Tammy’s desire to own a gymnastics center sprang from a personal experience with her daughter Dani, the youngest of eight children in a blended family. “I put her in gymnastics at age five,” Tammy recalls, “hoping that being around other girls for the first time would help her overcome her shyness.”
Before long Dani began to compete. “She would have lived at the gym if she could have,” says Tammy. “She used to tell me that no matter if she had a bad day at school or her brothers were picking on her that she could go to the gym. She always said that gymnastics was her ‘happy place.’”
By age eight, Dani became the Minnesota Amateur Gymnastics Association state champion and competed in USA gymnastics, moving from levels 5 to 8 in one year (level 10 is elite). At level 8, with Olympic pursuits surely in her future, Dani began to complain about back pain. An examination at Mayo Clinic revealed four fractures. Despite her ability to perform high-level skills, Dani’s 8-year-old body was not mature enough to handle the physical impact they required, and she suffered irrevocable damage because of it.
“She ended up having back spasms, spondylosis and years of issues from that time on,” says Tammy. “She left the sport of gymnastics to heal and tried many times to come back to the sport she loved, but the pain always prevented her from being able to get back to the competition level. I was devastated that at such a young age she was made to suffer for something she had no control over. I decided to become involved with the sport so no other child would endure what my baby girl had to go through.”
This conviction led Tammy to open J.E.T.S. in 2004 with about
100 gymnasts. “When I first started the business with Annette Kaminski and Jennifer Beyer, I had two thoughts in my head:
safety and happy place.”
A big part of that plan was to hire the best possible coaches with proper training and certification. “Our head coach, Valentin Buse, is from Romania,” explains Tammy, “where you have to have six years of training before you are able to train athletes at the higher levels like my daughter was in. Vali has designed our program with progressions so that gymnasts aren’t doing skills for the sake of getting the skill but instead when they are physically and mentally ready. Everybody loves to do big tricks, but your body has to be ready or injuries can occur,” explains Tammy.
Her business partners Kaminski and Beyer eventually left J.E.T.S. for other pursuits, but the gym continued to grow. By 2009, only five years after opening, J.E.T.S. had outgrown its original space, so they built a new facility, one of the finest in the region.
“My husband came to work with me when we moved into the
new building to help me keep up with the workload.” Besides classes, J.E.T.S. offers birthday parties, summer camps, open gym and kids’ night out.