For a small city, Union City has more than a dozen martial art schools and fitness facilities. But until recently, there wasn’t a specialty store focused solely on gear and clothing.
Located at 31080 Union City Blvd., #102 in the Old Alvarado district, the shop specializes in clothing and fitness gear for those who practice MMA, jiu jitsu, Muay Thai, yoga and zumba. Though the store is small, you’re sure to find whatever it is you need, be it yoga pants, MMA gloves and shin guards, sparring helmets or gis. They carry a variety of brands, including Fairtex and Hayabusa, a brand worn by professional fighters.
Owners Sharon Jaochico and Stephen Ancheta said they opened the shop out of sheer necessity.
"Around here, you don’t see a lot of MMA and fitness shops, even though just around us we have about five gyms,” Ancheta said.
It’s true. Take a quick drive down Union City Boulevard and Smith street and you’ll see Roots Kickboxing, MAC Self Defense, Ernie Reyes West Coast Martial Arts, Manila Taekwondo, the Union City Sports Center and Worlds Yoga.
But, according to Ancheta and Jaochico, they’re the only specialty shop in town.
And who better to run a fitness shop than people who practice what they sell?
Ancheta has practiced martial arts his entire life, with the last six years focused on MMA. He does it to keep an active lifestyle. He said it helps with cardio and to relieve stress. Jaochico also has dabbled in martial arts and practices yoga and zumba. Their combined knowledge make for a better customer experience.
“We can give them more personal information when it comes to finding the right gear,” Ancheta said.
While MMA may be a popular activity, they’re not trying to capitalize on a trend. They do it because it’s what they’re passionate about.
Both Ancheta and Jaochico work professional day jobs. One’s a program manager at a tech company, the other a social services supervisor. When they’re off the clock, they come to the shop, which is the main reason for their limited hours — Monday through Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.
In the evenings, you’ll find the two behind the counter, or on the mat in the sparring room. While the punching bag and boxing dummy are set up for customers to test out their gear, it’s also where Ancheta and Jaochico get their exercise in.
Though the store opened in May, they will be holding the store’s official grand opening this Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. All items will be 10 percent off for the day.
Since May, they’ve been slowly adding new inventory, including their own store-branded hoodies and t-shirts.
“We’re doing it one step at a time,” Jaochico said.
One the Ground MMA and Fitness is located at 31080 Union City Blvd., #102. It is open Monday through Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.
For more information, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OnTheGroundMmaFitnessShop.