Crenshaw Athletic Club
is an educational program dedicated to the development and advancement of children through athletics. Crenshaw was founded in 1949 by Bill and Bee Crenshaw as one of the first private gymnastic studios in the United States. The first tumbling classes were held in the old University Methodist Church. In 1976, Art and Gil Elsass purchased the business to continue the tradition of excellence in teaching. Originally started as a part time business, Crenshaw Athletic Club is now a full-time endeavor. In May of 1984, the club made its present move to 5000 Fairview and became one of the most prestigious gymnastics facility in the country. The programs under Gil and Candace Elsass now include Gymnastics, Swimming, Pre-school Education, After School Care, Birthday Parties and an Adult Fitness Center. Crenshaw is also a pioneer in creating a popular program called Palaestra which is a unique combination of academics and athletics for preschoolers.
When the new facility was built in 1984, it was decided to expand into adult fitness. Art and Gil again used their experience and foresight to pioneer the tangent health industry. The facility offers a complete weight room, a 440′ indoor running track, a 40′ heated lap and aerobic pool, whirlpool, steam and sauna. The club also offers water workout classes for senior citizens with limited movement. A no contract policy made it unique among fitness centers. Crenshaw’s truly is a Full Family Fitness Center.
In 1996 Crenshaw Athletic Club became a member of NFIB. Gil remembered telling his brother Art that they need someone on their side and needed someone to fight for their interests. He said knowing you have a voice representing you on the state and federal level is very important. For Gil, state and federal regulations are daunting and it’s hard for his small businesses to keep up. He feels these regulations are crushing small business. Gil doesn’t have time to go to the Capitol because he is too busy filling out forms dealing with all the new regulations and staying on top of the daily responsibilities it takes to run his small business. Because of this Gil finds it comforting to have NFIB on his side fighting for small business and working hard to protect it. He knows small business is the backbone of the economy and knows NFIB recognizes this and wants to preserve it.
Gil enjoys running and owning a small business because he likes being in control. He gets to own and figure out his destiny. The buck stops with him. He loves his clients who are the children in his programs and the parents. It makes him happy that he is teaching 3rd generation children. He is now teaching grandkids of friends and past student’s children. Because he is in a service oriented profession he deals with different people and different situations daily. He finds joy knowing that when he wakes up and goes to work, no day will ever be the same.
Gils also enjoys managing his employees and building a good team around him. Watching his employees grow and blossom into their positions delights him. Gil admits he is a bit of a control freak and it is hard for him to rely on other people but he has learned that letting go and letting his team take control provides a better outcome and product for his business and clients. He wants to pass on to his employees the same experience he experiences at work. He wants his employees to control their environment, feel some ownership and be responsible for the outcome of the job they are doing. He has seen this create a better employee and that’s positive thing for the business and the clients.
Crenshaw’s is a family owned business and currently has 115 employees and three locations. Two of Gil’s three children work in the business as does his wife. Gil’s children and wife run their two Elsass Academy Preschools. Gil is passionate about small business. He knows his business and other small businesses provide the better product. He wants to keep the private sector thriving and knows that NFIB is helping to keep that dream alive. Next year Crenshaw Athletic Club will celebrate their 20th year with NFIB. We thank them for their membership. Find out more about this remarkable business at crenshaws.com