Phil’s Castle, Business time
Brian Bensley’s new office overlooks the expansive interior of his Grand Junction business. Through a large window, Bensley can see the array of devices neatly laid out below – bars, balance beams, and mats in various shapes and sizes.
It’s the 35-year-old gymnastics academy’s fourth site and the largest and best-equipped, Bensley says. “I don’t think there is a better gym in the state than this one.”
It’s a great place, he says, to carry on the legacy of instilling confidence, discipline and teamwork in young people, all while having fun. It is also a place to perpetuate a family heritage of service to the community. This is why the new location of the company comes with a new name.
Brian and Kerri Bensley opened Legacy Gymnastics and Ninja Academy in December in a building on River Road that once housed Allen Unique Autos, a museum, and an events center.
The couple were looking for a new location after selling the building housing KidzPlex, a facility they had operated for two decades.
Faced with the prospect of costly renovations, the couple sold KidzPlex to School District 51 in Mesa County to house the Mesa Valley Community School.
Brian Bensley says the couple considered building a new building, but the cost has become prohibitive. The couple are also planning to retire. They decided to buy the old Allen Unique Autos building and continue a legacy of gymnastics education.
Brian and his father, Harlan, began operations in 1985 and moved to a larger location along the Interstate 70 Business Loop. A coach and pioneer in gymnastics training for girls, Harlan was inducted into the Colorado Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Kerri Bensley joined the company in 1992.
At 38,000 square feet – 16,000 square feet for gymnastics – the last location is the largest of the four for the business. The facility is also equipped with new and advanced equipment, said Brian Bensley.
In addition to gymnastics, the company also offers obstacle courses and training based on “American Ninja Warrior”, a televised sports competition.
Enrollment in the various courses and programs offered at Legacy Gymnastics and Ninja Academy has reached record levels, Bensley said. But there is room for growth. He expects even more interest in gymnastics training following the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo. “The more children see it, the more they want to do it. “
The facility offers gymnastics classes to students of all ages and levels, from beginners to competitive athletes. The operation has fielded state championship teams or individuals every year since 1986.
Teaching gymnastics isn’t just about winning, Bensley says. Teaching is also about learning confidence, discipline, motivation and teamwork. It’s about facing and overcoming frightening challenges. “What we learn in gymnastics has helped us in life.”
At the same time, the process should be fun for the students, he says. “They should like this.”
Former students appreciate what they have learned, he says, as they bring their own children back for the same experiences.
Bensley says moving to a bigger, better-equipped facility comes with risks, but he also expects rewards from continuing to improve the education and programs offered there and to run the business professionally.
There is a chance that her own children will want to resume the operation at some point, Bensley says. And that would mean continuing a legacy in yet another way.
Legacy Gymnastics and Ninja The Academy is located at 2285 River Road. For more information visit www.legacygymnasticsninja.com or call 245-3610.