Do you need an escape? Need a new idea for family night, hot date, or outing with friends? Look no further than the soon-to-be-open Escapism, an escape room concept opening this month in St. George, Utah. Keep reading to learn more from owner Brendan Taylor about why this needs to be added to your calendar, ASAP!
UMLF: For those who aren't in the know, what is Escapism?
Escapism: "Good question! Escapism Room Escape Games is an escape room business that is opening shortly in St. George, Utah – the city’s third escape room. Expanding on the concept of escape rooms, they are generally one-hour, full-immersion games where a team solves puzzles and overcomes challenges, through one or more fully themed spaces, to reach an end goal that varies by scenario. For example, a team could be robbing a bank in the Wild West, or something as wildly different as escaping from a detonating starship. Escapism is dedicated to providing a singular experience and making our customers feel like they’re “actually there”. No scenario is off of the table for us to bring to life, and we look forward to engaging with our customers to decide what our future experiences should be!"
UMLF: What inspired you to open Escapism?
Escapism: "Both my wife and I are avid escape room enthusiasts and we have been since they became big in the United States. We have played more games than we can count, and our various experiences have ranged from highly impressive to sorely disappointing. That being said, very few escape rooms we have played have sought to completely disconnect players from reality, even the good ones, and we are attempting to do this the best we can – when you sign up to play “Mayan Temple”, we feel like you shouldn’t see blatant, out-of-theme light switches, A/C vents, or be able to look out the window to see cars driving around. All of these lessen the sense of immersion, and we have a deep desire to take an escape room to the “next level” by removing these from customer perception as much as possible and by focusing on a high standard of quality in general. While our passion for the industry is a primary driver, we also wanted to launch a family business that we can both be involved in and provide a legacy for our two-year-old twin sons. Since our sons were born, we have had notably less free time to spend playing escape rooms, but we are still passionate for the industry – our escape room business is something my wife and I are looking forward to building together and hopefully passing that excitement on to our children."
UMLF: Tell us about some of your different escape rooms?
Escapism: "Escapism is launching with two very different escape room experiences – one is themed as an ancient Mayan Temple and one is themed as a nuclear submarine. The setting for the Mayan Temple is that an archaeological team recently discovered a lost temple. After entering, communications were lost, and the team has not been heard from in two days. You are being sent in to rescue your colleagues but be careful – the temple has been found to be utterly rigged with traps and other pitfalls. You have an hour to get in and extract the missing team, as the oxygen level is not expected to sustain beyond that. As far as the nuclear submarine experience goes, your team of agents has infiltrated the crew of the submarine, and you must hack into the guidance systems to fire the weapon systems at an enemy target. The submarine is fraught with safeguards and countermeasures to prevent rogue agents from gaining control of its systems, and you must work to overcome its defenses. Get in, complete your mission, and escape before your team is discovered and captured. Without spoiling too much, both of these experiences will be fleshed out to the max, if you will, and are full of clever secrets and unique puzzles."
UMLF: Is this good for families?
Escapism: "Escape rooms are an excellent activity for families. The concepts and interactions in escape rooms can be enjoyed by young children, teens, adults, and even grandparents who enjoy a sense of mystery, accomplishment, and adventure. Most themes are also family friendly, and nothing in our escape rooms will ever be scary, gory, or explicit unless we have noted this on our website and during the booking process. While some of the concepts in escape rooms may be too advanced for younger children, being able to explore our fully themed spaces and discover hidden objects, even if they can’t necessarily decipher them, is half the fun! Besides this, children 4 and under play for free – so, what have you got to lose?!"
UMLF: What are your favorite tips for first time escapers?
Escapism: "I think the single biggest thing that has helped us beat escape rooms over our career is the act of splitting our team up in any given room during the discovery phase, finding all of our clues so that we had the whole picture, and then bringing it all back together with strong team communication. Essentially, teamwork is everything. Harness everyone’s strengths, and don’t fixate on a specific puzzle too long as an individual. Your teammate may have a puzzle that you would have particular strength in solving and vice versa. Some people are better at logic puzzles, while other people are better at physical and perception challenges – you just never know unless you keep your team clued in to what’s going on. That being said, even teams as small as 2 can successfully complete an escape room with enough persistence (and sometimes clues)!"
UMLF: Every business has its highs and lows. Tell us about a challenge you faced as a small business owner and how you overcame it?
Escapism: "Wow – what a question. Having poured hundreds to thousands of hours into the entire process from inception to finalizing our space, there were countless challenges along the way. That being said, I think the single biggest challenge that I faced as a new business owner was securing enough funding to finish our project. Many lenders were just not willing to work with me as a startup, and I spent many hours meeting with banks and alternative lenders to try to pull it all together. I also worked extensively with the Small Business Development Center (another great service) here in St. George bulletproofing my business plan to send off to lenders. Despite this and my solid credit history, it just took me somewhat aback by how difficult of a process it was to secure the last little bit that I needed to move forward with it all. Not only was it the most psychologically discouraging thing during the entire business startup process, but it also physically stopped me from making any further progress until resolved."
UMLF: How do you feel like the Utah Microloan Fund has helped your business?
Escapism: "Perhaps this is obvious from the above question, but the Utah Microloan Fund helped my business by, frankly, allowing my business to be actualized in the first place. Having visited countless lenders who were not willing to lend to me, the UMLF graciously came through with the full amount that I needed; fantastic and timely considering I had exhausted 99% of my other options. More specifically, the UMLF loan helped to pay off my contract with my vendor who is producing the props for Escapism – bringing our escape rooms to life. Truly, I could not have reached this point without the UMFL’s assistance and guidance."
"Escapism is aiming to be open by January 1st, 2022, provided all goes well with our finishing touches, and January 8th, 2022 as our latest possible opening date. We look forward to seeing everyone there!"
To stay caught up with Escapism visit:
Located at: 250 Red Cliffs Dr., Suite #11 Saint George, UT 84790