MINNEAPOLIS, MN (WCCO) — A Minnesota couple says they are not waiting for the pandemic to decide what is next for their business. They plan to turn their axe-throwing entertainment business mobile and travel out of state to make it profitable.
Even though Gov. Tim Walz loosened COVID-19 restrictions for entertainment businesses this week, Dustin and Niki Knight decided it wasn’t enough. They opened their business amid the pandemic, and therefore don’t qualify for relief. They say they’re doing what they can to keep their dream alive.
“We don’t want to leave Minnesota,” Niki Knight said. “It’s just our option.”
The couple got married in February and opened their business, U.S. Axe, in Alexandria in March. Days later, Minnesota’s lockdown went into effect in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. Eventually, limited business resumed with lifted restrictions over the summer. The Knights hired staff and operations expanded with a location in St. Cloud.
But less than a month after opening the St. Cloud location, restrictions tightened.
“Everything we put into that business, we just watched it all just disappear,” Dustin Knight said. “The minute that that decision came, the phone just started ringing off the hook with people backing out, cancelling.”
With holiday cancellations, the Knights turned their focus from brick-and-mortar to mobile, creating a fenced-in, axe-throwing cage on wheels.
“We’re selling everything we can’t take with us,” Dustin Knight said. “We’re using every resource we have.”
The couple is hitting the road — with their dogs on board — until Minnesota is fully open again.
“A temporary leave,” Dustin Knight said. “[Minnesota] is our home.”
The Knights say they are pre-booking gigs in Tampa Bay, Florida, for Super Bowl week and hope to have work during the Dayton 500.
The couple plans to keep their two brick-and-mortar locations, their seven staff members, and to expand mobile options in the future.
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