Welcome to our new series, Small Business Spotlight, where we tell the stories behind local businesses that partner with Gift Uncommon. In this installment we interview Andrea Muccini, owner and founder of The Ultimate Self Defense & Performance Center in South Boston. We discuss what led her to form the business, why she chose Southie, and what some of the positives are of running a small business.
Read our interview highlights below and watch the video to see Andrea (and her students) in action.
What inspired you to start your business?
I started martial arts as an activity, then the place I was training closed. Not too long after, one of my fellow students said that he really wanted to get his black belt and asked if I could help him. I said okay. At the time, I was working as a physical therapist in South Boston. I said, “Let’s see if the landlord will let us use the basement.” Lo and behold, this 16 year old student and I started rehabbing this basement in South Boston. Then the business started and I thought, “Wow…we’re creating something new here that’s fun, that other kids might enjoy, and that might benefit the community.”
Why did you choose Southie as a home base?
I found Southie by accident. I started living here and I happened to work on Broadway in a physical therapy outpatient clinic. That’s how it started. The reason why I stayed in Southie is because I felt like I found my people. I grew up out West and when I moved to South Boston I thought, “Wow…I really feel comfortable here.”
What are the biggest positives of running your own business?
It’s really hard! And because it’s my “afterschool activity” (I have a full-time job as a physical therapist) I’m just going at it all the time. But I get to meet people up close and personal – I get to meet all the great people that live here in South Boston.
Tell us about your scholarship fund.
I started the Mixed Marital Arts Scholarship fund because we never turn anyone away. Everyone can come and train – the door is always open. We got the non-profit going so any child that wants to train in the City of Boston can enjoy martial arts.
What else should we know?
What I really like about this business is that it’s focused on the family. A lot of our families come and train together. To see Mom, Dad, and the kids doing judo together or Brazilian jiu-jitsu or taking karate classes…the family that trains together, stays together. That’s what I really like.