The History of the Bailie Gymnastics Grips
After many years of being in the gymnastics community as competitors, coaches, and equipment representatives, Sam and Avelyn (Topsi) Bailie began the process of creating the “Bailie” line of gymnastics grips. The leading grip manufacturing company at the time was not only having some difficulty importing their products to the United States in a timely fashion, but their grip line was also only available in three sizes and two styles, leaving customers searching for another option.
The Bailies began asking colleagues and top-level competitors and coaches in the country what they would like to see in a new product line. With these opinions in mind, they developed a line of grips available in six sizes and a variety of styles to meet the needs of gymnasts of all ages and skill levels. They also were the first to develop basic palm grips with colorful velcro to make it even more fun for beginners to get their very first pair.
As the product line grew, they test-marketed the grips with gymnasts from beginners through Elites. At the request of Bela Karolyi, they designed and produced a customized grip for Kim Zmeskal, which she wore while becoming the first US All-Around World Champion. At the 1991 World Championships, five of the six US competitors were wearing Bailie grips. The Bailies also reached out to both the men and women’s National Teams, providing grips free of charge as often as they were requested.
They worked hard to develop a high-quality product for an affordable price. They offered a Dealer Program so that gymnastics clubs could stock the grips and make a profit in their own pro shops. They provided fast shipping and personal service, often making custom combinations to accommodate what coaches and gymnasts requested. As a result, the product line took off and grew in popularity each year. What had begun in their kitchen in Durango, Colorado, had them building a two story manufacturing facility just to keep up with the demand.
The entire Bailie family was involved in the company and the development of the Bailie products. Parents, Sam and Avelyn (Topsi) Bailie were in charge of manufacturing. Their son Steve and daughter Sharon worked with their parents on product design, and tested prototypes in their gym. Artist and son, Sam Bailie Jr., designed the company logo, and son Steve and his wife Tammy were in charge of sales and shipping.
After approximately ten years of manufacturing, Sam and Topsi were looking toward retirement. Sharon and Steve wanted to concentrate on running their gym in Draper, UT, and Sam Jr. was continuing his career as an artist, so they began to talk about selling the family business. When Paul Ziert, of Paul Ziert & Associates, Inc., expressed his interest in the company, the Bailies were very pleased. They were very proud of the products they had developed, and of the reputation they had cultivated with their clients, and Paul Ziert & Associates, Inc. wanted to market the grips under the “Bailie” name and logo. The Bailie’s product couldn’t be in better hands. Paul Ziert & Associates, Inc. has expanded the grips line while continuing to provide excellent service and maintaining a great reputation in the gymnastics community for over 15 years.