Our journey started back in October of 2014.
I was scrolling through my social media sites, looking for something unique and interesting, when a glimmer of something filled with intrigue caught my attention. It promised to lock me and my friends in a room and plague us with clues and puzzles until we escaped, or until 60 minutes have expired. Now for most people, this may have been a huge turn-off and may have caused the vast majority to turn up their noses in disgust, but for me, I immediately clicked on the link.
I love puzzles, challenges, and all things unique. In fact, back in high school I had this exact idea. I played a lot of point-and-click escape the room games, and my mind often wandered to what it would be like to open a business along the same lines: time clocks, leaderboards, enigmas, exhilaration. I would dream about such a place. Teenage me was hooked. It was going to happen. Soon after I had those thoughts, however, reality hit me. I'm crazy... who wants to be locked in a room and solve puzzles. If this was ever a good idea it would have happened by now. Yet there was nothing that existed that came even close to the idea, so I let my delusional mind rest and buried the thought.
That's why this ad had me intrigued. It was a new business start-up that embodied my long forgotten idea. Someone had done it, and I was convinced that I would be their first customer. I logged onto their website, booked the first available slot, and gathered a team of like-minded puzzle fiends to complete my team.
Needless to say, my team and I were absolutely thrilled by our first escape room experience, and with a couple of months, we had grown the team, created a name for ourselves, and banked around 20 different rooms from Niagara Falls to Scarborough. We were hooked, and not only were we escaping rooms ourselves, but we were recruiting friends left, right, and centre.
Nonetheless, starting my own escape room never really crossed my mind for a few months after that. I was content escaping them. Sure there were aspects of businesses that I wished I could change, but I didn't know the first thing about starting a business, and I knew that I could always join an existing room's staff if my urge to create got worse.
To make a long story more succinct for the common reader, I stumbled upon a team of people that were willing to put in the time and effort to make a business start-up work. Together, we put our feelers out, testing the waters before committing to anything drastic. We started looking at properties, applying for star-up loans and grants, speaking with other small business owners and escape room owners. All signs pointed in one direction only: this was going to happen. Whenever we came upon an obstacle that would otherwise prove unsurmountable, someone came along to help us through it. We didn't have quite enough funding -> we were approved for a loan through an amazing start-up program. We didn't have a space that fit zoning requirements -> the city came alongside us and helped us find the perfect property. We weren't masters of starting a business -> we were teamed up with an amazing mentor who has offered us guidance along every step of the way. The dream of starting an escape room was becoming closer every day.
So here's where we stand now. We're a couple of escape room enthusiasts that have stepped into unknown territory. Hamilton hasn't been touched by the escape room trend, but we're excited to bring it in a fresh, new light to a fresh, new population. We hope you like what we're about to launch, because it's all for you. We've poured our hearts and minds into this, and we promise that we won't settle until we have something great. Stay tuned Hamilton, we've something stellar coming your way.
Just one piece of the puzzle,