LAKE MARY, Fla. - Florida reached phase three of its reopening following the coronavirus pandemic quarantine months ago; whereas, Minnesota just started allowing indoor, entertainment-type businesses to open at 25% capacity in mid-January.
Because of that disparity and the two complete shutdowns before it, one young couple who opened a new axe-throwing experience decided to take their show on the road. Niki and Dustin Knight headed to Florida for sunshine, freedom, and opportunity.
"For the Super Bowl, we were in Tampa so we did some mobile stuff there in Tampa. Then we came here for the Daytona 500," Niki said.
On Wednesday afternoon, they were busy looking for a spot to set up United States Axe’s mobile rig. They’re going where the potential crowds are that’s why they’re in Daytona this week leading up to NASCAR’s biggest race.
"It was just the right move," Dustin said.
The couple’s business is only a year old. Their brick and mortar business sits in Alexandria, Minnesota, and it’s already been put to the test. The first challenge came on what should have been their grand opening weekend.
"We were about to open and had everything ready to rock and the shutdown happened," Niki told FOX 35 News.
So they started getting creative. They had their contractor build them a mobile axe-throwing rig for summer.
"So when things started to open back up just a little bit, we did some outdoor stuff," Niki said.
With all the interest U.S. Axe’s first location and mobile rig were getting, they rolled the dice and decided to open a second brick and mortar location in Minnesota.
"And then the shutdown happened about one-and-a-half weeks after our second location opened," Niki said.
At that point, U.S. Axe’s mobile rig was collecting snow and icicles, not making any money, so they decided to hit the road.
"We sold most of our stuff, most of our vehicles, got rid of where we were living, and moved into a truck camper," Niki said.
The couple had a team-building gig with a small business as they traveled south. Their company truck and mobile rig are rolling advertising. Everywhere they stop to practice their own ax throwing, people get curious.
"People saw us throwing axes and were like we want in on this," Niki said.
They’re making new friends and picking up new business every day. Next week, they’ve got a few restaurants in Jacksonville booked. They’re loving the weather so much and the freedom in Florida, they’re looking at possibly setting up a permanent U.S. Axe in the Sunshine State, targeting a couple of different cities.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.