Ax-throwing fans are happy December is here because a new location for them and fellow ax-perts opened in West Chester. Stumpy's Hatchet House launched with plenty of ax-tion on 706 E. Market St.
"It’s like darts on steroids. It’s tremendously exciting," explains Brad Wurtz, co-owner of Stumpy’s, along with Dave Rzepski.
Customers at Stumpy's, who must be at least 21 years old, are surrounded by string lights, large leather couches to relax on during and between games, club chairs, picnic tables, Jenga sets, a jukebox and billiards. These other options also give non-throwers plenty of other activities from which to choose when not watching throwers. The 7,000-square-foot location comfortably seats 100 people. It has eight throwing pits that allow for 10 people per pit.
Brad says Stumpy's is a high-end atmosphere. He adds that the business is the first establishment in West Chester to have a state-of-the-art, pour-your-own beer wall. Customers register their credit card as a tab with the beer attendant. There are 16 unique beers on tap on the wall, and customers can drink any beer in any quantity, as little as 2 ounces.
"We will be working with local brewers to feature their beers as well," Dave adds.
The soft pine wood comprising the targets keeps the hatchets from bouncing too far back. Patrons are guided by throwing coaches.
Throwing a hatchet accurately doesn't take brute strength, Brad claims. He adds that due to women's precision techniques, they often throw more accurately than men.
After about 15 to 30 minutes, most Stumpy's guests are hitting the target and honing in on the bull's-eye. When the group feels ready, they can try a variety of hatchet throwing games; instructions are in each pit, or one can request assistance from a throwing coach.
Brad says the new business is operated by 20 part-time employees and two full-time employees, who all take safety seriously. Each patron must go through a training session.
Leagues and tournaments are being formed this month into January, just in time for the holidays. Pricing for 1 hour (one to four people) is $24.99 and for 2 hours (four to 10 people) it is $39.99. Non-throwers are $15 each.
Private throwing parties for the holidays already are filling up. Brad says they're fast becoming a go-to spot for company team building, bachelor/bachelorette parties, divorce celebrations and even baby gender reveals.
"We have black balloons in front of the target with either pink or blue glitter inside, and the gender is obvious when someone pops the balloons with a hatchet," he adds. "We're here to get people out of their normal comfort zones and help create incredible memories."
The first ax-throwing bar in North America is believed to have started in Toronto in 2011. Founded in 2015, Stumpy's is a popular chain with locations around the country. Dave and Brad are partners of a Stumpy's ownership group opening five Stumpy's Hatchet Houses in total, all in upscale retail locations.
Every patron who hits a bull's-eye at Stumpy's Hatchet House must ring the special West Chester victory bell.