Success Story: Connecticut

Integrity Martial Arts is a martial arts studio in Enfield, Connecticut that’s having a big impact on its students. Respect, self-control, and discipline — these are the founding principles owner Jonathan Metcalf teaches the young people who are enrolled in his classes.

Jonathan began working with CTSBDC advisor Denise Whitford in 2016, and since then he has been able to successfully grow his business through her advice, support, and guidance. Anticipating the state-mandated closure of non-essential businesses due to COVID-19, Integrity Martial Arts immediately shifted to serving its customers online. Click To Tweet In fact, since the beginning of the pandemic, the business has been able to maintain its customer base and find new opportunities to keep growing.

“Working with Jonathan has afforded me a dynamic view of his business challenges and opportunities,” stated Denise. “Yet when the impacts of COVID-19 forced him to close the doors for the safety of his instructors and his clients, he immediately pivoted his classes to a virtual setting. Although working in a virtual setting was not a new path for him, converting his martial arts studio was definitely outside the box.”

Integrity Martial Arts has received both the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, and has been able to not only obtain the loans but to determine how best to apply them  moving forward. This has enabled Jonathan to keep his 12 employees paid and cared for, as well continuing to offer classes to his students.

“Go slow, but don’t go backwards,” cautioned Metcalf. “We will be making decisions week-by-week and will look to be behind the curve just a bit, to ensure we are doing our part to slow the spread and prevent re-occurrence. We will take the lessons we have learned and look to implement them into our business for the future.”

Looking to the future

As for his plans once he’s able to reopen? Jonathan shared that he will continue to evaluate how to leverage online services. Because of social distancing, he was unable to hold the scheduled black belt test planned for his students and will look to reschedule that while adhering to “the new normal.”

On the future of Integrity Martial Arts, Denise shared: “Jonathan’s pivot included investing his time and money to provide great content and a better value for his customers in this challenging time. He has combined both short-term and long-term adjustments into his online presence with his existing client,s and he’s even attracted some news ones too. That kind of doubling down takes courage, but it will provide an edge in the months after the COVID-19 lockdown period and when we return to normality.”

To learn more about Integrity Martial Arts, visit integritymartialarts.com. To learn more about the Connecticut SBDC, visit ctsbdc.com, and to find your nearest SBDC click here.