Gymnastics Center Bounces Back After Devastating Tornado


Small Business Spotlight: Amplify Gymnastics

Who: Paul Comstedt

What: Gymnastics center that bounces back after a devastating tornado

Where: Joplin, Missouri

When: 2008

How: Amplify Gymnastics co-owner Paul Comstedt was originally planning to pursue a career in child counseling – gymnastics was just something he was doing on the side, he says, while in school. But after realizing the power of the mentor relationships that develop between children and coaches, he and the now co-owners of the gym, Kip Johnson and Derek Hammeke, started exploring the possibility of opening their own gymnastics facility.

After purchasing a building and training staff, however, the infamous Joplin tornado struck in 2011, destroying the building shortly before the gym was scheduled to open. A month after the tornado, the co-founders were faced with the tough decision of whether to rebuild. They said they made the decision to go for it when they realized in the storm’s wake parents would be searching for activities and a way to return to normal, everyday life back in Joplin.

With help from the Small Business Administration and a local disaster recovery center, Amlpify Gymnastics was opened in February 2012. Only seven months later, the men reached their 5-year goal of having 500 children enrolled at the gym; now, they have a waitlist of 200 children.

Quote from the owner: “To reach that final point and then to have everything back at square one or worse? To motivate without even having seen the business open?" said Comstedt, when asked why they decided to rebuild.

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