At first, Duke Managhan and his close friend and business partner, Vance Olsen, fretted that their axe-throwing range would be deadsville for its opening weekend starting Feb. 18
The problem, said Managhan, was the Google glitch that had made Sea Axe at 335 East Main Street in downtown Auburn an impossible target to hit on the internet.
But Olsen’s social media marketing savvy stepped into the breach, and the people of Auburn wrapped their arms around the unusual enterprise in a big way.
“Our not-too-grand-but-just-grand-enough opening made our first weekend an incredibly fun, exciting, and unexpected success. Frankly, the outpouring of love and excitement from the great people of Auburn is something I could have never expected,” Managhan said.
As Managhan summed tidily in a recent article in the Auburn Reporter about axe-throwing: “It’s kind of like darts on steroids, only a lot safer.”
Olsen, a 29-year-old Auburn native, and Managhan, 28, a native of Montana, are more convinced than ever they are exactly where they need to be to set this worldwide craze ablaze in South King County.
To that end, they have built five 6-feet-wide throwing ranges for fun and games. To eliminate any risk of an axe crossing into other lanes and hurting anyone, they have installed chain-link fencing to separate each lane from its neighbor.
To get the axe to its standardized target, the thrower throws from the 12-to-16-foot-deep throwing area in front of each of the ranges, distances marked by yellow lines. Step over the 12-foot line and you’ve committed a foul.
Every person in line waits their turn, then returns to the line to go at it again. A standard session costs $29.95.
The guys are still working with Google to better place them in online searches, but word-of-mouth has been working wonders, they say, and it has become a daily occurrence that at least one of their customers comes in on the glowing recommendations of a friend or family member who had thrown with them a day or two before.
“I can safely say that both Vance and I are blown away by the welcoming reception we have received since opening,” said Managhan. “I think that we have already started to develop some regulars, and I have a sneaking suspicion that there are soon to be more than a few targets going up in people’s backyards. I think people are very excited to have something new to do in Auburn, and we’re just as excited to finally be open.”
“Auburn is an awesome little city, and we are blessed to have become part of its business community,” Managhan added.
Sea Axe is open from 2 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays to Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. on Sundays. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.