How this Play It Again Sports Store Boosted the Local Economy and Won Big with Disc Golf
Jonesboro, Arkansas recently received an economic shot in the arm thanks in part to its Play It Again Sports store owned by Cameron Campbell. Cameron, a first-time franchisee in his first year of owning the new and used sports equipment store, decided Play It Again Sports would be the title sponsor for the Jonesboro Open, a major event on the disc golf tournament circuit.
Sponsoring a big event is just part of being a good business neighbor. Cameron said the community supports his Play It Again Sports store, so he supports events that benefit his city. Play It Again Sports of Jonesboro also sponsors youth soccer and baseball tournaments along with baseball, football and soccer fields. The store has also been a sponsor of the Cardinals Caravan stop in Jonesboro. The caravan features a handful of past and present St. Louis Cardinals players who visit towns for meet and greets.
“It’s important to put your name on those things so that people realize your business is helping support them,” Cameron said.
Becoming the title sponsor of the Jonesboro Open made perfect sense to Cameron, who also owns a party equipment rental business and a retail fireworks business: Just as Play It Again Sports of Jonesboro is a significant supplier of equipment to local youth baseball, football, soccer and softball teams, the store also carries the largest amount of discs and disc golf supplies in northeast Arkansas. And, similar to the relationships he’s forged with the organizers of those teams and leagues, Cameron is friends with Brad Pietz, the disc golf tournament director.
Right Place, Right Time
The popularity of disc golf in the United States is steadily climbing. The number of professional disc golfers today is well beyond 30,000 and is projected to reach 200,000 by 2020. It’s taken hold in Jonesboro, where, if residents aren’t totally familiar with the sport, they’re at least curious about it. The Jonesboro Open started in 2017.
Cameron said Jonesboro is an ideal place to host such an event. It’s a growing city where the median age is 32, which is just a year younger than the average age of someone who plays disc golf. He added that this makes the city more open to non-traditional ideas for tourism and other economic drivers, such as disc golf. The timing was right, too, as many residents favor an active lifestyle.
“A lot of people embrace it, even if they don’t know it,” Cameron said. “I know it’s something that’s very popular, and I think it’s cool, even though I have yet to play it.”
He has seen the excitement for the event build, with more competitors entering the tournament and more spectators coming to Jonesboro each year. The field of competitors in 2019 nearly reached capacity. The Jonesboro Open, which is held in April, is attractive to disc golfers because the tournament is played on an attractive and challenging course, with a large purse for the winner. This year, the amount of cash added to the pro-level purse increased from $12,000 to $15,000, making it the second highest amount of added cash on the Disc Golf Pro Tour this year. The total purse for the event was over $44,000.
This year, the event also became known as the Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open when Cameron signed the store on to become the title sponsor for 2019.
What’s Good for the City is Good for the Store
The Jonesboro Open brings in hundreds of people, who spend money at restaurants, hotels and other businesses – including Play It Again Sports.
“We saw a lot of people come in the store,” Cameron said. “We knew they were in town for the Jonesboro Open because some of them said thank you for supporting the event. And we saw our sales go up.”
Increased sales for being a good neighbor is not uncommon. Typically, businesses that get involved in their communities are favored by local consumers. Naturally, local shoppers want to love back when businesses show love for the community where they operate.
In Jonesboro, Cameron said, there’s been a big push for residents to shop locally, so it’s important for businesses to support community organizations. Plus, if residents are spending their money at your store for sporting equipment, you owe them support in one form or another, he added.
“If we’re going to ask people to shop local,” he said, “we need to be local and make sure we’re involved.”
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