Thursday, December 31, 2015
New Entertainment Concept
From the Capital-Gazette:
A new entertainment concept that specializes in escape will be coming to Annapolis early next year.
Professional auto racer Jason Cherry plans to open Mission Escape Rooms at 40 West St. by early to mid February. Within this facility, customers will pay to go into one of four themed rooms where they will use clues to find their way out. Cherry and his family previously went to one in Washington D.C and he thought it would be ideal for Annapolis' entertainment scene because it would bring more young people into the area.
"Annapolis has retail and we have restaurants, but there's not necessarily anything to do," said the 19-year-old Cherry, who lives in Davidsonville. "The hour or 15 minutes that you're in it just flies by. It just made sense for us to pursue it here."
His business is based off of a concept that started in Japan and made its way into the United States in 2012. Earlier this year, MarketWatch.com wrote about the growing trend of escape rooms and found there are at least 2,880 worldwide.
Claudia Hassan runs Cafe Ole across the street and said she was looking forward to the new business. While not familiar with the escape room concept, she was eager to see that space being put to permanent use.
"Any business that is coming to this street to an empty building is a great thing," Hassan said. The building once belonged to a hair salon, but after that closed temporary pop-up shops have been using it. "If it brings people and visitors, that will be awesome for the whole street and for all of the businesses around here."
This will also be a new venture for Cherry, a professional racer who is involved with the Autism Society of America. He recently became chair of the organization's sibling board and is also working to establish sibling scholarship programs, as well as outreach and respite services. Cherry's older brother, Matthew, lives with autism spectrum disorder.
To manage all of his activities, Cherry has temporarily put racing on hold to focus on business and entrepreneurship opportunities.
"I'm sure I'll be involved in racing in the future," Cherry said. "I know that I'll come back. I have people always contacting me and the greatest thing about it is I've made lifelong friends doing it."
At the upcoming Mission Escape Rooms, there will be four rooms, two with enough capacity for eight people and two others for 14 and 12. Each will have a theme, including boudoir, military, Edgar Allan Poe and black and white. They'll pay a fee $28 to enter and will be given clues on how to get out. Cherry and his staff, which will include two to three people, will watch from two-way cameras.
This fall, Veronica Jordan opened Annapolis Wine & Design on West Street. Since her business offers paint and sip parties for groups, she imagined Mission Escape Rooms would complement her customer base."It's what West Street needs," Jordan said, adding that they could do joint ventures. "We're similar in that we're also trying to bring a social experience to people. It sounds great and I can't wait to try it out."