Rich Iwanski and Barbara Deppisch, 3rd and 4th
from the right rear in red, franchised Great Play
in Chandler, AZ. Appearing on Fox 10 Phoenix.
Interview with Owners Rich Iwanski & Barbara Deppisch
Rich franchised Great Play in Chandler, AZ with his wife Barbara in 2009 and opened in 2010.
Q. What got you interested in the kids' gym business?
A. We both have degrees in education. I've had an interest in working with children and finally decided to pursue it more passionately full-time; and we have a passion for health and fitness and seeing children get a good start and build healthy habits from a young age… I want to get children moving in order to develop their core muscles and make it fun so they keep moving as they get older.
Q. What made you pick Great Play in particular to franchise over other alternatives in the category?
A. I had checked out some other kids' gyms over the years but never felt there was much very special about them, but just from reading the Great Play website I knew there was something special about Great Play. I could sense it had a positive energy and was really tuned in to not only making fitness educational but also lots of fun…And I knew my sons and many other kids would love the Interactive Arena.
Also, I have a lot of faith in the principal owners of Great Play. They are all extremely bright individuals and all with extensive experience. We owned a franchise previously and the franchisor was disorganized and gave us little support. Great Play is committed to doing things the right way and they have thought of every detail and planned for every detail.
Also, as an educator, what really attracted me to Great Play was the in-depth and rich curriculum that is based on science and the developmental needs of children.
Q. How have customers reacted?
In the younger programs: We've had former teachers that really notice the difference with our fresh curriculum and engaging instructors. We've had parents surprised and amazed when their children love Great Play because "they've tried all the other places and the child hates it...he/she is bored, shy, etc. at other places but now loves Great Play."
In the older programs: Kids are just loving Phys Ed class. They come out for a water break all sweaty and thirsty and then can't wait to get back in the gym for more. Regarding sports, we just had a Dad thank [coach] Jason after a baseball throwing class because he didn't realize his 6 year old son could progress and do so well so quickly.
Also, parents really think the technology is awesome and our parties a blast.
Q. Anything else?
A. Typing these last couple sections about kids having success at Great Play where they haven't before fills me with emotion and a sense of satisfaction that we're having a positive effect on these children and (potentially) changing the course of their lives for the better.