In 2016, Stumpy’s Hatchet House in Eatontown was the first and only recreational hatchet-throwing facility in the country.
As Stumpy’s has grown, now to 13 locations, hatchet throwing venues and bars have popped up in most major U.S. cities. On Friday, the biggest hatchet throwing venue in the country will open in Upper Saddle River.
The 14,000-square-foot venue has 16 hatchet throwing pits, a VIP private pit, and an event space suited for corporate events and private parties.
“I think people are just looking to do something that’s active and more of an experience,” co-founder Kelly Josberger said of the hatchet-throwing trend. “We’re seeing a lot of team-building events for corporations and people who just want to do something out of the box. Most of the time when companies come in, no one’s thrown an ax before, so it kind of levels the playing field for men and women, and athletic and unathletic people.”
According to Josberger, sometimes it’s the unathletic people who pick it up faster.
“It’s more about finesse rather than strength of throwing,” she said.
The Upper Saddle River location, which is franchisee-owned, is located at 107 Pleasant Ave. and will host its soft opening this weekend and its grand opening on Sept. 7.
The franchisees saw an opportunity in Bergen County’s dense population and upscale clientele, she said, so they went for a big space and developed the VIP option.
“They have a VIP lounge there which is one private room where you can have a party and throwing pit in the same place. Rumor has it is Alicia Keys does rock climbing right next store, so they’re hoping to attract some of the stars who might want to be there but [have privacy from] everyone else,” Josberger said.
All weekend, bookings at the new Upper Saddle River location are 50 percent off.