CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — While the pandemic is forcing many small businesses to cut back because of staffing shortages, one Miami Valley business owner is celebrating a new addition.

“This gym is everything for me. It’s my passion. It’s my life. I put everything that I own into this gym,” said Daniel Meza-Cuadra, owner of DMC Boxing Academy.

Against the odds, Meza-Cuadra has been able to keep his doors open during the pandemic.

“I did have to scale down the class. I limited the number of people in the class, I was wearing a mask, I made people wear masks. I lost a lot of people because a lot of people were reluctant to wear masks,” he said.

But with the help of supportive customers, he’s opening a new gym on 74 Marco Lane in Centerville later this month. His mission is not only to train, but to give back.

“I’m helping a lot of kids by giving them the opportunity to get out of the streets and do something they’re good at,” he said.

“It helps you with a lot of things especially if you’re not really that confident in yourself it helps you build a lot of self-confidence,” said Luca Neff, a 14-year-old student boxer.

The gym’s success is a bright spot for the Miami Valley, where many businesses were forced to close due to COVID-19.

“Some areas of challenges for them have been money management, managing the dollars they do have because of the slow down in work,” said John North, President & CEO of Dayton Better Business Bureau.

“Losing is always a possibility but it can be a choice too. I can stay down and lay down and be taken out on a stretcher or fight until the end and that’s my choice,” Meza-Cuadra said.