by Heidi Riley
The Charlottetown Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Society is a non-profit organization started by six Islanders who wanted to share their love of the sport in a family-friendly environment. The studio opened in November at 150 Kent Street in Charlottetown.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art that can be practiced by all age groups. “With the growth in popularity of mixed martial arts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is becoming better known,” says Miles MacPhee, President of the Charlottetown Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Society.
“It is a low-impact sport with an emphasis on positional hierarchy and submission holds, so it is a safe sport for everyone. It’s great for kids and adults because it’s mentally stimulating but it’s also good exercise.
“We chose to open in Charlottetown because we all live in the area and there were no local facilities teaching Brazilian jiu-jitsu in downtown Charlottetown.”
Opening a new business during COVID-19
“The idea for this business started at about the same time the pandemic started. We took our time and made plans over the summer. It turned out well, because some of the restrictions around contact sports were lifted in October, which gave us a bit more room to work within our COVID management plan.
“There have been a few extra expenses like hand sanitizer and other precautions. We have restrictions to respect social distancing and maximum capacity. We were able to work through those few roadblocks, and hopefully things will keep improving and we will continue to operate.”
A unique business plan
Six investors pitched in equally to get the business started without outside financial help. They include:
- a federal government Carpenter with project management experience
- a Crown Attorney to help with legal work
- a local Charlottetown business owner
- a Nurse handles the COVID-19 management
- a Police Officer who has a good reputation in the community, and spouse who helps with the financials
- a Highway Safety Officer who has a good reputation in the community
“We built our own super team and we have all our bases covered with the expertise each investor brings to the table,” says Miles.
The organization is run on a volunteer basis by the six investors, who also instruct the classes. “All the money we make stays within the organization,” says Miles. “We will use the funds to upgrade our facility and offer more merchandise. When COVID-19 travel restrictions ease, we will also send people to tournaments and pay for registration, bring people from other provinces to run seminars, bring in guest instructors, and promote the sport.
“We may do some hiring in the future. We will see how the first few months go. We may hire instructors, front desk workers, and cleaners who could be paid in class instruction time.
“We are all passionate about the sport, and we all have children who train too. We hope to play a big part in the promotion of the sport on PEI, and we want to give back to the community as well. We have community memberships available for children who otherwise couldn’t afford to participate. If any parents reading this article have children who would like to try but are worried they can’t manage the cost, please reach out to us.”
As they designed their business plan, the investors consulted with the president of the Halifax location of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Society, which opened three years ago. “They were our business model and guide, and we referred to them a lot for advice. They plan to visit PEI to train and to continue our good relationship.
“We are overwhelmed with the great response we are getting with the number of people who showed up within the first few days of opening in Charlottetown. It is looking good so far.”
For more information, call 902-201-4848 or visit www.charlottetownbjj.com.