Tooele Gymnastics Academy Leaps To Success
Ken Goodworth worked as an engineer for 30 years and taught gymnastics on the side for much of that time. Unfortunately (or fortunately), he was laid off in 2018. After some soul-searching and unsuccessful attempts to return to engineering, he decided to see if he could support his family with what he considered a side hustle.
“The first few months were really scary financially, but within four months, things began to pick up, and I felt like we could make it,” he says.
Goodworth started his small gymnastics business 23 years ago and it grew as needs and opportunities arose. He met with Jess Clifford from the SBDC early in the process as he was considering the idea of growing and expanding.
“Jess gave me encouragement and a broader insight into how the business could benefit the community,” he says. “He suggested that I meet with the mayor. I was not confident enough to do that without his push, and it was a wise move. Jess gave me a format suggestion for the business plan in conjunction with the SBA loan application. He continued to support me and our project by attending a ribbon cutting for the expansion of our facility, and then in the cold, snowy weather for the groundbreaking of our new facility. His gentle confidence and support have been amazing for us!”
In December 2022, Tooele Gymnastics Academy broke ground. The $7 million, 51,000-square foot arena provides the largest indoor space of its kind in the region. The facility houses gymnastics, tumbling, dancing, fitness, circus arts, taekwondo, an open gym, and space available to the public for parties and other gatherings.
“This gym has become my calling – something I feel God is pleased that I am doing…I love working with the kids! This business is now my only source of income and is large enough to support my family and a few others.”
– Ken Goodworth
Goodworth says he’s had the opportunity to coach two generations of gymnasts and tumblers in the community.
“I hope that this younger generation will be able to bring their future kids to the gym and say, ‘This is where I learned my back handspring,’ or ‘This is where I hung out and learned Ninja skills,’” he says. “That would be so cool! This community also helped my family through losing a daughter in 2003. We buried her in the Grantsville Cemetery. This is home for us; there is nowhere else we would rather be. This is a way for us to give back to the community.”
Goodworth says coaching and growing the gym has been his passion, and even at the age of 59, he hopes to be able to work in the gym well into his 70s.
“This gym has become my calling – something I feel God is pleased that I am doing,” he says. “I love working with the kids! This business is now my only source of income and is large enough to support my family and a few others.”
Today, through hard work and intense passion for their mission, Tooele Gymnastics Academy has an enrollment of 1,200+ students weekly.
“My advice to business owners is not to be afraid of starting small,” he says. “Learn the business. Learn to be passionate about your work. Learn to love the business, and when you love your work and the business, it will grow, often beyond anything you had ever imagined!”
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