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Gymnastics Center under new ownership

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Ownership of the Red Wing Area Gymnastics Center has changed hands.

The center, formerly owned by Lisa Marty, was recently purchased by Tammy St. George, owner of the Junior Elite Training School gymnastics center in Rochester.

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A purchase agreement was reached in May, Marty said, and St. George will assume control of the center in September.

"It's been my passion for a long time so it's been really hard, but I wasn't doing it justice," Marty said. "It needs someone who is going to be more present and someone who is going to be visible in the community."

The gymnastics center has been at its current site since 2003 with participation hovering around 120 kids during the winter and 60-70 in the summer, Marty said.

St. George learned about the possibility of the gymnastics center being available for purchase through a former Red Wing Gymnastics Center employee, Kyley Groby, who also worked for St. George. With this year being an Olympic year St. George saw it as an opportunity.

"I think it just needs a little bit of TLC and someone who can be there a little more often," St. George said.

St. George expects to make changes, but mostly in the structure of the center.

St. George has a yearly membership of $50 at JETS where girls get a leotard and boys get shorts and a T-shirt. The same will apply in Red Wing.

"Our goal is to structure it more and offer more class times," St. George said. "We try to offer a lot of different class times so it's convenient for everyone's schedules."

Those interested in gymnastics can still attend classes without a membership, St. George said.

"There is a one-time fee and you can come in and out of the program anytime you want," St. George said.

A coach from JETS will come to Red Wing once a week and training for current Red Wing Gymnastic Center staff members will begin in August, St. George said.

The Red Wing Gymnastics Center has up to 15 part-time employees, Marty said.

The current staff will be retained and St. George will look for additional staff from the area, she said.

St. George started JETS eight years ago and has grown the facility in that time to where it averages around 800 kids a month, St. George said. JETS features a staff of international coaches with impressive resumés.

George Gorgoi, who coached Nadia Comaneci on the balance beam, was the first coach JETS brought on. Gorgoi has since stepped down as JETS coach.

"I wanted to bring in people who were highly qualified to run the program," St. George said.

Prior to starting JETS the only gymnastics experience St. George had came from her daughter's participation in the sport. St. George ran a travel agency before beginning JETS and that experience helped in starting the business.

When St. George's daughter broke her back while training she decided to take on the task of building a top-notch facility. JETS has 25,000 square feet and two gymnasiums.

Its current staff consists of a Romanian gymnastics head coach and Bulgarian dance instructor.

The commitment to coaching excellence has paid off for JETS. The facility features three gymnasts as level 9, 10 being the highest.

JETS also has a level 6 state champion in its fold, who also placed second in state at level 7 this past year, St. George said.

For Marty, who has coached gymnastics for the past 30 years, selling the center has been bittersweet.

"We were always wishing we could do more during the day and they will be doing more during the day," Marty said.

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