“Axe-citement is right around the corner,” according to signs posted in downtown Aiken.
They’re promoting a new business, Woodchuckers Axe Throwing, which is scheduled to open next month at 208 The Alley S.W., Suite A.
“Late August is the plan, and I don’t see anything keeping us from that,” said Woodchuckers owner Alisa Hamrick. “There’s a possibility it will be a little bit earlier.”
Ax-throwing is similar to darts because there is a target with a bull’s-eye. It also is like bowling because there are lanes.
Woodchuckers will have 10 lanes separated by metal fencing attached to wooden frames.
The cost to reserve each lane will be $20 per hour per person. A fee of $22 per hour per person will be charged for walk-ins. There will be an online reservation system.
Up to four people at a time will be able to use each lane.
The minimum age for ax-throwers at Woodchuckers will be 12.
Ax-throwing “is a fun family activity,” Hamrick said. “You take turns, you can earn points and you can compete against each other. There’s a lot of cheering when somebody does well.”
Employees, called “axe-perts,” will show Woodchuckers customers how to throw axes if they are unfamiliar with the techniques and also will provide information about safety.
“It can be dangerous if somebody is messing around,” Hamrick said. “But our ‘axe-perts’ will be observing people and their behavior. We can ask someone to leave if they are being irresponsible.”
Plans also call for Woodchuckers to serve soft drinks and four different kinds of beer.
Food won’t be available for sale, but people will be allowed to bring something to eat with them to Woodchuckers “as long as they don’t make a huge mess,” said Hamrick, who is an assistant principal at Aiken High School.
Hamrick’s husband, Jason, is helping her with the renovations and other preparations that need to be made to launch Woodchuckers.
Originally Hamrick wanted to open a cookie dough and ice cream shop in The Alley location but said she thought the space was “a little too big.”
Subletting the extra square footage was an option under consideration for a while, but Jason suggested starting an ax-throwing business there instead.
“We played around with the layout, and every time we would get the perfect one for the cookie dough and ice cream, it would take too much away from the ax-throwing to make it reasonable and vice versa,” Hamrick said. “We said, ‘This is all too much. We’ve got to pick one.’ And of course, both of us decided it would be ax-throwing.’”
Flinging wood-chopping tools at targets was something that the couple had done before and enjoyed.
Others, apparently, share their enthusiasm.
"Somehow, my cellphone number is out there, and people have been calling me and asking me questions," Hamrick said. "They are very excited."
More information about Woodchuckers, including operating hours, will be available soon at woodchuckersaxethrowing.com and on the Woodchuckers Axe Throwing page on Facebook.