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Gary Hoover is expecting to open the Hatchet House in downtown Asheboro on Sept. 28.   Larry Penkava/Randolph Hub

Will new downtown business hit bullseye?

ASHEBORO — The old Wachovia/Wells Fargo site is one bank building where hatchets are welcome. Hoover Hatchet House is expected to open to the public on Thursday, Sept. 28.


Gary Hoover, who owns his own hauling and groundworks business, said he was mowing around Journey Church on South Fayetteville Street one day and happened to look across the street at Asheboro Mini Golf. 


“I saw all the people playing over there,” he said. Why not start his own business to entertain folks, he asked his wife Brandy, who owns The Sparrow’s Pearl Boutique on Sunset Avenue. 


They decided they wanted something family-oriented, such as the hatchet houses and escape rooms they have visited. So that’s what they chose to do at the former bank building at 15 S. Fayetteville Street.


Hoover said they have visited similar venues in Lexington and other cities. But a hatchet house is something totally new to Asheboro.


However, they decided to go further, adding escape rooms and virtual golf. Hoover thinks his place will be the only one in the state with all three. 


In addition, there will be a bar serving beer and wine and a supervised children’s room, allowing parents to play their games while their children under 10 years of age enjoy kids' stuff. 


The eight hatchet lanes are 16 feet long and the hatchets are thrown at large poplar targets. Hoover said the targets normally need replacing every two weeks. Six persons are allowed at each lane. There will be one coach for every four lanes.


Only one escape room has been completed but Hoover plans to have three more. The first room’s theme will be The Wild West with four to six people entering at a time. The next escape room will be The Candy Shop and a third will be The Vault, inside the old bank vault, naturally. The fourth escape room has yet to be named.


Hoover said people enter an escape room with the door closed but not locked. An employee will watch them with a camera and they can ask him for clues. With a clue in hand, the escape artists will try to determine where to find the next clue, eventually finding the diamond, which allows them to “escape.”


They have one hour to find all the clues and escape. But the door will always be unlocked in case of emergencies or other needs.


There will be two virtual golf rooms beginning in late October or early November. Players will actually hit a golf ball at a screen, which will determine where the ball lands on the course and the next shot.


Hoover said the equipment can also be used for virtual football, baseball or soccer. Some athletes may see it as an opportunity to practice their skills during inclement weather.


In order to open such a venue, Hoover not only had to go through local permitting and the ABC process but also registered with the Axe Throwing Association (yes, there is such an organization). All the staff is required to have insurance and to be tested, particularly with NC Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).


Asked about concerns of some with having hatchets and beer in the same facility, Hoover said every axe facility they’ve visited has beer and they’ve never seen a problem. He added that his employees (“all big guys”) will be trained in dealing with someone who’s had too much to drink.


Hoover Hatchet House will also have menus from Blake’s Half-Baked Sandwiches and OG’s Sports Bar for delivery. There will be 20 parking spaces behind the building reserved for Hoover patrons.


Hoover listed the prices for the games: $20 per hour per person for hatchet throwing; $25 per hour per person for escape rooms; and $45 per hour per person for virtual games.


Hours of operations are Wednesday through Thursday from 5-10 p.m., Fridays from 5-12 p.m., Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Sundays from 1-8 p.m. Those hours are subject to change.