Effective March 18th, 2020 we were forced to shut our doors to the public over a fear of a rapidly spreading virus. Having nothing but time on our hands, we decided to study the virus to ensure that we can protect ourselves and our guests. After hours and hours of studying viruses and how to combat them; we determined that everything we have done from the beginning is what everyone is considering the “new normal.”
Basically, it is back to business as usual for us!
We did discover that since we are in Texas, that most likely the virus spreading will substantially slow as the temperatures rise. Which means in the matter of days the virus will either need to mutate or it will begin to weaken. Either way we will continue to offer hand sanitizer and ask that you bring your own dust masks. I am sorry we still are not able to get any masks from our supplier since we have been deemed unessential.
The great news is that we have begun offering splatter paint. Not only is it fun, it has become one of our most popular featured activities! While we were exclusively a rage room facility, we felt we were underserving our target audience. Now, with the painting, we feel that we are able to be more family inclusive.
Which is exactly how we would like to see the “new normal” to become for us. More inclusive of all ages.
We are going to 50% operating occupancy. This means we will be allowing parties of up to 10 people to come into our facility at a time. We will still only be operating by appointment only, as this may become a permanent feature of our business.
Update Effective May 10th, 2020
We will begin requiring prepayment for your visit in order to set your appointment. This is partly in response to the excessively large number of cancellations and no shows since we reopened May 1st, 2020. Only $10 is non-refundable to cover our cost of accepting the payment and issuing a refund if necessary. If you are not sure which package you are wanting, select “Not Sure Yet” to reserve a 30 minute time slot. We will collect the nonrefundable portion of the prepayment and reserve your time selection. We will then give you $10 credit towards whichever package you select on your arrival.
Effective May 1st, 2020
We will begin accepting reservations for our facility irrespective of any governmental orders or decrees. We believe that the information being provided from our governmental officials is inaccurate and incomplete and can no longer be considered relevant to the actual situation in Texas.
The inconsistent reporting of actual positive cases of Covid-19 from a lack of testing, selective testing; inaccurate reporting of cause of deaths because of not completing autopsies, to delays in reporting test results have caused us to come to our decision. We understand that many of you will not support our decision and we respect your right to stay home, please respect our right to return our lives to some semblance of normalcy.
We will be implementing the following rules during the transitional period of reopening to full opening by the government. We ask that you limit your group size to four (4) people or less. We will require that you have on a face mask to enter our facility. Additionally, we will only limit one group in our facility each hour we are open.
This should allow us time to clean and disinfect our counters, doors, and other exposed surfaces. If you have sensitive skin, please be aware that we will be using copious amounts of disinfectant in our facility which may agitate sensitive skin. We will be providing nitrile or vinyl gloves for our customers to use to avoid touching exposed surfaces.
My wife and I have three beautiful children. Like most people, our children have been our whole world since they were born. We feel it is important that we do not exclude them from this adventure in our life, that is why we want to provide a fun family friendly facility.
This is our most enforced rule at Smash N Bash. We want you to have fun! Release your inner beast mode, even if you are slightly agitated; or show us your best imitation of Jackson Pollock, we want to see you make beautiful art!
It is all about making you feel like a part of the family. We include as much of your family as possible in our activities. Some of the best memories that people make are with their families having a good time together.
People don’t always see eye to eye. That is why we feel that it is very important that we be friendly to everyone. We want to treat you like family; yet we understand that not everyone is receptive to being treated in such a manor. At the very least you can expect us to treat you with the respect and the courtesy you deserve.
Often we get some mention of questions about our environment or misconceptions because of our competitors policies about age limitations and other things. We have listed the bare minimum requirements to participate in the various experiences at our facility.
Waiver and Media Release Signed by Parent or Legal Guardian
Accompaniment by Parent or Legal Guardian if under age 12
Old clothes to get messy in, we don’t want to mess up your nice clothes
Must be 4 years old or older to enter
You will notice that our competitors limit their offerings to adults only because of the inherent dangers of a rage room, certain types of paint, and insurance requirements. We worked diligently to find the best possible offerings for our customers, as a result we can provide a fun family friendly facility.
As every one in Texas knows by now; we are all under a state mandated shelter in place order until April 30th. As long as the order isn’t extended any further, our plan is to reopen our doors on May 1st. We will enact certain cleaning protocols and request that groups limit their numbers to no more than six people.
