Cathie Anderson

Sacramento grandmother, granddaughter tumble into business partnership

Tumblebuddies co-owner Linsey Beaver has fun with students Isabelle Walton, left, Leah Parks and Minna Smith.
Tumblebuddies co-owner Linsey Beaver has fun with students Isabelle Walton, left, Leah Parks and Minna Smith. Courtesy of Tumblebuddies

Sacramento attorney Melva Menzies Warriner, 74, listened as her granddaughter, Linsey Beaver, talked about her work at a children’s gym and the changes she would make if she owned it.

“Nobody was really paying attention to her (ideas) where she was working,” Warriner said. “I realized what a wealth of knowledge she had, so one day, I just said, ‘Would you like to run your own gym?’ And, she said, ‘Yeah!’”

The two women opened Tumblebuddies last year on Sept. 15, just five months after that conversation. The gym, at 1803 Tribute Road in Sacramento, has 100 students ages 4 months to 8 years. Beaver and her three employees, including her right-hand woman and best friend Gigi Medina, teach a couple dozen classes each week.

Warriner had been leasing space for her law practice elsewhere, but when they found a building for the gym, it had a small corner office, so she asked Beaver if she could move in there. Already housemates, the duo also are office mates at the 5,000-square-foot facility across the freeway from Cal Expo.

At Tumblebuddies, Beaver offers gym and dance classes, something she said she couldn’t get previous employers interested in doing. She also started a Zumba class for the whole family. On weekends, she rents out the gym and dance studio for birthday parties.

Beaver has integrated social media into marketing to reach young moms, she said, and she gives each week a theme that allows students to dress in costume and use their imaginations. They have had shark week, ’80s week, luau week and much more, Beaver said, and the parents get into it just as much as the kids.

Dave and Brie Fugate bring their 2-year-old, Kaiya, to Tumblebuddies because it’s a low-pressure introduction to gymnastic skills. For $70 a month, Dave Fugate said, Kaiya gets a class and a couple hours of play time each week.

“Whenever we take her other places,” Fugate said, “we always get compliments on how well-spoken and polite she is, and I really attribute it to being involved with other kids here.”

Beaver got started with dance lessons at age 4, a Christmas gift from Warriner, and studied jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop and more through high school. At 16, she got a job as a gym instructor and learned the ropes. Before Tumblebuddies, she hired, fired and trained employees at a gym in Elk Grove.

Warriner worked as a legal secretary for years before becoming a lawyer.

“I thought to myself, ‘I’m 34 years old. I’ll be almost 40 by the time I get out of law school,’” Warriner said. “Then I thought, ‘Well, you’re going to be 40 years old anyway, and the question is: ‘Do you want to be a 40-year-old lawyer or a 40-year-old secretary?’”

Warriner took the college equivalency exam and passed it. Then she did well on the Law School Admission Test, earning a spot at University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law. She graduated in 1978 and found success as a certified family law specialist.

Beaver said friends will call on weekends, wanting to hang out, and she’ll tell them she’s too busy or too tired. Meanwhile, her angel investor and grandmother is out floating on the river with her friends.

“I tell my friends, ‘I’m not mad at Gonny (Beaver’s nickname for her grandmother). She took care of business first, and now I’m in the take-care-of-business stage of my life,” Beaver said.

Warriner said, “Well, I did go to law school at night while raising two kids, so I’ve had my share of 16-hour work days.”

Cathie Anderson: 916-321-1193, @CathieA_SacBee