In 2014, Suzanne Gilbert moved from London to Florida to be with her now-wife Alisha after months of long-distance communication. They were married in early 2015 and by 2018, they were throwing axes.
When Suzanne and Alisha first discovered the art of ax throwing, they were amazed by how much fun it was. The experience inspired them to begin thinking about what their own ax-throwing venue would look like. Alisha comes from a family of established entrepreneurs, and her “do or die” attitude rubbed off on Suzanne. Throughout the process of opening their own ax-throwing bar, the two found a business routine that worked — Suzanne was the front-of-the-house personality while Alisha worked behind the scenes.
After two years of research, Suzanne and Alisha started construction on The Hatchetbury in January 2020.
“When we were doing our business analysis, we didn’t have a pandemic in there.”
While opening a new business during a pandemic was not what Suzanne had in mind, the prep work that she and Alisha had done still served them well.
The name “The Hatchetbury” pays homage to Suzanne’s home country, playing on the idea of an English pub. When brainstorming about what they wanted their venue to look like, Suzanne and Alisha sought after an elevated experience that took a concept they loved and made it even more memorable. Soon, their 6,000 square-foot space will become a 9,000 square-foot space, adding an additional bar area for individuals to enjoy sporting events or drinks with friends.
One of the most important elements of The Hatchetbury is the “ax-perts” that makeup Suzanne and Alisha’s team. During one of their initial research trips to New York City, the couple explored an ax-throwing venue with a host who blew their minds. His strong confidence and personality made their experience fun and memorable — that was the kind of ax-pert they needed at The Hatchetbury! They soon discovered this ax-pert had a theater background, explaining his show-stopping attitude. When hiring their own ax-perts, Suzanne specifically looked for individuals with an entertainment background to give her guests an experience they would never forget. Now she has a magician, a pirate, a thespian, and a Viking on her team.
“This is what I love about this — you meet all types of people.”
The Hatchetbury opens its doors to anyone who needs a little fun in their day, whether they’re celebrating or simply looking for a weekend activity. That’s what makes ax-throwing so special — you can be 8 or you can be 80 and have a great time.
“I love giving out good vibes and I think we need it at the moment. We need stress relief.”
Even though a pandemic-open wasn’t in Suzanne and Alisha’s initial plans, they’ve still seen success thanks to their initial research, mission, and ability to find the positive in every day. Opening in 2020 means they didn’t have a baseline they had to “come back from” due to the pandemic — they’re establishing their baseline now, with a smile on their faces and an ax in their hands.