Local athletes flip for gymnastics facility in Troy.
By Matthew Totsky | Photos by Jerry Zolynsky
Every once in awhile, a new business pops up that addresses a specific need in the community. And when the owners of the business are passionate about what they do, things really start to take off. Ten years ago, that business in Oakland County was Troy Gymnastics.
“I was working in the automotive field,” says Troy Gymnastics co-owner Toby Buechner. “But deep down inside, I always knew I wanted to do something on my own. I just wasn’t sure what.
“I’ve always loved sports,” he continues. “I swam competitively for 10 years as a kid, and last year I retired from playing soccer after 40 years. I play tennis and ski, too. But I also love working with kids. My wife, Julie, was the one who suggested we combine our passions and open a gymnastics facility.”
From there, the Buechners put together a business plan and sought investors.
“Things moved pretty quickly,” Buechner says. “We opened our first facility — TG1 — in 2006. Our business has grown in double digits every month for the past nine and a half years.”
Troy Gymnastics opened its second building (TG2) in 2012, specifically designed to teach gymnastics to children ages 1-5. In October 2013, they expanded again, opening TG3, a 42,000-square-foot facility on Northwood in Troy designed specifically for its gymnastic teams.
“The space is amazing,” Buechner says. “We were able to add a fully licensed, full-service daycare and preschool directly on site. We have a full kitchen and a gym for the kids to play in year-round.
“We work with 3,000 kids weekly during the school year,” Buechner continues. “People come from all over Detroit to train and play here as well as from Grosse Pointe, Warren, Dearborn, Farmington, Flint and a bunch of other places. Five years ago, we became the biggest gym in the state. If this keeps up, we’ll eventually have to expand to a fourth building.”
For Toby and Julie Buechner, Troy Gymnastics is a true labor of love.
“It’s amazing to see the kids grow and have fun doing gymnastics, exercising and playing at one of our facilities,” Buechner says. “When we opened, our daughters were 7, 5 and 2. They’ve grown up here and are here almost every day. I’ve got to spend more time with them over the years than I would have if I’d continued working in the automotive field. And now they’re coaching, too. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
Buechner says quality of service and attention to detail are the key ingredients to their success.
“We’ve invested a lot to get it to this level,” he says. “For example, we have more than $1 million worth of padding here. People can see that we operate at a high level and offer a high-quality gym for them to train at. And our staff is made up of coaches who have gone through the gymnastics programs at University of Michigan and Michigan State University.”
When walking through any one of Troy Gymnastics’ three facilities, you understand why kids love it so much.
“We cater to every level of gymnast,” Buechner says. “TG1 has a pirate ship with 45-foot ramps, slides and ladders. The older kids like the trampolines and tumbling. And we offer 300 classes. There’s something for everyone here, and we’ve hosted more than 400 birthday parties.
“We’re proud of the success our kids have had,” Buechner continues. “We’ve had about 70 state champions and some of our kids have been scouted for colleges. But it isn’t just about being a great athlete — anyone can train as long as they’re enjoying themselves and having fun.”
Children aren’t the only ones who love the facilities at Troy Gymnastics.
“The cheer team from Oakland University trains here,” Buechner says. “And Henry Cavill was in here for nine months while they were filming Batman vs. Superman. His trainer told me there wasn’t a gym like this anywhere in Los Angeles, but they wish there was. We also worked with Clint Eastwood a few years back when he was filming Gran Torino, and the stunt team for the remake of Red Dawn has been in here, too.”
When Buechner talks about what he’s built at Troy Gymnastics, his enthusiasm for his business shines through.
“A lot of people work behind a desk, and that’s fine, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he says. “This is it for me. We love what we do and can’t wait to go to work every day. That’s the secret to our success. We keep waiting for things to slow down, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. And that’s a good thing.” NS
1600 W. Maple Road
and 1921 Northwood Drive, Troy