Bryan Rossmanith listens to the sounds of axes crashing into targets accompanied by shrieks of delight and focused grunts.
It’s all about creating a memorable experience and bringing people together, the owner of Jack’s Axe Throwing says.
“I call it experiential entertainment,” Rossmanith said. “What is great about us and places like the escape rooms and anything that has to do with team building is we connect people in a fun way.”
“I went and did axe throwing at a place in Denver and just had an awesome time and thought, ‘Why isn’t there something like this in Colorado Springs?’” Rossmanith said. Jack’s operates on weekends and during the week for special events, such as corporate team building.
“We teach [customers] about safety, and we offer private [throwing] lessons as well, which are six or more people during the week and you get the entire location to yourself,” Rossmanith said. “This can be really great for work events because there is nothing like throwing axes with your boss.”
When he first considered opening what is commonly referred to as an “axe-throwing bar,” which doesn’t include alcohol sales, there were only 50 to 70 operating in the United States.
“But it’s completely blown up lately,” Rossmanith said. “It seems like there is a new location opening up on a weekly basis somewhere in the country.”
The business owner is using social media as well as setting up booths at the El Paso County Fair and the upcoming Colorado State Fair to spread awareness about Jack’s.
“The response was amazing out there at the county fair,” Rossmanith said. “We had a lot of people come by who didn’t really know what axe throwing is and have come in since because we were out there.”
In the future, Rossmanith is looking to expand into a larger space with Ironside or into his own location.
“It can be difficult convincing landlords and insurance companies that this is a safe activity, and that we are serious business owners with legitimate business plans,” he said. “That’s been the most challenging thing.”
It took Rossmanith contacting more than 30 insurance agencies before he found a broker who even would try to help him find a policy.
“A lot of people think we are trying to throw the axes at each other or that we are doing something super dangerous but this is completely safe,” he said. “Everyone can do it; we’ve had kids who are really, really young that you think couldn’t do it and then older people like 85, that are in here throwing too.”
The axes, which are just one of the throwing options available at Jack’s, weigh 1.25 pounds.
“They are pretty light — not much heavier than a baseball or softball — and are easy to throw,” Rossmanith said. “But they still are really hard to get good at and it’s a lot of fun to try and master them.”
The entrepreneur manages Jack’s with help from his family and when he isn’t working at his full-time job selling phones at Verizon.
“That pays the bills right now and this is my fun job that I am hoping someday will be able to be my full-time gig too,” he said. “I would love to be able to grow it and expand to a few different locations in Colorado and even outside the state.”
Rossmanith is planning on hiring a sales team soon and possibly bringing on a partner to help with business operations.
“[The partner] also can help us focus more on the sport aspect of throwing too,” he said. “There is the entertainment side with corporate bookings and events but there is also the sport side where you can compete head-to-head and in leagues. I want to be here for a while and help [axe throwing] expand because I love how the city is growing and the whole Olympic City USA vibe it has going on.”