Posted on Oct 4th 2016
What do you get when you bring together two people with a passion for cultivating and enriching the lives of children, experience in early childhood development and strong business acumen?
The short answer is you get the dynamic duo of Meredith Myers and Stacey Centurelli, franchisees and co-owners of Romp n’ Roll Wethersfield, Connecticut. However, the way their lives and career paths merged to form this mutually beneficial partnership is a far more compelling story.
Meredith had spent 17 years as a special education kindergarten teacher. With hands-on experience in early childhood education and having a first-hand account of the developmental needs of young children, she understood the opportunity existed in the market to help families get access to services and programs that would improve gross and fine motor skills, as well as socialization.
Meanwhile, Stacey had an on-the-ground introduction to childhood development first as a mother and then as a small daycare operator. Initially, she had worked in the corporate insurance world but left this career path to focus on being a stay-at-home mom. Out of necessity, Stacey ran the daycare and eventually moved into a direct sales position, in which she ran her own team.
The two mothers were brought together through their children, while their youngsters were playing on the baseball field. It was initially Meredith who instigated the idea to open up a local kid’s gym. Both she and her husband knew she was looking for a career change. At the same time, Stacey was looking for a strong business investment. A children’s gym, art, and music center right near their hometown was the perfect next step for both women as they transitioned into entrepreneurship.
Romp n’ Roll’s unique approach to early childhood development and enrichment programs through art, music, kinesthetic, and other activities was exactly what both Meredith and Stacey were looking for in a kid’s gym concept.
When they made the decision to become Romp n’ Roll franchisees, the brand had already been around for 10 years and provided them with a proven business model. Everything from marketing, operations, and training support through Romp n’ Roll set Stacey and Meredith up for success as new business owners.
In addition, Romp n’ Roll was a way for both owners to develop and foster their ties with the local community. Having a kid’s gym that offers a diverse range of activities for local residents filled a much-needed gap in early childhood development services.
As Romp n’ Roll franchisees, Meredith and Stacey are both grateful for the continuous support they receive through weekly communications. It reinforces the fact that as small-business owners, you are part of a larger system of people looking out for your best interests.
While these all-star franchisees both came to the business with a background in early childhood development, it’s by no means a pre-requisite for success. The beauty of the Romp n’ Roll franchise opportunity is that anyone with the resources, passion for childhood development, and drive to succeed as an entrepreneur can achieve their goals as a business owner.
Michael Barnett is the Co-Founder and CEO of Romp n' Roll. In addition to leading the Romp n' Roll management team, Michael is an active member of the International Franchise Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and serves on the Board of Directors for Connor's Heroes and Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. He and his wife, Babz, were featured on the first season of ABC-TV's Shark Tank.