BARBOURSVILLE — Has the COVID-19 pandemic got you down? Tickers & Timbers in Barboursville has opened up a smash room inside its ax throwing and escape room entertainment business as a fun and safe way to relieve some stress.
“With everything mostly shut down last year, people have a lot of stored up energy they want to release,” said Tonya Perry, co-owner of Tickers & Timbers. “Or maybe you just had a really bad day at work and feel like smashing stuff. Our new smash room is a safe place to destroy things.”
Tickers & Timbers is a few doors down from the Tortilla Factory and Outback Steakhouse at 3427 U.S. 60 East in Barboursville, near the Huntington Mall. It’s locally owned and operated by Perry and Jerry Lawson.
“We both have lived here in the Tri-State our entire lives,” Perry said. “We have been open for about nine months now.”
Smash rooms, also known as rage rooms or anger rooms, offer a safe place for people to literally smash away their anger. You can hurl a glass bottle at a target across the room, take a hammer to an old computer, use a sledgehammer to shatter a flat screen television or kiss a framed photo of your ex goodbye with a baseball bat.
“This is a great stress reliever and a fun activity,” Perry said. “You don’t have to be mad or angry to have fun smashing things. Maybe we want to celebrate the kids being back in school by breaking stuff.”
Customers wear a helmet with a face shield, a coverall uniform, gloves and other safety gear. Closed-toe shoes are required, Perry said.
“We make sure everyone is safe,” she said.
Justin Evans, 41, and his fianceé Hanna Clonch, 28, both of Lavalette, said they came to the smash room to make a memory.
“I wasn’t sure how much fun it would be, but once I got in there and started breaking stuff, my heart started beating and I felt energized,” Evans said. “Hanna and I smashed things together for the first time and it’s now something we will always remember.”
Clonch said it’s a unique thrill where you can make a memory instead of buying a product.
“It was just so much fun,” she said. “Making memories is what we want to do and this place offers those opportunities.”
Smash rooms are opening across the United States as the new business trend continues to grow. New ones have opened in the past year in Charlotte, North Carolina; Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Rochester, New York; Hampton, Virginia; and several other cities. The first rage rooms to open were likely in Japan in 2008 or earlier, according to Wikipedia.
“We wanted to bring one here to Barboursville,” Perry said. “We don’t think there is anything like this in this region.”
Rage rooms are generally affordable, but like anything else, prices vary.
“There are different packages, ranging from $20 a person up to $65,” Perry said. “It just depends on how much time you want to spend in there and how many items you want to break.”
Perry said Tickers & Timbers offers fun things to do for the entire family. A few months ago they opened a paint splatter room.
“It’s a large room people go in and we give them ponchos, safety glasses and seat covers, then we give them squirt bottles of neon paint in a room with black lights and paint on a canvass they can take home while having a paint throwing party,” Perry said.
As far as other memory-making activities, the business offers two escape rooms — the Mothman Mystery and Area 51.
“We have had wonderful reviews of our rooms,” Perry said. “People especially love the Mothman Mystery room.”
Perry says these escape rooms also offer corporate and business team-building opportunities.
“You have to solve puzzles and find clues, so communication while under a time frame is the perfect place to learn about strengths of employees in a fun and exciting setting,” she said.
Tickers & Timbers also offers eight ax throwing lanes and is part of the World Axe Throwing League (WATL).
“There are tables in our axe throwing arena, and patrons can bring their own food and drink,” Perry said. “We also partnered with a local restaurant and now offer a pizza special to have delivered fresh while patrons throw axes. We also sell soft drinks.”
Perry says she was a developmental therapist for children with special needs for about 18 years in Ashland until COVID-19 shutdowns happened.
“I lost all my clients and ended up having to sell my home,” she said. “As an independent single mom, this was devastating, as many others have been hit hard during this pandemic, I, too, was one of those people. I needed a long term solution for work.”
The couple says the idea for the business came while they were out on a date.
“Jerry and I are boyfriend and girlfriend for several years now and each weekend as we have dated, we would say to each other, ‘There is just nothing to do here,’” Perry said.
“We actually contemplated moving away to another state. Instead, I had always said that if someone would open some family entertainment here it would probably be successful and would be welcomed by the community. I had the idea for about a year and we decided to take this opportunity. We both took our savings and went in as partners to open Tickers & Timbers. We built out the entire facility ourselves. We appreciate the support we have received from the community and want everyone to come check us out, if they haven’t already.”
Tickers & Timbers is open from 5 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday; noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday; from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday; and closed on Monday.
For more information or to make reservations, call 304-620-6955, visit the website at tickersandtimbers.com or find them on Facebook.