PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The early stages of the pandemic were devastating for the nation’s Black-owned businesses. Almost half failed before the summer of 2020. While the coronavirus infection numbers are moving in the wrong direction, there’s been a stunning turnaround for the birth of new Black-owned businesses.
A recent report prepared by the Kauffman Foundation revealed a surge in Black-owned businesses, the likes of which, have not been seen in 25 years.
Shewmake Velocity in Portsmouth is part of the promising trend.
From an unassuming building in Portsmouth, the owners of Shew Velocity sportsplex say they can build the next generation of 757 sports superstars.
“This is going to be the first of its kind in this area where we support basketball, track, soccer, baseball, softball, weight lifting, and competitions for kids all kinds of things,” said Chief Executive Officer Joshua Shewmake.
In these pandemic times, Shewmake and his partners will open a sportsplex for young athletes. Neighboring cities have advanced sports training facilities; until now, Portsmouth did not.
“If they wanted kids here to get better, they had to travel all the way to Virginia Beach or all the way to deep Chesapeake or Williamsburg,” said Shewmake.
Beginning on September 11, members of the Churchland baseball teams, who are also AAU players, can get one-on-one training to fine-tune their skills on the diamond.
Anthony Hayes is the new company’s, Chief Operating Officer. He says it’s not unusual to meet parents who are convinced their child is destined for Division 1 programs.
He hopes to bring them to reality by partnering young athletes with experienced trainers.
“That’s when you need that training because he is going to make sure the nutrition is right; he is going to make sure the body is right, and he is going to train those target muscles needed for each sport,” said Hayes.
High school sports have already taken a pandemic hit. Football games were canceled last week because of coronavirus infections. Because of community spread, Shew Velocity is promising to keep the staff, athletes, and spectators safe. Multiple business owner Whitteney Guyton is the facility’s, Chief Financial Officer.
“We are making sure that masks are being worn by spectators things like that as much as we love our parents we are limiting them from coming in just to sit, said Guyton.
Vaccinations are not required, but are recommended. Each athlete will be screened for potential COVID-19 exposure before every visit. It will resemble the screenings that take place at the entrances of public facilities such as court buildings.
Shew Velocity athletes have their sights on division one. Kamareon Young is taking aim at a Division 1 baseball program.
“Where do I really want to go? I want to go to Vanderbilt; they have an excellent baseball program and I want to go professional; that’s where I want to go to get better,” said Young.
Shew Velocity is working on a website but those interested in learning more about the program can contact Joshua Shewmake at 757-672-6923