Being locked in at work would be a nightmare to most people but apparently is sport to some.
The people behind Wichita Room Escape are banking on it.
“We’re having a hard time explaining this to people, like insurance underwriters, for example,” says Bryan Edwards, an engineer who is starting the business with bankers Justin and Kerry Selby.
The entertainment venue is not a temporary business for Halloween but a permanent one that is opening next month on the east side of Dempsey’s Burger Pub in Clifton Square at 3700 E. Douglas.
Edwards says the idea of escaping a room for fun first became popular online “before it got popular in the real world.”
The idea, he says, is “you would have to find your way out of a locked space.”
Players find clues and solve puzzles to escape.
“This is a live-action game,” Edwards says. “You would get together with a group of your friends.”
The 1,300 square feet Wichita Room Escape will have will be divided into three rooms.
Initially, there will be two rooms. One will be an apartment theme and one will be an office theme.
“Like you get locked in at work, and you’ve got to get out,” Edwards says.
A third spy-based game will come later.
“Like you’re a secret agent,” he says. “We have lots of ideas for rooms.”
The rooms will run for three months at a time while more are in development.
“We’re going to change them for return customers,” Edwards says.
Most rooms will be for groups of eight. If there aren’t enough players, participants could be paired with other groups.
The cost will be about $20 a person for an hour.
“We’re trying to set it up to definitely promote teamwork,” Edwards says.
The target range for players is ages 19 to 30.
“The following that we have so far in Wichita on … social media, it’s not one particular group,” Edwards says.
He says there are church groups, families and companies all looking to promote teamwork.
Edwards says Clifton Square is centrally located and has “a really cool, funky atmosphere.”
Kameron Rich and Bradley Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons and Austin Kinzle of OnPoint Property Group handled the deal.
For anyone concerned about being able to get out of a room at Wichita Room Escape, Edwards says there are emergency exits.
“Legally, we’re not allowed to actually lock you in a room,” he says.
“Of course, it’s a lot more fun if you find your own escape.”