In the case of many escape rooms, the first puzzle is finding the place. Anyone who’s been to more than one escape room has noticed the interesting choices that operators make when deciding where to start their businesses. Shunning typical office buildings and highly visible locations, operators often choose an unassuming house, old factory or office park to set up shop.
In some ways, an odd location fits the theme of escape rooms. A business that wants to lock people in a room seems much more at home in an old warehouse than in a shiny office building. The nature of the business contributes as well – these are planned events, not spur-of-the-moment outings, which makes walk-up traffic less vital to success. Street visibility is nice, but if your customers buy online in advance, a big sign on the street isn’t as important and isn’t worth the high rent it takes to get it there. Owners are much better off leasing a hole-in-the-wall and putting the saved rent money towards online advertising.
Odd locations, often in suburbs, have become hallmarks of escape rooms, but this is changing as the industry matures. As escape rooms increase in popularity and lose some of the novelty that drove their rise, traditional factors such as location are becomingly increasingly important. More rooms are popping up every year, which means that the escape rooms in the suburbs are no longer the only options. Customers are swayed by convenience and won’t be willing to drive to an escape room in an obscure location when they can go to one just up the street. And if the one up the street happens to be in a convenient and cool location—game over.
At PuzzleWorks, our location is both convenient and cool. And we know that because people have told us so. And because they wrote about it in this magazine article. In a previous life, Vandalia Tower was a King Koil mattress factory. Now it has the moon on its water tower, Andy Warhol in its hallways, and tenants ranging from artists to doctors to brewers to illustrators behind its doors. It’s as hip as it gets, which is one of the reasons we decided to call it home.
Don’t believe us? Come visit and see for yourself. Since every PuzzleWorks booking comes with a free beer down at Lake Monster, you get the full Vandalia Tower experience no matter if you escaped or not.