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Just about every industry has been impacted negatively but those who rely on one-on-one interaction with the public were hurt the most. From being shut down completely, to being able to re-open but with limited occupancy and strict rules and guidelines in place, it's made it extremely difficult to start the recovery process. While most of the focus is on restaurants, bars and larger gyms, we can't forget about the smaller businesses and niche companies like B.A.S.E., Buffalo All-Star Extreme. B.A.S.E. is a competitive cheer organization that has their own gyms one in Buffalo and another in Niagara Falls. It's a place where youth can be a part of an amazing competitive dance and cheer cheer team that competes around the country in different categories and age groups. Their programs not only allow youth to participate in the sport, but they also learn togetherness, social skills, organizational skills, community awareness and more. My daughter is a part of the program so I know firsthand how much it means to her and the community.

Ayanna Williams is the owner of B.A.S.E and throughout the pandemic, I've seen Ayanna constantly re-vamp the program and keep parents updated about changes and new implementations due to Covid. One thing I didn't see Ayanna do however, is ceasing believing in her program and give up. I sat down with Ayanna to talk about some of the obstacles she's faced and overcome with keeping the doors to B.A.S.E. open, advise she has fo other businesses facing the same struggles and the future of B.A.S.E.

REDDROXX: Hey Ayanna! Thank you for sitting down with me. To start, how long has B.A.S.E. been in existence?
AYANNA WILLIAMS: 2013 (8 years)
RR: That's an amazing run! What's some of the previous hurdles you've had to overcome with B.A.S.E. pre-pandemic?
AW: The toughest hurdle outside of financials would be getting people to understand that Competitive cheer is a sport and not girls cheering on other sports. The 2nd thing would most definitely be the lack of respect we (Black Cheerleaders) get at competitions when it comes to judging.
RR: That has to be tough, but it definitely seems like you're doing a great job changing that narrative so salute! What were your first thoughts when the Pandemic hit?
AW: Initially I was thankful for a break. But after a few months, I got worried about not having enough savings to guarantee a place for my athletes to return to.
RR: You're a busy woman so I can understand that. Once reality started to set in though, what kept you positive and hopeful to be able to get back to business?
AW: The constant inboxes and phone calls from both parents and athletes. I knew rain, sleet, hail, or snow, I had to find a way to get back in business.
RR: That's amazing, I'm happy you had that push and support. Even though things weren't back to normal when you were able to open again, how did it feel? Were you worried at all? Excited to be back?
AW: Day one was sad.  Just knowing I couldn’t except every athlete back. The government only allowed 50% capacity. So we went from 206 athletes to 100. Although, we are very blessed and I am super thankful to have been given the green light, I truly miss the other children so much.  It’s so unfair. Registration was on a first come first serve basis.  Some parents don’t have transportation and just couldn’t make it that day.
RR: That had to be tough but given the circumstances I'm sure they could understand. Once doors were back open, what provisions have you had to implement to keep everyone safe?
AW: We clean in between classes and deep clean building weekly, temperatures are taken at the door, a mask is mandatory, sanitization upon entering and departing each class and lastly no parents allowed.
RR: Good to know safety is a priority for B.A.S.E.! Are there any financial strategies or other things you had to implement to ensure your doors were able to re-open?
AW: For starters, I secured a loan that would cover the rent for the season. I then chose to work more personally to save on payroll. BASE now offers more classes with a smaller ratio.  It’s working thus far.  I’m tired but we are still afloat.
RR: Sounds like ingenuity at it's finest! What piece of advice could you lend to other businesses trying to adjust to the current state of the world?
AW: Don't give up. If and when you make it through this, you’ll be able to make it through anything.  Downsize, re-invent, add on, take away..... do whatever you need to do to get through this storm.
RR: That's all really great advice, thank you.  Do you think some of the adjustments made to your B.A.S.E. that would be ongoing after this is all over? If so what are they?
AW Yes. Offering classes.  I realize now everyone doesn’t want to be on a competitive team. Some people want to be a part of the Base family.  Which means offering classes such as Tumbling and other styles of dance.  Things we didn’t really offer before, have helped keep our doors wide open.
RR: How cool, seems like that addition made perfect sense. Do you have any exciting future plans for B.A.S.E.?
AW: We are preparing to take you behind the scenes with our athletes.  You get to see the god bad and the ugly. Base cheer & dance will be launching our own YouTube channel by Summer 2021.
RR: Wow! Congrats! I can't wait to tune in. In the meantime,  how can readers follow and support the B.A.S.E. Program?
AW: Follow us on all social media platforms as BuffaloAllStarExtreme or our websitewww.buffaloAllStarExtreme.com
Thank you Ayanna! Wish you all the best and continues success for B.A.S.E. and all of your future endeavors!

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Make sure you support B.A.S.E. with all their current and future endeavors. To get more information about their programs and classes, Buffalo All-Star Extreme is located at 1245 Main St. Buffalo, NY 14209, and their number is 716-217-0231.

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