Customers save Gymboree for fellow families

By Erica Schroeder

When a Solana Beach couple heard that Gymboree – a parent-child interactive center on Lomas Santa Fe – suddenly announced plans to close, they decided to step in and preserve the business they enjoyed by buying it themselves.

Caitlin and Eric Pannese frequented Gymboree’s classes with their 18-month-old son. Caitlin said they enjoyed the interactive family environment and were dismayed when they heard it was suddenly going out of business.

“I got a call at least, right before they were going to close. Most customers didn’t even receive that,” she said.

The former management team was unable to continue the business because of financial issues and was forced to close unexpectedly, Caitlin was told.

The Panneses’ dismay turned to optimism when they saw the news as an opportunity to fulfill a lifetime goal. “My husband has always wanted to own his own business. I saw the value as a customer myself,” Caitlin said.

Caitlin and Eric bought the business from Gymboree’s corporate office shortly after it closed and spent a few weeks renovating before reopening last month. Eric did most of the remodeling himself and spent many late nights making sure all the proper steps were taken in order to reopen on the promised date – May 19.

The Panneses have quickly learned that owning their own business has its ups and downs.

“The challenging parts are the good parts,” Caitlin said. “I think the whole process to get open was the biggest challenge. Getting through Gymboree’s training program, getting everything we needed lined up (lease, insurance, utilities, etc.), pre-opening marketing, renovations, hiring staff, etc.,” she said. Despite the challenges, the couple remain positive.

“Just getting opened was the hardest part,” Caitlin said. She said they wanted to make sure everything was perfect before unveiling the changes they had made.

Plans for the future include adding a new program called “School Skills” for children ages 3 to 5. The program would prepare children for kindergarten and ensure preschool readiness. The business is also adjusting the class schedules to accommodate parents’ timetables.

Gymboree, at 971 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach, offers three types of classes for children ages 0 to 5 and their parents: play and learn classes, music classes and art classes. It also offers one free preview class for prospective customers, so parents can experience Gymboree before making a commitment. For information, visit

Related posts:

  1. New Children’s Museum tries helping families with affordable fun
  2. Del Mar Workout closes without notice to employees, customers
  3. Students share gifts with low-income families
  4. Holiday Baskets bring joy to 1,200 families
  5. UCSD alumna and fellow astronauts safely back home

Short URL:

Posted by on Jul 23, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6





  • Free Tennis and PickleBall offered at Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club during Rancho Days
    Rancho Days is now Rancho Tennis Days at the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club. During the 10 days of Rancho Days (Oct. 3-12) the RSF Tennis Club is offering all Covenant-area residents free tennis. This includes many free clinics for all levels, free court time (just sign up at the front desk or call 858-756-4459) and free entry to the end of week mixed tennis to […]
  • Rancho Santa Big Band Orchestra to swing at Village Church
    Big band music blows into the Ranch from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9, at the Village Church, 6225 Paseo Delicias. The Rancho Santa Fe Big Band Swing Orchestra, a 17-piece outfit led by professor and former president of the San Diego Musicians’ Association Jack Wheaton, featuring producer and trumpeter Dominick Addario, vocalist and events coordinator Marie […]
  • Auditions to be held at Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe for ‘Rented Christmas’ musical
    The Village Church Community Theater recently announced auditions for “Rented Christmas, the Musical,” from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6 and Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the Village Community Church, 6225 Paseo Delicias in Rancho Santa Fe. […]