Axes and Allies Brings Popular New/Old Activity to Bay of Quinte Region
The idea leading to what has become Axes and Allies Throwing Club was a simple and quite compelling one, and it was sparked by a genuine desire to have more choice in terms of activities and entertainment for adults living in and around Quinte West.
A group of five area residents, who are all related by marriage to one degree or another, who were already interested in the somewhat hip trend of indoor axe throwing, decided to build, own and operate their own facility. And thus, Axes and Allies Throwing Club opened in March of 2018 at 2223 Hamilton Rd., in Trenton.
For The Love of Throwing Axes
“Some people just find axe throwing incredibly cool, and it’s becoming very popular and it seemed like a great business opportunity because we don’t have anything like that here. And we know a lot of people who travel to Peterborough or travel to Kingston to do this activity, so why not here?” said Emily MacDonald, who is one of the five owners along with her husband Austin, his sister Tamara George and her husband Joel, as well as Joel’s brother Micah George.
“We have all chosen to make our homes here in the Bay of Quinte region and have growing families. We’ve got our jobs and our lives but what do you do in the evening on the odd chance that you get a free evening out with your friends? This was a way to enhance our quality of life and the quality of life of other people sharing our community who want a choice of different, fun activities.”
Idle Hands Leads to Tossing Axes
Joel George said he came up with the idea after one of those rare evenings when he had time to himself, a desire to do something fun and interesting, but not really an inclination to drive over an hour to either Peterborough or Kingston.
“My brothers and I had been talking about doing something like this for a while, but the idea for the business really came about because one night I literally had nothing to do. My wife was out at yoga or something and the kids were away for the weekend, and so were my brothers. I decided, well maybe I can go to Home Depot and buy some wood and an axe and see if I can put up a bit of a test range, because there was no place to do it locally and I wanted to throw axes. At that moment I realized it would be a really good business opportunity to start something here and started talking to the other people who eventually bought in on the idea,” he said.
“We really want to offer something in the Bay of Quinte area that is a really great recreational experience and offer something that is different from what you typically do, like go to the movies or go to the mall or whatever the regular options are.”
A League of its Own
At present, Axes and Allies, which had its official grand opening on March 16, has two lanes available, with two targets per lane, so that folks can compete against one another. The lanes are in ‘cages’ for safety, and there is only one axe per competitor, for each lane. Trained staff are always on hand watching the proceedings, teaching technique and safety protocols and also help run the competitions.
Axe throwing in this configuration is ideal for small groups of friends, family and work colleagues as it is not only very enjoyable but promotes collegiality and socialization. One of the most anticipated ventures for Axes and Allies is the creation of a league, along the lines of a bowling or darts league – but tossing axes instead.
“I am actually getting a lot of feedback from a lot of men recently, especially those in their 50s and 60s, who are excited for the league because it gives them a chance to get out of the house once a week and meet some new people and share a new hobby. A lot of them like it because they are kind of bored with darts and other sorts of activities that have been around for a long time,” said MacDonald.
What Is Old Is New Again
George said there hasn’t needed to be as much of an education process as one might have thought for this activity. There have been some form of axe throwing competitions, usually outdoors, at lumberjack camps, winter festivals and the like for generations. But the notion of creating an indoor facility, and one that will eventually have a party room and will also hopefully be soon licensed to serve alcohol, makes Axes and Allies a different proposition entirely.
“Pretty much everybody I have talked to is intrigued by it, because it’s relatively new, it has an element of danger to it, even though it really isn’t dangerous. And it’s exciting. So, we haven’t needed to educated people, especially younger adults in their 20s and early 30s about what it is, just where they can come do it,” he said.
Axes On The Move
Social media is already proving to be a boon for Axes and Allies and if anything, the biggest challenge moving forward is trying to manage the flood of bookings and possibly looking to increase the hours the facility is open and looking towards hiring some staff. Right now, the five owners are sort of splitting the duties of running the place, which is open Thursday evenings for league night, Fridays from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m. (although these hours are not set in stone at the moment).
The City of Quinte West is already interested in adding Axes and Allies to the list of community attractions for its tourism offerings and community guide, and the development of a mobile axe throwing range has already garnered praise and partnerships from other establishments and attractions in the region, according to MacDonald and George.
“We are actually going to have our mobile range at Signal Brewery [in Corbyville] for their St. Patrick’s Day party. And it’s awesome for us to be able to forge a relationship like that where they have a great party going on and they want to offer axe throwing for their patrons, and instead of trying to organize it all themselves, they are partnering with us,” MacDonald said, with George adding that Rhino Sports & Playland [in Belleville] want to have axe throwing there, and want Axes and Allies to do it for them.
“Having this operating in our community is something we think is really attractive, something that is fun and kind of hip. It’s a bit different than many of the things you would normally find in urban centres. The more we can bring unique experiences to this area, the less likely people are going to feel the need to go elsewhere to find their entertainment. We have had a number of business and service clubs already interested in booking some corporate parties and team building nights, because they want to support us, but also because they know it’s going to be a fun night for their team,” said George.
For more information, visit www.axesandallies.ca, or visit their page on Facebook.