Clues & News

How Exit Strategy came to be ~ Owners’ series

Mylene and Jay own the two Exit Strategy locations in Charlotte. In this post, Jay answers the question they’ve been asked the most: “How did you come up with Exit Strategy?”

In 2014, Mylene and I were on vacation in Europe. She had planned the entire trip and left one day for me to plan. Halfway through our stay she asked, “What would you like to do on our last day?” I went online and found a company that advertised that they locked people in a room and where they had to solve puzzles to get out. It sounded interesting and Mylene loves puzzles so we made a reservation. The total cost was $132 for just the two of us. That was steep but hey, we were on vacation!

When we received our confirmation email we were told to arrive no more than 10 minutes early and to enter from the rear of the building. When we arrived, we saw the sign and an arrow pointing toward an alley. Not very reassuring! And we had to ring the doorbell because the door was locked. I couldn’t believe we were going through with this. When the employee opened the door, she had a friendly smile and invited us to come in. As we entered the building there were stairs that descended into the basement and a very musty smell. This place was creepy with stone walls and steel doors and the employee was the only staff on duty. We were told to sign a waiver that we could not understand because of the language barrier and to leave all our personal belongings on the couch. Yes, no lockers. A couch!!! We were escorted into this stone wall room with no windows and a steel door. Now at this point I’m thinking she could leave us in here and no one would ever know. Mylene could already imagine the headlines in the newspaper back at home!

After a few minutes wondering what we were supposed to do, we dug in trying to find clues and solve puzzles and we were very bad at both. The employee felt sorry for us and she gave us a lot of help and extra time to beat the room. We must have received at least 20 hints!

Mylene and I had dinner afterwards and all we could talk about was who found what or did what. We were blown away with how much fun we had.

A few days after being home we both decided to create an escape room in our home office. Once the room was completed, we had to find someone willing to try it out. So, we invited my family over for dinner. After dinner we asked if they would like to play a game and they were all up for it, but had no idea what the game might be. We told them we were going to lock them in our office and they needed to find a key to escape. They all looked at us like we were crazy. After a few minutes of convincing they decided to partake.  The room they played was the 70’s room, which was the very first room we created at Exit Strategy. My family had a great time playing the 70’s and we continued to test and tweak that room with more family and friends not ever planning on opening an escape room.

During this time Mylene and I both had full-time jobs and even though we were hoping that we could turn Exit into a business, our goal was really just to share the fun we had with others. Our first Exit Strategy location was only 1200 square feet and when we opened our doors in August 2014, we only had the 70’s. We opened Cabin in the Woods two months later. Within a few more weeks, we knew Exit had legs and needed more of our attention. And more space! Mylene quit her job and we moved to our current South location.

2 years after that move, we opened our second location: Exit Strategy North in the University area. Once fully open, that location will add 4 rooms to our collection. Because we still have room ideas, as soon as North is complete, we’ll go back to South and start switching out rooms!

 

Do you have questions you’ve been wanting to ask us? We’re listening!

Mylene and Jay own the two Exit Strategy locations in Charlotte. In this post, Jay answers the question they’ve been asked the most: “How did you come up with Exit Strategy?”

In 2014, Mylene and I were on vacation in Europe. She had planned the entire trip and left one day for me to plan. Halfway through our stay she asked, “What would you like to do on our last day?” I went online and found a company that advertised that they locked people in a room and where they had to solve puzzles to get out. It sounded interesting and Mylene loves puzzles so we made a reservation. The total cost was $132 for just the two of us. That was steep but hey, we were on vacation!

When we received our confirmation email we were told to arrive no more than 10 minutes early and to enter from the rear of the building. When we arrived, we saw the sign and an arrow pointing toward an alley. Not very reassuring! And we had to ring the doorbell because the door was locked. I couldn’t believe we were going through with this. When the employee opened the door, she had a friendly smile and invited us to come in. As we entered the building there were stairs that descended into the basement and a very musty smell. This place was creepy with stone walls and steel doors and the employee was the only staff on duty. We were told to sign a waiver that we could not understand because of the language barrier and to leave all our personal belongings on the couch. Yes, no lockers. A couch!!! We were escorted into this stone wall room with no windows and a steel door. Now at this point I’m thinking she could leave us in here and no one would ever know. Mylene could already imagine the headlines in the newspaper back at home!

