By Bridget Downes
There’s a new Little Gym in town.
Replacing a former Little Gym franchise that closed its doors in Huntington village 10 years ago is a new branch of the children’s gymnastics center that opened up earlier this month at 38 Gerard St., across the street from the former location.
The new Huntington village operation is owned by Meena Suchdev and Prashant Manchandani.
There’s plenty of room to tumble in 3,000-square-foot space, which sits in the commercial space below the Heatherwood Gerard Street apartments. The space is decorated from wall-to-wall with colorful mats and gymnasium equipment like uneven bars and balancing beams.
There are Little Gym locations across the world, focusing on the physical and mental development of children and hosting classes for children ages 6-12. There are about 260 Little Gyms in the United States alone. Other Long Island locations include Smithtown, Levittown, Merrick and Roslyn.
Every Little Gym is independently owned and operated; Suchdev and Manchandani have no affiliation with the owners of the village’s former Little Gym, which was located where Bethpage Federal Credit Union stands.
The new Huntington village Little Gym first opened on Dec. 7, and an official grand opening is planned to be held after the New Year.
Suchdev said it took about 15 months to build everything and move in. She had the idea to open a Little Gym about two years ago when she was working on Wall Street in New York City.
“We teach kids how to have confidence, how to take risks and to become the individual people that they are,” Suchdev said. “And we just happen to do it through the medium of gymnastics.”
The Little Gym provides physical education programs, classes for gymnastics, dance, sports, karate, and space for birthday parties.
One unique feature of Little Gym is “Parents’ Survival Night.” Every Friday and Saturday night, parents are invited to come and drop off their children to get a few hours to themselves while their children participate in a safe, fun, family-friendly environment.
“What I’m hoping is that this becomes a family destination spot,” Suchdev said. “I want this to be a place where moms feel good about bringing their kids and safe about dropping them off. I want kids to want to come.”