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Emporia, Dynamic Discs Featured in WSJ

Dynamic Discs store in Emporia, KS. Photo: Google Street View.

A Wall Street Journal article out today titled “America’s Main Street Revival Goes Into Reverse, Cutting a Small-Town Lifeline” focuses on Emporia, Kansas, and the on-going economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dynamic Discs is featured as a success story.

Dynamic Discs, a 15-year-old retailer and wholesaler of equipment for disc golf with 50 employees, has seen some unexpected gains. It has one of its four stores in Emporia, along with 25,000 square feet of warehouse space. It started planning for pay cuts and furloughs earlier this year. Then interest in the sport—similar to golf, but with discs and baskets instead of balls and clubs—took off as people looked for outdoor activities, owner Jeremy Rusco said.

Online sales have more than doubled. On the wholesale side, “the only reason we are not up more than 50% is that we can’t keep up with supply,” said Mr. Rusco, 37, who started the company as a hobby while attending Emporia State business school. He has hired about 15 new employees and signed a lease for a larger warehouse.

Plans for a new, larger store, in the works before the pandemic, are moving forward. The project will include three or four floors of hotel rooms, Commercial Street’s first since the 75-room Mit-Way Hotel closed in 1989.

Dynamic’s story is mirrored across the industry: disc manufacturers have been inundated with demand since the start of the pandemic and struggling to meet it despite maxed out production.

Other Emporia businesses have not been as fortunate. The loss of major tourism events — like the Glass Blown Open, which generated over $4.4 million in direct and indirect spending in Emporia in 2018, per the WSJ — have hit revenues at many of the stores that line Commercial Street alongside the Dynamic Discs retail store.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
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    Charlie Eisenhood is the publisher of Ultiworld Disc Golf.

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