After a few minutes wondering what we were supposed to do, we dug in trying to find clues and solve puzzles and we were very bad at both. The employee felt sorry for us and she gave us a lot of help and extra time to beat the room. We must have received at least 20 hints!

Mylene and I had dinner afterwards and all we could talk about was who found what or did what. We were blown away with how much fun we had.

A few days after being home we both decided to create an escape room in our home office. Once the room was completed, we had to find someone willing to try it out. So, we invited my family over for dinner. After dinner we asked if they would like to play a game and they were all up for it, but had no idea what the game might be. We told them we were going to lock them in our office and they needed to find a key to escape. They all looked at us like we were crazy. After a few minutes of convincing they decided to partake.  The room they played was the 70’s room, which was the very first room we created at Exit Strategy. My family had a great time playing the 70’s and we continued to test and tweak that room with more family and friends not ever planning on opening an escape room.

During this time Mylene and I both had full-time jobs and even though we were hoping that we could turn Exit into a business, our goal was really just to share the fun we had with others. Our first Exit Strategy location was only 1200 square feet and when we opened our doors in August 2014, we only had the 70’s. We opened Cabin in the Woods two months later. Within a few more weeks, we knew Exit had legs and needed more of our attention. And more space! Mylene quit her job and we moved to our current South location.

2 years after that move, we opened our second location: Exit Strategy North in the University area. Once fully open, that location will add 4 rooms to our collection. Because we still have room ideas, as soon as North is complete, we’ll go back to South and start switching out rooms!

 

Do you have questions you’ve been wanting to ask us? We’re listening!

3 Things You’ll Learn About Your Colleagues During an Escape Game

Escape games can be a great teambuilding activity. You get to spend time with your colleagues and work as a team to put together clues and open locks to get out of the room within the allotted hour. During these situations, you get to learn more about your colleagues and how they handle stressful moments which can, ultimately, help or hurt you in the game due to everyone having different problem-solving styles. Who is going to listen or who is going to try to control the situation? Here are some things you could perceive in the room:

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3 Ways to Solve Escape Game Puzzles Faster

Escape games are designed to make you think critically and work as a team. If you don’t do those two important things while in the room, you won’t be able to accomplish your mission—escaping. Whether it’s your first game or your 100th, it’s always great to know tips of the trade when it comes to escaping, especially when players are known for making common errors while inside rooms. And (let’s be honest) most people want to know how they can escape the room quickly and more efficiently – because mistakes are commonly made.

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Here’s What it Takes to Design an Escape Game

Escape rooms – the good ones – are more than just a bunch of puzzles strewn about a spare closet. They’re multi-faceted and intentionally-designed; great escape games must challenge experienced players while not being too difficult for first-timers!

What does it take to design an escape room? Exit Strategy has a lot of experience putting together interactive, exciting escape puzzles. Here’s what we’ve learned.

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Didn’t Escape? 3 Reasons Not to Worry

Escape rooms can be a fun, interactive way to bring coworkers or a group of friends together. You get to search for clues and work as a team to put them together to beat the escape room challenge. But, what if your hour ends and you still haven’t escaped? Don’t worry, it happens to the best teams!

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Here’s Why You Should Play an Escape Game with Strangers

So you want to try an escape game, but you’re just not sure you want to run the risk of playing with strangers? (*Awkward shudder*)

The easiest way to solve that conundrum is to get a group together of 8-10 people, or however many the escape game you want to play accommodates. But, another solution is to open yourself up to the possibility that playing an escape game with strangers can actually be FUN!

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The demands of an escape room vary from game to game, but what you wear to participate is pretty consistent. When you’re preparing for an escape room game, you want to make sure what you’re wearing won’t disrupt your mission to escape and find clues. You definitely don’t want to slow yourself or your team down at crunch time, so here are our suggestions on what to wear!

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4 Common Mistakes When Playing an Exit Room

Escape rooms can be a fun way to bond with friends and practice team building among colleagues. However, when playing, some players get distracted, overexcited, or over-analytical while trying to escape. Exit Strategy knows escape rooms, and we want you to succeed while playing the game. Take some time to read through these four common mistakes players make as they try to complete a room, so you don’t make the same errors!

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