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New axe throwing venture kicks off in Springfield

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Springfield’s newest axe throwing attraction is open for business in downtown’s Wilhoit Plaza.

Axes began flying officially yesterday afternoon at Craft Axe Throwing LLC, located at 431 S. Jefferson Ave., Ste. 132A, the former home of the Emmaus church.

“I like new and original, creative ways to have fun,” said General Manager John Lepant, minutes before the shop’s opening to the public.

Lepant, the former general manager of Springfield Escape Room on South Campbell Avenue, said he was approached by its out-of-state owners, Jake Jensen and Travis Cornelius of Escape Games Unlimited LLC, about their new Craft Axe Throwing venture.

At Craft Axe Throwing, wood targets already are splintered from axes tossed by sneak-peek customers and staff who got first dibs.

In 4,000 square feet, 10 throwing lanes are available with games working similarly to darts. A bullseye is a prime target, though special dots outside of the radius are worth more. The point system “changes the dynamic each game,” Lepant said, noting multiple variations exist to spice things up. Pricing starts at $20 per hour per person.

A key component of Craft Axe Throwing, in line with its name, is craft beer, though that part of the business isn’t yet operational. Lepant said the company ran into issues securing a liquor license since its owners reside outside Missouri. To vault that hurdle, Lepant said the liquor licensing will be set up in his name.

Lepant said he was at first a “little tentative of alcohol and sharp objects” together, but when he arrived at the shop, he understood the appeal of letting customers unwind after a busy day. Still, hard alcohol will not be served, he said. A bar area is built into the space, waiting to be used.

Craft Axe Throwing’s website lists one other location in Greenville, South Carolina, and another six shops in five states on the way.

Trent Larkins, marketing director for Craft Axe Throwing and Escape Games Unlimited, previously said the owners invested about $100,000 on initial costs and signed a three-year lease in Wilhoit Plaza for the axe-throwing attraction.

The company joins the nearby TommyHawks Axe House, an indoor axe throwing business that launched in March at 1631 W. College St.

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