The Humble Beginnings of Carolina Gym Supply

Ben Edkins, owner and founder of Carolina Gym Supply, has gymnastics in his blood. He discovered gymnastics in junior high school and competed throughout senior high school. Ben went on to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he walked onto the Men’s Gymnastics team as a freshman. By his junior year, he was on scholarship and competing in the ‘All Around.’ During his senior year, he was named ‘Top All Arounder’ and received the Calhoun trophy for most dedicated team member.

After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, Ben spent about a year living, working, and training in Leverkusen, Germany; spending his weekends competing all over the country for KTG Osnabrück. He also competed in German University team championships for the Deutsche Sporthochschule in Cologne, his team placing third. After returning to the States, he continued to train and compete. He was a YMCA National Champion on pommel horse, long horse vault, and as a team member. If you are scratching your head wondering what on earth a long horse vault is-back when the dinosaurs roamed, men vaulted on what looked like a pommel horse without pommels, turned long ways. Needless to say, Ben is a young man trapped in an old man’s body.

As he dove deeper into the gymnastics world, Ben became more and more intrigued by the coaching and business side of the sport. He spent a year coaching the women’s team at Duke University, and founded the Durham YMCA Gym Club, as well as the Carolina Sport Art Gymnastics Center. Along the way, he started selling gym equipment from AMF American; the predecessor of AAI, as well as other companies. He quickly discovered that, although the apparatus might last a lifetime, mats would not. After selling various brands and trying to work with manufacturers to improve their products, Ben realized that if he wanted mats made right, he would have to do it himself.

Ben started operations in his garage where he worked with independent seamstresses to make the vinyl covers. He would then glue the needed foam together, stuff the mats, wrap them for shipping, and send them to his customers. Over time, demand for Ben’s mats began to rise and he rented an old barn to serve as a warehouse and manufacturing facility.

Almost 40 years later, we have upgraded to a manufacturing facility on the edge of Hillsborough, NC. We now have a full-time sewing team on-site making the phenomenal vinyl covers that Carolina Gym Supply is known for. Our warehouse team ensures that your mats are glued properly and wrapped securely for transport, whether it is across the street or overseas. We strive to continue Ben’s dedication to exceptional customer service with our knowledgeable and friendly sales team that is always willing to help. We will get you what you need and you can rest assured that you are getting the best service and gymnastics matting in the industry!