Hello there! This time around, I've opted to craft a diary-like entry for my blog, all about our fascinating escape room venture. I plan on writing about every achievement we make during the construction of our fifth location.
Our office space, a generous 2000 sq.ft, currently houses 2.5 nearly ready-to-go escape rooms from Indestroom. These intriguing sets are waiting in our storage, raring to be unleashed.
One of the rooms is a custom-made, incredibly enjoyable “Alice in Wonderland” theme that we introduced during the pandemic. The need for reconstruction arose when we had to relocate from our smallest location, where it originally stood. Alice was designed as a single-room, arcade-style escape game featuring parallel puzzles. It was as fun and chaotic as a wild tea party, though distinctly different from our regular escape games, which isn't everyone's cup of tea. Therefore, we're transitioning it into a more typical multi-room game, ensuring a more sequential experience.
The second room is themed "Pirates". Although I'm not an enormous fan of the pirate motif, it's a crowd-pleaser, especially for families, children, and birthday parties. We acquired it from Indestroom when we placed a large order for our latest "Speakeasy Bar with Casino" and decided to take advantage of the option to save on delivery.
Our third room is the ever-spooky “Frankenstein”. The challenge here is to assemble a hulking CREATURE inspired by Frankenstein's Monster. It’s more than just a major core puzzle; we're designing additional puzzles to create a fully immersive room.
Let's talk about the premises. It took an entire year to secure this office space! The company that owns it is a slow-moving bureaucratic behemoth. Despite their insistence on my personal guarantee, having my wife as a co-signor (despite our escape room business having eight years of successful operation, cash at hand, and good credit lines), and odd insurance stipulations, I persevered. Why? Because this space is perfect.
It’s an amazing location close to my other ventures, boasts high visibility, ample parking for customers and employees, a ready-to-go layout requiring minimum modifications, sprinklers, high ceilings, and a reasonable rate of $29 per sq ft – a steal for Redmond, WA. Plus, it has the correct zoning. But most importantly, I managed to secure a 10-year lease agreement with 150 days for buildout, along with tenant improvements for the floor and layout modifications.
Despite dealing with ten different managers and assistants during the process, I anticipated less stress dealing with a faceless corporation than a human-based landlord. All I had to do was follow the protocol.
Under the most optimistic circumstances, we hope to launch Alice and "Pirates" by the end of this year. This would allow us to write off the Pirates room from this year's taxes (as you can't write it off until it’s operational). However, I am a realist and suspect that in reality, Alice will launch this year (since we've built and tested it before, we know what to do), and "Pirates" will debut closer to February. As for Frankenstein, we aim to open it by next April or May.
In my upcoming articles, I'll share insights about the preparatory work involving architects, permits, and other mundane but essential aspects of construction. I fully anticipate our architects to be slow-paced, requiring regular prodding for updates on plans, etc. The question remains – do I risk opting for a different team? Only time will tell.
To keep updated, check out more of my articles on my blog at https://howtoopenescaperoom.com and consider subscribing to my email list to receive new articles in your inbox. And as always, you're welcome to grab a copy of my book about the business. For this new location, I’ll be following my own advice from my book, retracing my successful steps.