We have always been family friendly and will remain so. If you do have a group that wants to use our services and exceeds six people, you will be asked to divide into groups of six or less and placed in separate areas for the duration of your visit. We appreciate your understanding during these difficult times.
Updated April 1st, 2020:
We are currently slated to reopen on April 7th, 2020. However, we anticipate that this date will be pushed back, at which point our reopening becomes questionable and entirely up to our landlords willingness to work with us through this difficult time.
Updated March 20, 2020:
Governor Greg Abbott effectively shut us down until early April as we fall under either a gym or entertainment venue. It still remains to be seen if we will be able to reopen after the mandatory closure. A large part is dependent on our landlord and vendors willingness to work with our ability to pay our bills, as with any start up, we have been operating on a shoestring budget until revenues increased. Prior to March 9th, everything was increasing at a brisk pace (which allowed us to expand). Unfortunately there is no way to prepare for a mandatory closure caused by a pandemic.
We have suspended accepting any appointments from this point forward until the mandatory closure is lifted. We do offer products online for sale. In addition, we are exploring offering our splatter paint party at your location as a rental service. Thank you for your continued patience as we, along with everyone else deal with the Covid-19 scare of 2020.
Updated March 17, 2020:
We may joke about Corona Beer spreading the disease, or laugh at pictures of medical masks in our refrigerator. However, the Covid-19 outbreak has some very real world consequences. These consequences directly affect our safety standards for our business, us, and our customers.
We are no longer able to obtain dust masks at a reasonable costs. We are giving our consumers a choice to either provide their own dust masks (recommended) or go without one in our room until the Covid-19 scare subsides.
In the event that we are able to obtain some dust masks, we are going to be forced to charge our customers our cost for securing the masks; as retailers are out of stock and the secondary market is price gouging for them. This policy will continue until we are able to purchase the dust masks at our original cost point. We expect the demand for these to taper off once the Covid-19 scare is over. We apologize for the inconvenience.
In addition, we ask that if you have tested positive or believe that you have been exposed to Covid-19 that you refrain from visiting our location until you have been symptom free for three weeks.
We are making an effort to provide our service for our customers. We will remain open our normal hours until directed otherwise by government officials. In the meantime we have enacted a policy of one appointment per hour to give us the opportunity to clean & sanitize our equipment between each set of customers. Additionally, we will only accept groups of less 10 people at this time for your protection and ours.
Well it is getting close to the end of the month and we are having to make a decision that will affect our future. We have to choose between one of three options to promote our business. Oh the agony that we can only choose one, because if I had the resources we would choose all three!
Wrap a vehicle to advertise as we drive all around town. Not that we drive a great deal as we live near our shop, but some of our suppliers are over 100 miles away. We have to drive through some prime areas and the advertising could help our revenues.
Purchase an enclosed trailer and offer mobile services. Just think we could offer something that is fun for all ages, where the people are at. It also allows us to participate in festivals, fairs, and even special events. Plus we could use the trailer as a form of mobile advertising.
I know the first question is what about the trash? We have worked that out and will not be adding a great deal to the environment.
In the very near future we have the option to expand our facility as one of our neighbors is moving out. We could use the extra space to clean up our lobby, add additional features for our clients, and increase storage and rage room space.
Oh the horror of having to make such a tough decision!
In an effort to provide a better experience for our customers effective March 1, 2020 we will be reducing the number of packages available to choose from. We are eliminating our least popular package. and making a change to another. This will help eliminate some confusion.
This will not alter or change our popular packages.
We will be eliminating the XL Agitated package along with the XL Mad Mutha Package. We will be starting a new 25 minute package called Rajin! Rajin will include everything in the XL Mad Mutha plus more breakables. This should help end confusions about the packages for up to four people as the package will have the more items to break than its preceding packages.
Do we ever partake in a rage session and break stuff?
Yes we do frequently. Some of the things we notice about people is that they are not very thorough in breaking everything. They always leave something untouched or significantly undamaged. That is when we will usually finish off the job.
Occasionally, someone does break everything. That is when we just grab a few items and smash them ourselves. We don’t take a full package otherwise we are destroying our revenue stream. That would be bad business.
When we began developing our business, we would test various scenarios. That is how my wife went viral breaking a TV on twitter (my daughters tweet). It isn’t like we haven’t broken larger items, we have. At one time we had a Power Wheel F150 truck in our room. It withstood 6 groups of people, and us beating on it 3 or 4 times each. Talk about Ford Tough! But now it can be Found On the Road Dead!
