Family Martial Arts (FMA) Center

Family Martial Arts (FMA) Center: Joe Valentino, owner, 307 Main Street, 201-265-7000, open every day.

“I grew up in North Bergen and started in martial arts when I was 18. I was invited by a colleague to his karate ceremony and I was impressed. Since then I’ve studied judo, karate, akido, and cross-training, mostly with Japanese instructors. Family Martial Arts has classes in Shotokan karate, cardio kickboxing, and muay thai, which is a combat sport from Thailand, in the afternoon and the evenings. It’s very family-oriented—not only because we have classes for all ages, age three through adult, but also because several of our instructors were students here when they were younger. We have a movie night where parents can drop kids off at 6:30 PM for games, pizza, and a movie, while they get to have a date night. We try to accommodate parents as well as their kids. We’ve got comfortable chairs, wi-fi, coffee, even a washer-dryer if they want to do a load of laundry! Most of our clients come via word of mouth; we build relationships that last.

After operating in River Edge and New Milford for a number of years, we opened in this space, which is a former karate studio, on June 1st. I’ve got six employees, including my assistant, Andrea, who runs the day-to-day business. It’s great, because we have two storefronts and then two lower levels, so tons of space. There’s even a parking lot out back. The landlord is terrific, and I’m very optimistic about the future of the town. There are really good restaurants here, and they’re opening a performing arts center, plus a bunch of apartment buildings. Even the neighbors are nice.”