Popular entertainment business Escape Masters officially launched its new Tauranga operation in the heart of Red Square last night with a fun, prison themed VIP event.
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless opened the business by using a key to unlock handcuffs that held local business owners Phil and Charlotte Holland together.
“This is exactly what Tauranga needs,” says Greg. “We have lots of new and exciting things happening here and in the heart of the city. It’s people like Phil and Charlotte who actually commit to the doing and not just the talking.”
Invited guests arrived outside Escape Masters front door to a blood-splattered crime scene where they were arrested by jovial actors in PC Plod uniforms. A ‘Where’s Wally’ costumed actor was held in custody inside a jail cell while guests were grilled about looking suspect.
Entrepreneur and Love Your Business owner, Phil says the event’s aim was to set the tone for a light-hearted taste of feeling like a suspect and wanting to escape.
He says for guests to gain entry and try their luck at unlocking a secret code for a prize, they were required to display a unique code that had been previously sent to them.
“Once through the rigorous inspection by the fun police, guests had a mug shot taken before venturing into the exciting world of Escape Masters.”
With a view to offering six themed rooms in future, there are currently three uniquely themed rooms offering three levels of difficulty – easy, medium and hard. In Tauranga, escapees can try to free themselves from the Prison Room, Circus Room or the Eyres Family Store Room, which is set in the 18th Century. To keep things fresh for Escape Masters addicts, the room themes are changed every six months.
Phil and wife Charlotte, a local midwife, decided to bring this unique brain-teasing game to hometown Tauranga after discovering it for themselves.
“We knew this would work in Tauranga after going to Melbourne and trying to get in, only to be told it was fully booked out months in advance. We gave it another go last year when visiting Auckland with our teenage daughters Grace, Sophie and Emily, and we all absolutely loved it,” says Phil.
He says his daughters struggled to find fun things to do in the Bay. Discovering an activity enjoyed by the whole family that also stretched across to being incredibly useful for other groups became pivotal in the decision to approach Escape Masters to negotiate purchasing a license, which had not been done before.
“We’re not just talking about families coming together here but it’s great for team building and corporate activities, special events, gamers, schools, Christmas parties, birthday parties, and more.
“There was no stopping us after our first game and our girls took ownership of helping us getting it up and running,” says Phil. “They are tremendous ambassadors for our new family business and are very excited to now be working for it. We are thrilled to also be a part of helping bring the city centre alive, which is very important to us.”
The game Escape Masters works in teams of two to five people where the goal is to escape from inside a locked themed room within only 60 minutes by using mind-boggling clues within stories, secret codes, hidden keys and props.
Behind the scenes have been a crew of dedicated staff and contractors helping with refitting the premises, marketing and getting the business up and running.
“Good people who believe in what we are doing and have great skills is what it takes. We have a great team and I’m looking forward to our future here,” says Phil.
Escape Masters is located at 27 Spring Street, Red Square and operates seven days per week from 10am to 10pm. Bookings can be made online at www.escapemasters.co.nz