National Black Business Month: Punches n’ Bunches boxing studio
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - August is National Black Business month and one Black-owned boxing studio is hoping it’s making a different and setting the tone for other Black entrepreneurs who want to get into that side of the fitness industry.
“Me personally, I don’t really have a lot of issues, but I like it. It helps us to stand out more, actually set the tone for other Black businesses to come,” Tramaine Crook, co-owner of Punches n’ Bunches Boxing Studio in Nashville.
The history of National Black Business month can be traced back to 2014 and the purpose is to celebrate, highlight and empower Black-owned businesses.
Crook said his gym is one of about 20 boxing gyms in the Nashville area. The Nashville Chamber of Commerce said there are about 130 businesses that are gyms in the Nashville area.
Crook said being in a space where there aren’t a lot of owners that look like him serves as motivation.
“The atmosphere in my gym, we have people ranging from fighters all the way down to children,” Crook said.
And at Punches n’ Bunches, it’s more than just nailing that 1-2 punch. There’s also a hook.
“We pride ourselves in being a mental health base fitness boxing gym. What that means is we don’t necessarily focus on the competition side of boxing, we focus more on the mental side of it. The benefit that it can offer you as any type of person coming into our doors,” Crook said.
Once you walk in their doors, a face you may sometimes see is Crook, one of the owners.
“It’s definitely interesting territory because it’s a lot of times when we have our, I guess you can say, meet ups and things in the fitness industry. You don’t really see too many people that look like me that sit in my seat,” Crook said.
That reason is something that pushes him to help open doors for others like him in an industry he describes as predominantly white fitness industry.
“I also like to set the tone for Black trainers who may want to get into the role of being Black business owners, to have something to go by and just be able to connect with them,” Crook said.
Punches n’ Bunches opened just before the pandemic, but the boxing studio was able to stay afloat by getting creative with the support of some clients.
“We lost a lot of members, but we also have members who were willing to pay a year in advance to keep us open because they enjoyed coming here so much,” Crook said. “It was interesting times, but we made it through.”
Now as the gym grows, it faces another fight – inflation.
“The rates that we had prior to now were a little cheaper. We had to increase them a little bit, but not to the point that we had to sit down and have a conversation about why we were doing it,” Crook said. “They totally understood.”
Ready to go several rounds, the owner of the boxing gym has this advice for aspiring Black entrepreneurs.
“Stay in your lane, focus on your passion and just enjoy it. You got to enjoy what you do,” Crook said.
He also encouraged people to support Black businesses, not just this month alone.
Earlier this year Metro Council approved about $20 million to create the Small Business Recovery Fund and with those funds emphasis was made on that money helping out minority-owned businesses in Nashville, especially in North Nashville.
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