Former military veterans across the United States make a big impact on our economy, by owning small businesses.
According to the Small Business Administration, one in ten veterans are self-employed.
In Arroyo Grande, a female Army veteran and business owner credits the military for helping her achieve her dreams, while giving back to the community.
When it comes to her business, a kickboxing gym called '9Round', Stephanie Zatzke takes no punches.
“This was my plan, from day one when we got here. My first visit was Chamber of Commerce,”
In early 2020, Zatzke was days away from opening its doors.
Then the pandemic hit.
“We were about five days from our grand opening when everything shutdown. I had a pity party and you gotta pull yourself up and see what are we going to do,” said Zatzke.
While so many businesses shuttered, Zatzke's somehow thrived. “I didn’t have an option, you just go. you do the best you can. you have a good team around you.”
Zatzke worked for the federal government for 21 years - 8 of those in the army and credits that for her thick skin and determination.
Zatzke said, “Having a positive attitude, knowing what your objective is, and being able to pivot and pick good people to be in the right the right place, the military definitely set me up for success for being a first-time business owner.”
Her client base only grew amid the shutdowns and restrictions, creating a sense community during a very difficult time.
“This is huge in keeping people healthy and actually doing something that’s going to benefit them. maybe she didn’t think it was the best timing but - it was the best timing for some of us for sure," said Shannon Galvan, 9Round patron.
Another gym-goer, Susan Mayer said, "She kind of treats us all like family. You know after the workout, we talk about our family so it definitely is a community."
Zatzke now finds herself ready for yet another role.
“You know, our Chamber of Commerce, is very involved here and I actually joined the Board of Directors because of the support that they provided me through the pandemic and through the multiple closures and our uncertainty, so i can help other businesses, who might be struggling in the future. ”
9round prides itself on being inclusive and will tailor workouts according to age or athletic abilities.
Find out more about 9Round here.