When Erica Newman opened The Little Gym in Norwalk 6 years ago, she thought the location would attract youngsters from nearby Westport and Darien. She offered motor skill development, gymnastics, karate, sports skills, dance and cheerleading.
But kids in her target audience — 4 months to 12 years old — don’t drive. And their parents (read “mommies”) found Norwalk too inconvenient in their hyper-scheduled days.
So Newman is closing her Norwalk location. Next month she opens in Westport, a few doors from the former Shaw’s supermarket. A separate Darien location follows soon.
Newman is convinced it is a great move.
“There are lots of ‘mom services’ nearby, where they can go when their kids are in class,” she notes: a nail salon and dry cleaner; soon, Fresh Market. Mitchell’s is across the street.
What about dads?
“We have a few stay-at-home fathers, but lots more moms,” Newman admits. Some men do bring their kids to Saturday classes. When they’re involved with the youngest kids’ classes, Newman says, “there’s a lot more throwing, and a lot less singing.”
Even before opening here, Newman says, enrollment of Westporters in fall programs is double last year’s.
And, she adds, the feedback is great. People are congratulating Newman on the location — and offering plenty of good suggestions.
She has found Westport to be so warm and welcoming — “a real cohesive community” — that she and her husband may move here from Wilton, with their 8- and 6-year-olds.
That’s a great age to join The Little Gym. Hey — they wouldn’t have to leave town at all.
(For information on classes, birthday parties and camps, call 203-227-0599.)