Hilliard’s small business struggling with pandemic

Team Players TKD in Hilliard said the cost of the pandemic was wreaking havoc.

HILLIARD, Ohio – In this pandemic, the small businesses that donate the most are suffering the most.

This is the case of Team Players TKD at Hilliard.

When you first walk in, the first thing you’ll notice are all the photos on all the walls. Many of the children pictured in the photos set themselves pretty ambitious goals and have since achieved them.

“They come here, they often think to learn how to kick and punch,” said Robert Irvin, founder of Team Players TKD. “At the end of the day, that’s the smallest part of what they get.”

Irvin pointed to a photo of a young girl named Deena. He said she was a student here for 16 years.

“She told me when she was little that she was going to grow up to be a brain surgeon. At the age of 21, she was published in the New England Journal of Medicine,” he said.

Irvin has been teaching judo and martial arts here for 22 years. He never intended to do that. Originally, he opened the studio because he needed a place to prepare to train for the Olympics.

Although he didn’t make it to the rings, he got a reward bigger than any medal.

A community that knows its name because it remembers the name of every child it meets.

“He knows every child’s name when they walk through that door,” said Theresa McClinton.

McClinton said two of his daughters learned valuable life lessons from Irvin.

“This feeling of empowering children and making them feel like they are in control of their destiny and their choices and that there is more inside of them than they realize. it’s there and it helps show them it’s there and helps them bring it out. “she said.

Irvin had thousands of students from all over central Ohio and from all walks of life.

It offers scholarships so that the cost is not a barrier.

But now the cost of the pandemic is wreaking havoc.

“Not seeing this place, it would feel like a piece of Hilliard is missing,” McClinton said.

Registrations have halved and it is not enough to keep the doors open.

The struggle to return to pre-pandemic profits is felt by so many small business owners.

“If each of these business owners were forced to close their doors, the heart and soul of our community would truly disappear,” said McClinton.

Irvin isn’t ready to let go.

“Can you imagine being selected to help guide someone else’s child through life? ” He asked.

Give up your goal of leaving an imprint in your community.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” he said.

McClinton and others are mobilizing to make sure these doors stay open for good. Theresa works in marketing and she actually lends some of her talents to redesigning a new website for the company.

There is also a GoFundMe for TKD team players here.

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