Those familiar with the cult classic film “Office Space” have probably related to the catharsis one character experiences when he is finally able to annihilate a work copier — the bane of his existence — in an open field with a baseball bat.
Camille Kroskey says it’s OK to be that guy. In fact, she encourages it.
Kroskey, along with boyfriend Tyson Swa, facilitates the sort of behavior at Anger Management that would get one removed from most businesses. Referred to as “wreck-reational stress relief,” Kroskey said breaking stuff can be the best form of therapy.
Broadly referred to as rage rooms, for a fee, Kroskey and Swa loan customers protective gear and provide breakables and tools of small-scale destruction, not to mention a safe space to let loose.
The business opened on East Fillmore Street in January after Kroskey left her previous career in property management.
“We were driving down the road listening to Sirius XM [satellite radio] and someone was talking about a rage room in New York,” Kroskey said. “My son owns a marketing company, so I spoke with him. At first he thought I was a nut, then said, ‘Mom, maybe you should check it out.’”
Anger Management offers a menu of options — everything from a single person destroying a couple handfuls of bottles to multi-person packages to allowing a whole party to annihilate electronics, pianos and even automobiles. Hockey sticks, sledgehammers and baseball bats are standard.
“Everybody loves throwing stuff at the concrete wall too,” Kroskey said. “We’ve had a couple blocks disintegrate.”
Anger Management then disposes of the wreckage. Kroskey said businesses donate a lot of the material, to include old office equipment and empty bottles from local bars. One can even bring personal items marked for destruction.
“One lady — I’m assuming she was divorced — brought in framed pictures from her wedding and played romantic music,” Kroskey said.
So who, besides disgruntled brides, utilizes the services at Anger Management?
“We get vets, teachers, first responders — lots of dates. We had a Tinder date this past weekend. They had a great time,” she said. “We also have seen parents trying to get their kids off the Playstation. I have a meeting with a therapist next week who wants to bring clients.”
For anyone thinking about smashing up the place, reservations are a good idea, Kroskey said.
“Say you work at a bar and are getting off at 3:30 in the morning, but want to come in at 4 a.m. — we’ll open,” she said.
When they decided to open the business, the most pressing challenges, according to Kroskey, were finding someone to insure and house them.
“When we first started, we were told Lloyd’s of London was a good place for insurance,” she said of finding niche coverage. “But we ended up with a company in Denver. One initial quote was for $50,000 for the year. I found a policy around $5,000 a year.”
Kroskey and Swa located a 3200-square-foot commercial space with an understanding landlord.
“The landlord has been great with this,” Kroskey said. “The space was already zoned right. The only thing we had to do is soundproof a wall that borders a quilting shop.”
Some of those mild-mannered quilters have already expressed interest in breaking things, she said.
As for business, Kroskey said traffic was slow in the beginning, but it’s starting to pick up. She added that she and Swa are looking for an investor to take a 25 percent share in Anger Management, and would particularly like to find someone with a beer-and-wine or liquor license.
She said she’s considered the popularity of other experience-based businesses, like the current escape room craze, and hopes to learn from their successes and setbacks.
“I think we’re starting to see an oversaturation with escape rooms,” she said, adding there wasn’t much in the way of local competition when it came to the Anger Management concept.
But competition will come, she said, so they’ve started strategizing on how to stand out when that happens. Kroskey said the couple has plans to expand the concept, although they are tightlipped about many of the details.
“We are talking about a Gallagher room,” she said of one possible next step. “You’ll be able to go in and smash fruit. But only people of a certain age are going to know what that is.”