BRAG in Bloom

There’s something inspirational about small businesses making big strides.

We love being witness to their success. In fact, their achievements are a crucial part of our mission to build a sense of place in Vint Hill. That’s why we’re taking the time to spread the good news generated by small businesses that chose to reside here.

Building a community hub cannot be accomplished without recognizing the importance of local entrepreneurs. It is through their services that people are drawn to us, whether it’s to socialize, shop, or pursue an education or career. It’s because of them that we are a “live, work, play” community. And it’s our mission to showcase that.

This is the story of Mary and Drew Henry.

Bull Run Academy of Gymnastics (BRAG) opened its doors in Vint Hill just over a year ago to offer recreational instruction and competitive training in gymnastics, tumbling and cheerleading to what was then a group of 100 students. Since its opening, owner and Program Director Mary Henry has seen her clientele grow to over six times that number.

“Opening BRAG is basically my lifelong dream,” said Mary. “We opened in August of 2014, and my husband officially retired from the armed forces in September of 2014. I hired him to help manage our business, so this is like his second career.”

Thanks to husband Drew’s military service, the Henrys have lived and worked all over the world. Mary’s resume includes extensive experience coaching gymnastics in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and California, as well as Japan and even Chile.

“The bread and butter of our program is my wife Mary,” said Drew, BRAG’s business manager and resident handyman. “Her experience in multiple programs around the world is the key to our success. The relationships she developed with local parents as we were getting ready to open our business are priceless. You can’t put a value on that.”

The Henrys settled in Virginia in 2010. In 2012, Mary began coaching the Battlefield High School gymnastics squad, and has led the team to two state finals so far. She remains the coach at Battlefield, and has added a working relationship with the gymnastics coach at Patriot High School to her plate. The biggest addition, however, has been BRAG.

“As much as I absolutely loved coaching the Battlefield team, at the time I was still eager to run my own business close to home,” said Mary. “It took about a year and a half to find the perfect location, and when a warehouse facility opened up in May 2014 in Vint Hill, we jumped on it.”

The rest of that year was a busy and exciting one for the Henrys. They signed the lease on the facility in June, Drew signed out of the army on July 17, and the business saw its first open house on the first of August.

“In our business plan, we had an idea of where we wanted to be in a year,” said Drew. “We hit that in six weeks. We had an idea of where we wanted to be in 5 years, and we hit that in six months. Some would say maybe we underestimated ourselves, but we just didn’t know.

“Everyone is telling us how happy they are that we’re here,” Drew continued. “They say we need something like this. There are tons of opportunities … if you’ve got a great idea and are looking for a willing, able and energized client base, Vint Hill’s got that around it.”

BRAG may see an additional facility in its future that could house and instruct students in the early stages of the sport. Such a facility would allow BRAG to expand its existing program, which would mean more equipment, a larger client base and more programs designed to cater to higher ability levels.

Though they are serious about providing a quality service to young gymnasts, Mary and Drew keep their expectations realistic.

“We’re not promising to turn anyone into an Olympic athlete,” said Mary. “We’re more interested in helping our students head for a good future. What we ultimately want to provide is a quality gymnastics program so the kids can mature and develop their strengths. If our programs lead them a collegiate scholarship or build confidence that comes to their aid later in life, then we have done our job.”

Mary and Drew are great examples of the kinds of visionaries that Vint Hill is striving to serve and support. Successful ventures are not only inspiring to read about, but they also elevate a destination such as ours by providing desirable services, amenities and local jobs.

We’re proud to have businesses like BRAG choose Vint Hill for its balance of practical and aesthetic offerings. Known for its convenience, proximity and infrastructure, Vint Hill also exudes charm, character and pastoral beauty.

When you’re ready to join us at Vint Hill, we’d love to hear from you.

For more information about Bull Run Academy of Gymnastics, visit: www.bragnow.com.