Top Notch Allstars cheer gym is quiet most days.
Its large, teal spring floor sits empty. Its tumbling trampoline is still and undisturbed.
In the evenings, though, the gym comes to life.
Cheerleaders stream into the brick building and get to work with coach Reva Shane Bailey, preparing for their first competitions and the national competition that is fast approaching.
It is the first season for the Top Notch Allstars gym. Bailey opened the Hickory gym in March, two months earlier than planned. She made the decision to open early after more than a dozen cheerleaders eagerly asked her to train them.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of people who trusted me enough to come to my gym so early,” she said.
Bailey grew up cheerleading. She started gymnastics at a young age and delved into cheer as she got older. By age 18, she knew cheer would be in her life forever.
Bailey started coaching cheer right after high school. In college, she cheered for Appalachian State University and was on the field when Appalachian State upset the University of Michigan in football.
Throughout college and beyond, even while she worked other full-time jobs, Bailey coached cheer teams, hosted cheer camps and helped one-on-one. Several years ago, she started #CampReva, through which she helps with trainings and camps for cheerleaders.
Eventually, Bailey decided it was time to open her own gym in Hickory.
“I decided I’m going to do exactly what I want to do,” Bailey said.
Finding a location was difficult. She’d drive all over the county looking for a building with enough space, enough parking and a “For Lease” sign.
Then one day Bailey decided to drive by her old gym. In high school, she was a member of Magic Allstars for two years. The gym moved years ago, but Bailey decided to drive by just to see how big the building is, how much land there is, how much parking, and what else worked for that gym so she could look for a similar place.
When she pulled into the parking lot off First Avenue Southwest, she said her jaw dropped.
“I saw the ‘For Lease’ sign and I knew it was right,” Bailey said. “I said, ‘I’m going to open a gym here.’”
It fell into place. Shortly after signing the lease, Bailey had enough students for two teams.
She committed much of her time, energy and focus to the gym.
“Cheer is my life — there isn’t much in my life I put before cheer,” Bailey said.
Bailey got more cheer coaches to join the gym, and together they’re training the teams to go to the nationals competition.