09/09/2019 - 15:31

No axe to grind as venues compete

09/09/2019 - 15:31

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Perth will soon be home to three venues with a very different type of entertainment - axe-throwing - adding to a growing number of nightlife options offering interactive activities to lure in punters.

No axe to grind as venues compete
Renee and Adam Schilling are behind the Maniax axe-throwing venue. Photos: Gabriel Oliveira

The teams behind three new axe-throwing venues opening in Perth say competition is good for business.

Three axe-throwing venues are opening in Perth this month, adding to a growing number of nightlife options offering interactive activities to lure in punters.

Sydney-based Maniax will start slinging metal in Northbridge this week, while in East Perth, Lumber Punks opened its first venue outside Queensland earlier this month.

Further north, Maxed Out Axe Throwing will begin operating this week in Wangara.

Axe throwing emerged in North America and has spread across other parts of the world in recent years, including in Europe.

Maniax owner Adam Schilling said the company was the first to bring the sport to Australia, although it took a year to get approval for the venue in inner Sydney.

Mr Schilling, who also works as a pilot, said he felt optimistic about the Western Australian market despite recent pressure on hospitality venues.

“There’s some successful businesses over here at the moment, for example Holey Moley (mini golf) has done very well for itself,” he said.

“The space where entertainment mixes with alcohol ... is what people are after.

“WA seems to be yearning for something like this.

“People are getting sick of just going to the pub these days.

“If you mix it up with something else that provides some entertainment and a challenge, and something outside the normal realm of things … that’s what’s been successful for us.”

Lumber Punks owner Tyson McMillan said there was a strong mood among customers for something that helped them interact with other people.

“Our philosophy is there are too many things that make you stay insular at home,” Mr McMillan told Business News.

“Television, Netflix, being on your phone.

“When we were piecing the business together, one of the big boxes that we ticked is that it’s a very social thing.

“When you’re throwing axes [in competition with someone], it’s very social.

“All these activity based businesses that are popping up, it’s almost a reactionary thing.

“Going home, staying in is the norm, (but) people want to do something, be interactive with other people.”

Mr McMillan said he had previously lived in Perth, and had encouraged his business partner to bring the offering out west.

They had been working on the business since February.

“Perth is usually the one that’s last on the list so we thought, what better place to come?” he said.

“It’s a stampede of axe-throwing venues.

“Competition is great, our whole mission statement is to build the community of axe throwing.

“The fact there are three venues now popping up in Perth can only make our community larger.

“If you’ve got a good product and people enjoy what they do, there’s no issue.”

The third venue, Maxed Out, was founded by Simon Gray, with the Wangara location to be the business’s first.

Mr Gray was relaxed about the competition his business will face.

“It’s brilliant having all three different venues starting up around the same time as well, the public will be spoilt for choice,” Mr Gray said.

“What they should really do is visit all three [venues].

“We’re really pleased to see how much interest there’s been from the public in the activity, and hope to see it continue to grow.

“It’s a great way for people to get out and do something physical that’s super exciting and satisfying.”

The theme of interactive, physical night-time events extends beyond axe throwing.

Perhaps the best example is Holey Moley mini golf (mentioned above), which opened two years ago in Northbridge, with a second venue opening late last year at Westfield Carousel in Cannington.

The Carousel location also features escape rooms and a bowling bar, Strike.

Bowling is particularly popular for venues trying to add an extra edge.

Capitol Corp’s Lookout Bar in Scarborough features a series of bowling lanes.

The business took the same approach at Amplifier Capitol in the city, where three lanes were included in the venue.

Speaking to Business News earlier this year, Capitol owner David Heaton said about $2 was spent on food and beverages for every $1 spent on bowling.

Last year, Origin NYE party founder Saran Bajaj opened the Palace Arcade bar in Northbridge, featuring his collection of retro gaming arcade machines.

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