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Omaha Magazine

Gliding to Success

Jan 25, 2023 12:22PM ● By Ryan Borchers
Nate Clark. Disc Store.

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

One flying disc—or “frisbee,” if you’re not sensitive about potential copyright issues—may seem as good as any other if you’re playing a casual game of catch in the yard. 

Disc Store, a locally owned business that opened its new retail store and warehouse in Elkhorn, boasts a recent run of success that reduces that assumption to mere spin. The company has capitalized on the specialization of discs for sport by greatly expanding its inventory, helping boost its online sales worldwide.

Nate Clark, the disc golf department head for Disc Store, said the business’ relocation in May 2022 was necessary as it had outgrown its previous space—an older building on 72nd Street just south of Dodge. The new location is approximately 23,000 square feet.

Disc Store began life in 2008 in the Concordia University dorm room of Chris Whirrett, the owner of Extra Mile E-Commerce, the parent company of Disc Store. Extra Mile also sells basketball hoops, corn hole sets, backyard ice rinks, and other sports-related products.

“I played Ultimate Frisbee all the time in college, and at the time there wasn’t a good place to get just one frisbee since you had to buy a box of 75 of them to get the good quality discs we liked to play with,” Whirrett said. “So I bought a box of 75 and built a little website to start selling them.”

Today, Disc Store is the largest retailer of Ultimate Frisbee—officially known as Ultimate—products in the country, having sold almost 2 million discs while shipping to 190 countries.
Ultimate is a 7-on-7 team sport that resembles non-contact football. The object of the game is to advance down field and score by reaching the opponent’s end zone. The game is a familiar sight on playgrounds and in gym classes, but it’s also played semi-professionally and internationally.

Disc Store caters to Ultimate aficionados by selling a wide variety of equipment and apparel, such as jerseys, gloves, and bags for carrying equipment. And, of course, it sells discs. Clark estimates the store has close to 40,000 discs on the shelf, though online business produces most of the 
business’ revenue.

“We have around 200,000 discs in stock at any given time,” Whirrett said.

Disc golf is the other primary sport for which Disc Store sells merchandise. Just as in traditional golf, the disc golf player seeks to advance their projectile over long distances in the fewest number of strokes possible. In disc golf, however, the player is throwing flying discs toward wire baskets.

Disc Store saw record profits in 2020, driven in large part by disc golf’s surge in popularity. “It’s a sport you can play outside, socially distanced,” Clark said, which made it a perfect pandemic sport. 

A disc golfer can complete an entire round with one disc. But similar to how regular golfers use a variety of clubs for different terrains and distances from the hole, serious disc golfers use a variety of specialized discs for different needs. Clark said he carries up to 36 discs to competitions.

Flatter discs with sharper edges tend to fly farther and faster, making them better for long shots. Deeper discs with rounder edges, such as putters, are more likely to fly straighter and land more softly—just what a player needs close to the basket. Aside from their aerodynamics, discs can be distinguished by any number of features, such as how they feel in one’s hands, how well they perform with a given throwing motion, how durable they are, etc.

Aesthetics are important, too, which is why Disc Store sells discs in a wide array of colors and prints. The store cuts out the middleman by directly working with and sourcing from manufacturers, which allows it to price match against the competition and turn around orders in a timely fashion, Clark said. 

“We get things into customers’ hands as [quickly] as possible,” Clark said.

Ultimately, though, Disc Store and Extra Mile’s rapid growth, and by extension Disc Store’s move to Elkhorn, is attributable to a put-the-customer-first attitude.

“Our obsession [is] going the extra mile for every customer,” Whirrett said. 

Visit discstore.com for more information.

This article originally appeared in the February/March 2023 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  
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