employee. The following spring I was overwhelmed with my growth and asked Katie, by then my fiancée to join the Magic Tumble Bus team. Katie was working in the public school system at that time and was ready for a change. So to my delight she jumped aboard for a new adventure.
In July of 1999, Katie and I got married!!! After returning from our honeymoon we expanded the program to a 3rd bus. Adding an additional bus meant we needed more equipment. Fortunately for us, a small gym called “The Treasure Tree” was selling their equipment and had a lot of items that would work for our program. We made the owners an offer and they responded with, “Why don’t you just take over our lease which only has 1 year on it and we will give you all the equipment we have in the facility.” This was an offer we could not refuse! The lease was affordable and we thought the offer was a good deal. We said OK!
Our goal upon accepting the offer was not to start a gymnastics gym; we were already busy enough, and our mobile program was going well. We thought we would let the lease run out and use the location as our office and storage for the next year. Then I said “Why don’t we just put it out to the public and see if anyone wants to sign up for a gymnastics class? “ Katie began making calls to the families that had been involved in The Treasure Tree and found that many families would be interested in returning to gymnastics if we reopened the facility. In November of 1999, our first month, we had 60 kids signed up for Tumble Time Gymnastics!
The following year when our lease was going to run out, we not only renewed that space of 1800 square feet, but leased the bay next door which gave us an additional 1800sq ft for a total of 3600 square feet. Katie and I taught all of the classes and managed the Tumble Bus through the spring of 2003. We then hired an additional instructor followed by an office manager that fall. This adventure became an even greater joy when we welcomed our son Erik to the world in December of 2003. When I look back now, I wonder how we managed in such a small of facility. We were in those 2 small spaces through 2004.
In January of 2005, we finished construction and opened our new state of the art “green” facility. Tumble Time is now home to a vast array of programs including gymnastics, preschool, before-school, Track Break, non-school days, cheerleading, trampoline classes, parties and camps. With a growing facility we also decided to grow our family and Tillie was born in January of 2006. Most recently in the fall of 2009 we converted the home next to our facility into an infant toddler program adding to our educational programs.
For us, 2010 was another year of expansion. We expanded our program to also include Jump Time, an indoor trampoline park. It branched outside of our instructional based setting into a drop in, fun zone! We now can provide fun for all ages. Jump time is now located in Meridian, Boise and Twin Falls!
In the business of children we must be in continual motion. This motion keeps us growing, educating ourselves and expanding our business. Thank you to all those who believe in us and support our programs and growth. We look forward to many more decades of educating our “Happy, Healthy, Families.”
Chad and Katie Babcock