COVID-19 affected small businesses of all shapes and sizes. But while some industries, such as hospitality, could pivot, others, like gyms and health clubs, were closed altogether.

“We are a fully functioning gym built to train pro wrestlers,” explained Joseph Byrd, owner of Pure Pro Wrestling (PPW). “But the lock-down meant we lost all of our revenue and left our clientele with limited options for instruction and workouts. Pro wrestling is a high-impact, high-contact sport – you can’t just learn it from a Peloton.”

Byrd continued, “With the help of the Michigan Small Business Development Center (MI-SBDC), we used the pandemic as a time to re-evaluate our service offering and envision what reopening might look like. The combination of grants and our savings allowed us to reopen successfully while moving from a pole barn to an expanded, full training facility on the farm grounds.”

Post-pandemic, the MI-SBDC’s Janis Mueller has assisted Byrd with counsel on hiring and managing employees, managing cash flow, marketing and sales, help with business planning and more.

Today Pure Pro Wrestling is Michigan’s largest and only touring brand of professional wrestling. For nearly 20 years, PPW has produced family-friendly live vents and has trained some of the finest wrestlers in the Midwest. Past students have gone on to perform for the WWE, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Evolve and several major independent pro wrestling companies. PPW’s training program takes great pride in providing professional coaching for an affordable price. Their passionate and experienced coaching staff is committed to helping each student, adult or child, achieve their goals.

In summary, according to Byrd, “COVID-19 was actually a blessing in disguise. We are still very proud to support our local community by continuing to have a significant presence as a midway attraction at the Genesee County Fair. At the same time, however, we are scaling our business by participating in more, larger events such as arena shows, and are about to sign a deal with a television live streaming service. Now that we’ve expanded, we have increased revenues and income and can have a greater impact on our community and world.”

Learn more about Pure Pro Wrestling here.


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