In just over a year, Carol Hall has grown her escape room business dramatically, in fact, she's in the process of expanding.St. Clair County’s first and only escape room is undergoing a major expansion.
The Hallway Escape is leaving its original location for a new building, one that will provide the business with more than three times the space to grow. The Hallway Escape is moving into the old Grace Episcopal Church downtown, leaving its original 1,000 sq. ft. leased space for the 3,500 sq. ft. old church, a building the company purchased earlier this year.
A ribbon cutting ceremony with the chamber of commerce and city officials is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 8. Party plans are still being arranged.
The physical expansion also allows for an expansion of the business. Carol Hall, owner of The Hallway Escape, has also created The Hallway Headquarters.
Escape rooms, the increasingly popular puzzle- and riddle-solving adventure games, are especially popular as company teambuilding exercises. Where before Hall would have to rent off-site conference rooms to host teambuilding exercises and other private events like birthdays and bachelor and bachelorette parties, the new space allows for the creation of The Hallway Headquarters, the business that will host the private events on-site.
The conference rooms will offer unique activities in each room, including game shows like Hollywood Game Night, Jeopardy, or Family Feud.
Hall opened the original Hallway Escape in April 2017. Having recently left her job, it was time for Hall to break off on her own.
"I realized I wanted to start my own business. I’ve always loved startups," Hall says.
"I’ll probably end up being a serial entrepreneur."
When Hall left her job, she researched to see what Port Huron didn’t have: An escape room. As she puts it, it’s been "packed ever since."
Now that Hall has an extra 2,500 square feet to play with, she plans on taking advantage of it. Fans of the original Hallway Escape will be comforted to know that the escape room will carry over with two different themes: An Ocean’s 11-style casino heist game and a Clue-type murder mystery. But there will also be much more.
In addition to the conference rooms available to companies during the week and private parties on the weekends, Hall has lots of plans for the new space. Hallway Headquarters will be renting football-bowling sets for backyard parties and barbecues, with the potential for football-bowling events on-site.
With the old church having more than 15 different rooms, Hall is considering the possibility to escape from one room into another.
The Hallway Escape will also be adding an escape room for children, which is something that the public keeps asking for, says Hall. The kids’ escape room will have a pirate treasure hunt theme.
Currently available is a scavenger hunt that takes people on an adventure throughout downtown Port Huron. Patrons download an app and then walk through downtown, finding clues and answering riddles.
Hall recently returned from a national escape room business conference in Nashville where she put Port Huron on the national escape room map. She also learned a bunch of new tricks to bring back to town.
Not that she can talk about it too much. It is, after all, the nature of the business.
"I don’t want to share too much. Secrecy is such a big part of this," Hall says. "But people can expect a more immersive experience."
Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.