Folks who are tired of the bar scene or going to the movies have a new option for fun in the Columbia area. Take a walk through The Final Door in Cayce.
Sisters Tracy Crawford and Alexis Fenske decided to open The Final Door after their own escape room experience.
“I would say the escape room business chose us,” Crawford said. “The moment we experienced an escape room for the first time we knew we wanted to open one of our own.”
Crawford says she and her sister are very creative, original and competitive, and they wanted to “bring a new twist to the escape room business and up the game in South Carolina.”
“The Final Door isn’t just a job for either of us; it’s a passion, which hopefully translates to an amazing experience for our customers,” Crawford said.
The Final Door opens this Friday at 930 Knox Abbott Drive in Cayce and features an adventure game where players are locked in a room and must use elements of the room and clues to solve puzzles and escape within a set time limit.
Those concerned at the thought of being locked in a room have nothing to fear, Fenske says.
“You’re not locked in, you can exit if you feel like you just can’t handle this. You can just walk out the door,” she said.
The Final Door will offer rooms with different themes, though the grand opening will feature just one room. The first room to open is the Sacrifice Room. Three additional rooms are slated to open later this year.
“Our idea in any room is not to downright scare you, but the whole process is to put you outside of your element and immerse you into some different world,” Crawford said. “No one is going to jump out at you (or) scare you, but it can be a little spooky based on the ambiance at first.”
The sisters did a lot of research and development as they planned The Final Door, which included visiting escape rooms in Charlotte, Atlanta and even Marco Island, Florida.
“It was very helpful just to see the different styles and different possibilities and kind of open your eyes to where you can take this business,” Fenske said.
How it works
Players are advised to arrive at The Final Door 15 minutes prior to their scheduled game time. The game lasts 60 minutes, and players are debriefed after their session. Crawford and Fenske suggest planning to be there about and hour and a half total. Players also are urged to book their game time in advance.
A soft opening over the past few weeks earned The Final Door some high praise from escape room aficionados.
“I’ve participated in countless of these rooms across the nation. It immediately became evident that The Final Door was unique from the rest. The owners have done an excellent job incorporating the five natural senses into their rooms, this alone was a new experience for me,” said Kevin Flores, a U.S. Army healthcare specialist from Tennessee.
Another feature that sets The Final Door apart is the bar.
“We put together a nice lobby and waiting area,” Crawford said. “We will be getting our beer and wine license, then they can come and have a few drinks, and we call it “liquid courage.”
While the pair await their beer and wine license, they allow players to bring their own “liquid courage” in the form of beer or wine.
Flores has been playing escape games for about a year and got hooked on the experience by accident.
“I would drive by a building that did these sort of experiences. One day, with my wife and a couple of friends, we decided to book one of these rooms,” he said. “We immediately fell in love with the culture. These experiences achieve a high level of adrenaline coupled with teasing riddles and the inevitable ticking of the clock. It also allows you to exercise teamwork, which seeing how the world is nowadays, we can all use some practice in the art.”
For Crawford, a former accounting software consultant, and Fenske, who worked in sales for a scaffolding company, running this business has meant some big changes.
“It’s been fun! We gave up our 40-hours-per-week jobs for 80 to 100 hours per week,” Crawford said.
“We have not regretted it, not one day,” Fenske added.