Sourcing products is one of the most important details of any retail business and several different experience businesses. While we have worked diligently to source our smashables responsibly, there are times when you have to part ways with a vendor. Whatever the reason, the time it takes to find a reliable source for breakables can be a headache.
We have lost a vendor of some of our products. We are on the process of finding a replacement for them. In the event that it takes us longer than anticipated, we will be substituting larger items for smaller items. We hope that this issue is only temporary and that it does not affect our customers experience.
We apologize for any inconvenience that our issue may cause our customers in advance.
At some point we all make mistakes and have to eat crow. In the past six weeks we have come to enjoy the taste of crow. From arguing semantics about being in the city of Fort Worth, to dealing with noise complaints from neighbors. In the end we learned some valuable and costly lessons; but are better for it.
The internet is full of trolls, or as many call them; keyboard warriors. Well, we got one who feels to point out each and every little flaw in our social media posts, website, and our personal life. Man their life must really suck something fierce to spend so much time worrying about ours. Seriously, they spent the better part of four days trying to tell me how bad I suck because of things that happened in my past. They couldn’t even bother to get updated on the information, so wth? Why you mad bro? They learned that I know who they are and don’t care because they cannot do anything to us. They tried and failed to hack our reservation system.
We learned very quickly how to improve security….
Our neighbor didn’t like the noise levels (understandable). For six weeks we spent as much as we earned to dampen the noise. Finally, they involved their family who involved the city code inspectors and chief of police. We educated them on the noise levels and our efforts to mitigate the noise. Zero fines or summons later, and a remodel.
We learned very quickly how to deal with complainers who are never happy…
Even during these trials opportunity continued to present itself. Sometimes in strange ways. Opportunities that included a new business opportunity that we passed on. We forged some great deals with suppliers for our merchandise that we use to break. Some deals that may eventually affect our consumers (think Southwest Airlines type business deals). There is even an opportunity that we are considering as I type this post.
We learned every opportunity is not a good opportunity, but don’t pass on the great ones!!!!
What I am getting at, is that no matter what happens; learn from it. Good or bad, learn something. Like ignoring a troll, how to communicate with neighbors to achieve a common objective, and recognizing good and bad opportunities to improve upon your objectives. Life presents these challenges every day. Some are insignificant while others are monumental. Take something away from each and every one of them and learn something.
Today, I learned our WHY from a book. I knew what it was, but couldn’t describe it. now I can, but that is for another post.
We know that rage rooms started before 2008 in an East Asian country. No one is exactly sure who started the concept or where it started. I have read that the concept started in Singapore, Japan and even here in the United States. We do know a little more about modern rage room history as there have been a few places that have tried to chronicle rage rooms.
The first two chronicled rage rooms in North America seem to be located in Dallas, Tx and Toronto Canada. Both opened in late 2008. The Dallas location shut its doors after the tragic death of the owner. The location we think became what is known as Battle Sports (not 100% certain).
Status of Industry
The industry is approximately eleven years old and is growing rapidly. Currently there are no set standards for safety, breakables, pricing or even age limits. People are opening rage rooms faster than insurance companies can develop policies to cover them. There is some concern over the lack of safety standards of these pop up rage rooms. The industry has been lucky so far that only a few known cases of injury have occurred, fortunately nothing major.
By the end of 2008 there were approximately 10 rage rooms world wide. Currently there is an estimated 100 rage rooms in North America alone, and probably 2-3 times that many world wide. It is time that the owners of the rage rooms come together to establish industry standards for not only the safety of their customers but for the continued growth of the industry.
Some of the standards that customers have come to expect rage room industry providers are as follows.
Paying by the person
Safety gear provided
Availability of space for Groups
Standardized time allotments
The option to break their own stuff
Children aged 8 and older allowed
Additional activities available
There are some standards that need to be established within the rage room industry to not only benefit our clients but to also become socially responsible. For example recycling or upcycling the smashed items. Currently, Smash N Bash recovers all electronic power cords and computer parts from TVs, computers, printers, cell phones, and other items for recycling. In addition we also try to provide local artist and manufacturers with other broken pieces and scrap metals for upcycling into new products.
The more we can do with and for our community will allow the industry to prosper for years to come and be seen in a positive light.