Covid claims another Webster business

4 Jul

The financial difficulties that the current pandemic is creating for our small businesses have hit close to home again. Yesterday, Dave Nicchitta and Mike Palmer officially announced that their East Main Street Jujitsu studio, Strike Back Martial Arts, will be closing.

In an email they sent to parents and students, they wrote,

Due to the financial issues associated with our closing during the current Coronavirus pandemic and an uncertain future (reopening date, another Covid spike in the fall) we are faced with this decision.

To say “thank you” is an understatement. For the past 7 years you have given us the privilege of working with you and your kids. We tried to create a family environment and make everyone feel like they were more to us than just customers who paid the invoices. We laughed, we cried and shared many accomplishments- all of which we will forever hold close to our hearts and in our memories. You stayed with us through our growing pains.

The closing of Strike Back is especially sad for me. For the last five years I’ve had the privilege of working with Dave, Mike and Pam Wright as a volunteer in the dojo’s Jujitsu Buddies classes for children with autism. I have come to consider them — and the rest of the Strike Back crew — family, and I will miss seeing them every week.

But more than that, Strike Back offered something unique in our area: Jujitsu programs for children and young adults with autism and Down syndrome.  Every week I witnessed first-hand what these classes did for these children.  I saw anxieties melt away and self-confidence bloom. I saw unbridled delight on the face of a child who accomplished a skill for the first time. I saw children start to believe in themselves and learn that if they just try, they will succeed.

With the loss of Strike Back, we’ve lost an important advocate for these children. My hope (however unrealistic it may be) is that this only a temporary setback, and when the world turns right side up again, I’ll get to see some of these kids again.

strike back

In this pre-Covid photo, (L-R) Dave Nicchitta, Pam Wright, Mike Palmer and I pose with some very proud Jujitsu Buddies students who are holding their participation certificates.

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