Hilliard small enterprise struggling because of pandemic

Team Players TKD in Hilliard said the cost of the pandemic is taking its toll.

HILLIARD, Ohio – In this pandemic, the small businesses that give the most suffer the most.

That is the case with the team players TKD in Hilliard.

The first thing you will notice when you walk in are all the photos on all the walls. Many of the children shown in the photos have set themselves pretty big goals here and have achieved them since then.

“They come here and often think I think they are learning to kick and punch,” said Robert Irvin, founder of Team Players TKD. “Ultimately, it’s the smallest part of what you 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 a little kid that she was going to be a brain surgeon. When she was 21 it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine,” he said.

Irvin has been teaching judo and martial arts here for 22 years. It was never his plan to do so. He originally opened the studio because he needed a place to prepare for the Olympics.

Although he failed to make it to the rings, he received a reward greater than any medal could offer.

A community that knows his name because he remembers the names of every child he meets.

“He knows the name of every single child when they come through that door,” said Theresa McClinton.

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

“This feeling of empowering the children and making them feel that they are in control of their fate and decisions and that there is more in them than they know, and it helps them show that it is there and helps them to bring this out. ”She said.

Irvin had thousands of students from all over central Ohio and from various backgrounds.

He offers scholarships, so the cost is not an obstacle.

But now the cost of the pandemic is taking its toll.

“When you don’t see this place it feels like a piece of Hilliard is missing,” said McClinton.

Enrollment has halved and it is not enough to keep the doors open.

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

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

Irvin is not ready to let go.

“Imagine if you could be chosen to lead someone else’s child in life?” he asked.

To give up his goal, to leave his mark on his community.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” he said.

McClinton and others sit together to make sure these doors stay open forever. Theresa is involved in marketing and she is sharing some of her talents to redesign a new website for the company.

There is also a GoFundMe for team players TKD.

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