LIMA — When the co-owners of the new Flip Training Center started looking for a location, they searched far and wide for the right spot for the business.
They needed an area long enough for their students to practice their flips, somersaults and round-offs. They needed ceilings high enough so people could bounce safely.
As it turned out, a spot in the Lima Mall between Old Navy and Spencer’s Gifts was the right fit for the new gymnastics center. It will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
“We stopped in here, and we were a little skeptical,” said co-owner Chelsea Leis, of Lima. “But ultimately, it’s been the best decision I think we’ve really made so far.”
Co-owner Kaitlynn Probst added, “Chris (Garlock, the mall manager) worked really well with us. We appreciate all he’s done for us.”
They’ve seen the growth of nontraditional mall businesses, such as The Hero Day, Glow Golf and Total Revolution Training Facility, and saw the potential.
“The Lima Mall, I feel like it’s turned into kind of an attraction center,” Leis said. “It’s a mall of things to do as opposed to just places to shop, and we’re excited to join that.”
About six months ago, they started talking about filling the void in Lima for a place focused on gymnastics and tumbling.
“After the Olympics especially, I think it was much-needed,” Leis said. “You watch people like Simone Biles, and you get excited about the sport. I really wanted to offer that to people in our area.”
The facility includes a tumble track, rod floor and air tracks for aspiring cheerleaders, gymnasts and tumblers.
They’ll offer classes for beginning to advanced gymnasts and tumblers. They’ll also offer adult tumbling times, private lessons and even a spot for birthday parties. There’s information about what’s offered on the Flip Training Center’s Facebook page, j.mp/3A24Lya.
“You get a kid that’s got a ton of energy that needs to put that energy into something, gymnastics is a great place to start.,” Leis said. “We both have active daughters, so it’s definitely going to be a benefit for our own kids. Overall, it’s a good sport to just build core and to help develop the body for other sports in the future.”
Leis was an elite-level gymnast who went on to become a college cheerleading national champion at Louisville. She coached all-star cheer and competitive college cheerleading for five years at Lourdes University, where she was a four-time coach of the year award winner and coached two all-Americans.
Probst was one of the athletes on Leis’s team. She was a four-time team captain and first-team all-conference pick.
Now the pair of USASF-certified coaches are looking forward to sharing their passion with a new generation of aspiring gymnasts.
Kaitlynn Probst, left, of Flip Training Center, talks about the new gymnastics space in the Lima Mall on Friday. The business celebrated its ribbon-cutting Friday with the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce.
From left, co-owners Kaitlynn Probts and Chelsea Leis pose Friday with Jed Chamber, of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce, for a photograph during the ribbon-cutting for Flip Training Center in the Lima Mall.
Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.