HELENA — We're used to hearing stories of businesses closing due to the pandemic, but this week, the Helena community welcomed a new business that may not have opened if not for the pandemic.
Starting a Brazilian jiujitsu business has always been a dream for Tony Butler.
“I've wanted to have my own place where, you know, I can teach some leadership skills to young people,” he said. “We can coach; we can have a good time. It's just a dream. You know, something I've always wanted to do."
Butler accomplished this dream on Saturday, when he and his family hosted their grand opening of Bear Hug Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Helena.
“What happened was COVID-19 hit back in March, and I was teaching jiujitsu at another school across town and they closed down for a number of months,” said Butler. “I hardly heard back from them again. I kind of started thinking about opening a place that was really focused on kids and having a veterans program and so I looked around and I met the landlord who owns this building."
The building is located at 685 Barney Street in Helena. Butler and the landowner came into an agreement that Bear Hug would open temporarily on one side of the building, while the other side gets constructed into a fully landscaped jiujitsu studio with space for other businesses. Butler hopes the pandemic will lay a strong foundation for 2021.
“It's important that we don't give in to fear and don't give in to all the bad things that might happen,” he said. “We've got to have hope for the future, we gotta make plans for the future now. My thought was, if I can start a business now in the middle of the worst pandemic out there, that come into 2021, when hopefully things will start to ease up a little bit, then we will have a strong business and it will just grow from there."
Bear Hug is hopeful they will be able to move into their new location within the next few months. To learn more, click here to visit the website.