Axe throwing is like the cheeky, rebellious lovechild of bowling and darts; more high-stakes than bowling, and far more exhilarating than darts. Forbes recognizes the growing popularity of axe throwing as a group activity. At Axe Play, we’ll have five lanes, consisting of two targets each, that can be rented by the hour. With the help of a coach, called an Axe Master, groups will take turns throwing axes at a target. Axe Masters can facilitate round-robin style tournaments, or allow players to free throw.
Axe Play is already a member of the World Axe Throwing League, which is the global governing body for the sport of urban axe-throwing, as well as the exclusive partner of ESPN. Our seasonal leagues will give participants weekly access to a target at a discounted rate. Leagues will be a great way to make new friends, connect with old ones, or even qualify for the World Championships, which airs on ESPN2!
At our bar, we’ll offer fresh squeezed, fair-style lemonade, soft drinks, beer, wine, and artisanal cocktails. So, even if you never throw an axe, you have to come try our Lizzie Borden! Have you ever tasted a cocktail made with aged balsamic vinegar and fresh basil? It’s axe-tremely delicious!
Axe Play isn’t just for men with fabulous beards in flannel shirts. It’s great for everyone, and ages 14 and up will be welcome! We’ll cater to bachelor or bachelorette parties, corporate or academic team building, and other private events, as well as friends looking for a unique night out. No prior throwing experience is needed. So, if you can throw that axe in a circle or are a lumbersexual, we’ll be hiring soon, and it won’t hurt to include that on your application!
We are the creators of epIQ escapes, and we are on a mission to bring another new and thrilling form of entertainment to Jackson.
My business partner, Savanah, and I have been friends for more than twelve years. If you aren't familiar with us, we are the escape room people! Nearly four years ago, epIQ escapes was the 4th escape room company to open in Michigan. Sure, we could have opened in Lansing, Ann Arbor, or Kalamazoo.... but we believed in the vision set in motion by the Anchor Initiative in 2014 to revitalize our city. As Jackson natives, we’ve heard all our lives, “There’s nothing fun to do around here!” We know that’s not true, and Savanah and I are eager to continue to prove otherwise.
Let's be honest, we took a risk opening an escape room business in Jackson. Most companies are found in metropolitan areas or tourist destinations -- places with larger populations, higher disposable incomes, and bustling city centers. Our belief in Jackson’s potential and commitment to achieving it was our motivation, and we found support and success within our community. We started our first business with elbow grease, sheer will, and broken piggy banks, but now it's time to introduce another on-the-rise activity to Jackson... and we need your help!
Axe throwing is a unique form of entertainment that isn’t offered in every city. Currently, there are only a handful of Michigan venues that offer axe throwing to the general public with the closest being in Novi and Ferndale. People travel to experience new, exciting things, and we will be attracting adventurers. Axe Play will be downtown Jackson’s hottest destination.
Savanah and I are already forging the path to unconventional entertainment in Jackson with escape rooms. As I mentioned before, epIQ escapes has received overwhelming support from Jackson and the surrounding areas. Our attention to detail and unparalleled customer service reflects in our reviews on social media. These set us apart from escape rooms in bigger cities, making epIQ escapes consistently listed as one of the top 3 escape rooms in Michigan on TripAdvisor. This inspires people to choose Jackson over Lansing, Ann Arbor, or Kalamazoo. Over 45% of our social media followers are from outside of Jackson County. When people come from out of town, we recommend locally-owned restaurants like Chilango’s, Grand River Brewery, Dirty Bird, and Klavon’s; menus they wouldn’t have tried otherwise. More importantly, we love to hear them say that Jackson has way more to offer than they thought.
Axe Play will be located at 133 W. Michigan Ave. Suite D, Jackson, MI, in the same building as the new Lean Rocket Labs, and next to what was formerly Lenny’s Subs and Sultan’s Mediterranean Cuisine. The space is 3,300 square feet and will include 5 throwing lanes, a bar, 2 bathrooms, our office, and a small lounge area. Our decor is what we have dubbed as “lumberjack chic”. With no hiccups and a successful Kickstarter campaign, we are aiming for an opening date in summer 2019!
This isn’t a fleeting idea: we started the journey to opening Axe Play in May 2018! We looked for the perfect spot for months, and even though we found a bigger location off of Wisner St., we were adamant about being part of the revitalization of downtown Jackson. In September 2018, we heard about a spot downtown. The space needed A LOT of work, but the landlords recognized our vision, shared our passion for developing Jackson, and believed in us enough to put in the investment to make the space move-in ready! After a lot of discussion, planning, and patience, we received our building permits and began our construction in February of this year.
The money that you pledge will help us with start-up costs. Costs include a POS system, tablets and monitors for efficient score-keeping, commercial bar equipment, bar stools, leather couches for our lounge, and more professional training for our management team and Axe Masters.
Our plan is to give Axe Play a clean, comfortable ambiance with a communal vibe. Unlike most other axe throwing venues, we want a finished look that makes people feel invited to stay for a while. And just like we do at epIQ escapes, with a welcoming space and impeccable customer service, we will create enthusiasts, not just customers.
Our vision is just beyond our reach, but with your help we can make it!
Did you see how awesome the rewards are?
We put a lot of thought into the reward tiers because we want you to feel good about pledging to our Kickstarter! We know we excel at facilitating fun, so, from the $25 "Sapling" tier and up the rewards include tickets to Axe Play, epIQ escapes, or both, giving them a higher value than your pledge! Although many of our tiers include swag items, we are much more focused on providing memorable experiences for our backers and future patrons.
Consider making a $250 pledge so you can become a lifetime member of our Axe Club! The Axe Play Axe Club includes a World Axe Throwing League inspired personalized art piece engraved by local artist, Seth Allison, that will be displayed behind the bar. Members of the Axe Play Axe Club also receive these perks: 1st dibs on league membership, $7 off admission and $1 off drinks whenever you visit Axe Play. At this time, the Axe Club can only be joined through our Kickstarter, perks and privileges of the Axe Club are subject to change.
DISCLAIMER: *It is important to note that no alcohol will be rewarded through this Kickstarter project*
Risks and challenges
As you may know, Kickstarter's policy is all or nothing. If we do not meet our fundraising goal, backers are not charged anything. As a Kickstarter supporter you have very little risk associated with this project as we have already made major commitments to make this business a reality and learned a lot from our previous endeavors. However, challenges that will come involve timing. We are excited to open the Axe Play doors, but waiting on inspections and approvals could delay us. Our electrical installation has been successful and recently received approval from the City. We are still waiting on a plumbing inspection. After our plumbing is approved, we will need a health inspection and approval for our liquor license through the MLCC. There are many moving parts that rely on the schedules of other people, we are eagerly waiting in line for our turn!
We will be open and transparent about any bumps in our road. For updates follow our Facebook and keep an eye on this Kickstarter page.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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