brainBook NowGift Vouchers

Leading Escape Game Franchise Opens New Venue in Columbia

Escapology, the market leader in escape room games, opened a flagship 7-game venue at 717 Lady Street, Suite D, in Columbia, S.C., in February 2018. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce on March 26 at 4 p.m. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin will be speaking at the ceremony. Media tours will be offered following the ribbon cutting from 5-7 p.m. Escapology Columbia is located in the heart of Columbia’s historic downtown Vista district and is within walking distance of popular retail and restaurant locations. This new and exciting attraction puts up to six players to the ultimate test of teamwork and problem-solving as they try to escape thrilling puzzle scenarios before time runs out. Escapology Columbia occupies 6,152 square feet of space and includes seven themed escape game rooms, a spacious lobby, two private conference rooms for hosting corporate groups and events, and a three-station virtual reality arcade. During the course of an hour, groups of two to six players must work together to find hidden objects, unlock puzzles, and solve challenges to “escape” from the room in time. Families, friends, and professional groups will practice team-building and problem-solving skills as they solve a murder mystery, repair a broken submarine, find a cure to a “deadly” virus, or stop a malware attack. Escapology CEO Simon Davison said, “During the past two to three years, Escape games have emerged as the fastest-growing form of entertainment since cinema.” Kevin Williams, co-owner of Escapology Columbia, said that he and his team have welcomed a steady stream of more than 500 visitors – including students, military, and corporate guests – since the venue’s soft launch on February 21. “Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Guests have been great about posting positive reviews on social media sites like Yelp, and Facebook,” said Williams. “The majority of our business has been from word-of-mouth and people sharing with their friends on social media. It’s by far our number one referral source.” While the escape games lie at the center of the business, Williams also has a larger vision that includes hosting events for team building and offsite corporate training. The integrated conference rooms and common areas, as well as the central Columbia location, all lend themselves well to these types of events. Tina Williams, co-owner of Escapology Columbia, explained that “when people first visit, they are usually surprised and tell us the venue is not at all what they expected, especially if they have been to other escape rooms. We have worked hard to put together a space that flows well and feels just as comfortable for a corporate event as it does for a date night. It’s much more than just a few escape rooms with an entryway.” Since February, Escapology has hired 12 part-time employees, an operations manager, and two shift supervisors, all of whom are from the Columbia metropolitan area. Kevin, Tina, and their five children, all have active roles in running the business: from social media to finance and from technical support to interior decorating. Kevin Williams is the former company president of Avtec Inc., the leading independent provider of voice dispatch software in North America. He left the company at the end of 2017 to open this new franchise. “I’ve enjoyed a challenging and successful professional career,” said Williams. “Now I’m able to pursue my personal goal of spending more time with my family, as well as leverage my experience in the corporate world to launch a fun, engaging team building venue right here in downtown Columbia.”