FALLS CHURCH, Va. (DC News Now) — On Saturday, Ivy Smith will hold the grand re-opening of her family’s business, “Tennis String Theory.”
For Smith, stringing a tennis racket is second nature.
“I get in the zone,” Smith told DC News Now. “I’ll listen to music.”
A native of Northern Virginia and graduate of Robert E. Lee high school (now John R. Lewis high school in Springfield), the now 41-year-old learned how to string a racket from her father, Bert Jose.
A native of the Philippines and former tennis player, Jose opened a tennis and fitness store in the early 1970s.
“He didn’t really have any help, so I was his helper,” Smith said. “When I got older, he would teach me how to string.”
After many years by her father’s side, Smith time in the store appeared to be coming to an end, Jose decided he wanted to retire.
“He was trying to get rid of the business and I was there helping him clean up, pack stuff away, and I was like no,” Smith said. “I want to take it over.”
Taking over the business was not an easy task for Smith though, ten years ago, she suffered from a stroke.
“It just opened my eyes to realize how resilient I still am and I’m self motivated and I want to push through things,” Smith said. “I just figured I saw kind of myself in my dad and I’m like ok, I’m still here, I can still push it out and work hard and try to bring the legacy a little bit longer.”
Smith has three children, the youngest of whom is 11-years-old. She tells DC News Now that her 11-year-old helps in the store, just like she did as a youngster.
“Hopefully my kids can take over,” Smith said about the long term future of the store.
According to Smith, she is one of only three female tennis stringers in the country that she knows of.
Tennis String Theory, located at 7115 Leesburg Pike in Falls Church, Virginia, will hold its grand re-opening on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.