Excite Gym & Cheer owner Julie Hutchens says she is the pursuer of everything and the master of none, but her 22,000-square-foot gym that helped land one of her teams in Newsweek magazine during a world competition might tell a different story.
Having majored in dance with the deep yearning to teach children, Hutchens set out to teach young children about cheerleading and gymnastics.
And like many stories of businesses coming from humble beginnings, Excite Gym did not start off in its current expansive facility in Highland Village.
“I was happy with my little-bitty gym and my little-bitty kids. But [the business]just went crazy,” Hutchens said.
After 18 years of business, Hutchens says so much of the success that her cheer and gymnastics students have attained has been dependent on their commitment to the overall success of the team.
“Everyone has an individual role—we have no bench. When someone … is in a bad mood, someone doesn’t want to work hard, someone could get hurt,” Hutchens said. “You don’t ever have the privilege to sit out because you don’t have benches.”
Hutchens says that the pressures of competition, combined with potential unforeseen issues such as injury or sickness, can make for difficult straits for her students when it comes to competition—the time when emotions are running at their highest.
“Your responsibility is to train them before they get to that moment,” Hutchens said.
And her staff plays a key role in keeping everyone’s head level, she says—so much so that Excite Gym has been recognized twice at separate competitions for the students’ and staff’s composure and respect for one another.
“That’s what I’ll be most proud of and what I’ll remember,” Hutchens said. “Hopefully that’s why a parent would choose us, too.”
Still, when her students are attaining new heights at the competition level, Hutchens looks back fondly on the early days of her business in the smaller gym.
And even in that smaller gym, the students still performed well in competitions—something Hutchens says shows how fancy facilities and new equipment does not make a successful student.
“We had a pole in the middle of the room—the kids had to tumble around it—we never had a full cheer floor. [There were] all these things that were against us, and we made it work,” Hutchens said. “It’s about how you look at the obstacles.”