Marisa Nuñez, Marisa Hair, Long Island City, NY

Marissa Chunn and Lea Wells

We Rock the Spectrum

Orange Park, Florida

When you walk into We Rock the Spectrum gym, you are immediately struck by the red, blue and yellow color palette. Not only is it reminiscent of childhood, but there’s a special purpose behind it. “This environment is set up to be very sensory friendly, so the kids who do have sensory issues aren’t overwhelmed when they come in,” explained Marissa, one of the owners.

We Rock the Spectrum is designed to be an all-inclusive kid’s gym that serves all kinds of children – those that have special needs and those that don’t. Marissa and Lea both came up with the idea while working together at the same clinic. “We wanted kids with special needs to come in and have a safe environment to play, but also learn from kids who may not have special needs,” explained Marissa.


Yet, it was a long road from great idea to a physical space. After securing the franchise license and space, they needed a business plan, equipment, funding and, they needed to make renovations – which they did themselves. Between Lea’s job at the clinic, and Marissa working as active duty navy, the two worked like crazy for a year. Yet, they needed financing to get all the equipment and be ready for the opening. As a startup business, Marissa and Lea found it difficult to secure funding.

After applying at three banks, Lea and Marissa found Ascendua and the capital they needed. They opened their gym in December of 2016 after receiving an SBA 7a Community Advantage Loan. By February, they were already serving over 500 kids and continuing to grow. But the true impact of their business? It really comes down to helping an individual.


“My favorite story from our grand opening was this little boy who was terrified of trying the zip line. He tried 3 or 4 times, and then, finally, he got on it and he went down. He got down to the end and he’s crying at the end of the zip line. We tried to comfort him and say “You did it! You got to the end!” And we realized they were happy tears as he exclaimed, “I did it!” said Lea.

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