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Author Sarah Kirton
Sarah Kirton
Created on Jul 2nd, 2023
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

LumberJaxe 2023: Home of Axe-Throwing

Lauren Flynn, manager at LumberJaxe, shares her experience with DeliveryRank. Whether individuals are new to axe throwing or seasoned pros, young in age (or at heart!), or seeking a fresh challenge, LumberJaxe welcomes them with open arms and axes in hand. LumberJaxe is more than just another axe throwing bar; it offers a thoughtfully curated, modern, and enjoyable atmosphere that serves as the ideal venue for any occasion. 

What can you tell us about the inspiration behind the creation of LumberJaxe Axe?

Axe throwing is still fairly new, as a sport and hobby. LumberJaxe was created as a way to share our passion and enthusiasm for the sport, and to create a community of like-minded individuals in the area. This activity is fantastic for team building, and Ottawa has a growing need for activities like this, particularly in an age of remote working where people don’t often get a chance to meet face-to-face in their office setting. 

Can you tell us about the unique aspects of LumberJaxe Axe Throwing that set it apart from other axe throwing establishments?

I think the biggest difference between us and our competitors is that we tailor every event to suit the needs of the guests. Every group, no matter how small, is given at least one coach, and that coach works with their group to determine what will be the best, most fun use of their time with us. Larger groups have more fun when the coaches are more hands on, and have us run a full-scale tournament for them. 

Smaller groups tend to enjoy a little more freedom, with their coach offering more difficult games and trick shots as the group progresses. Some groups are beginners, and they’ll require more coaching to be successful and enjoy themselves; other groups have members that have thrown several times before, in which case they benefit from our experienced coaches teaching them more advanced techniques, and continuing to challenge them as their skills develop. 

How do you ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for participants of all skill levels at LumberJaxe?

It all comes down to the coaching. Every coach is trained to give a fantastic experience to guests of all skill levels, and they’re trained to do it as safely as possible. There’s definitely a bit of a public perception that axe throwing is dangerous, or that those who throw axes as a hobby are all large, bearded men! Axe throwing is very safe when everyone understands and follows the rules in place, and our coaches are right there to make sure people are being safe and successful.

Could you share some examples of how LumberJaxe has become a hub for community engagement and connection among its patrons?

The axe throwing community is incredibly welcoming and supportive. I’ve been to many axe throwing venues in Ontario and abroad, and can tell you that kindness and enthusiasm are at the forefront of every community, regardless of venue or what scoring rules they use. LumberJaxe provides a safe space for that community to live and grow. We actively listen to our League members, and we do our best to adapt to new members and their needs. 

Our Sunday League has several teenagers in the group, and that can be intimidating when they’re facing adult competitors who have thrown for several years. One teen in particular has really become involved with the community - his mother has told me several times that her son has really come out of his shell since joining the League! He’s always the first to volunteer to score games, and last season the full League came together to honour his commitment to the sport. I’ve watched this kid become such a vibrant, vital member of the crew in just a few short months, and it’s really incredible to see how this community has helped him to open up.

Our Wednesday League has also become incredibly tight-knit; they host parties, karaoke nights, smash-room activities, and lots of other social events outside of their regular League night. They’re always so welcoming and inclusive of new members, but LumberJaxe can’t take all the credit for the wonderful people we’ve managed to collect - we’ve simply provided a safe space for these people to find one another.

What types of events and occasions do you typically host at LumberJaxe, and how do you cater to the specific needs and preferences of different groups?

We offer private events, open tournaments, and competitive leagues, to people of all skill levels. We host parties for birthdays, bachelor/bachelorettes, anniversaries - anything you might want to celebrate! We offer team-building events for corporate groups, and have also hosted charity tournaments. From first dates to 50th anniversaries, we do it all! 

When it comes to special events, we have experienced employees, who are also coaches, that liaise with the group organizers.  We don't use call centers or AI chatbots; we  work with group organizers one-on-one, and we collaborate to make sure any requests they might have can be safely met at our venue. Guests often want to put up decorations, bring in catering, or maintain a “theme” for their party (most recent: “Australia!”). We do our best to provide everything they might need, and to be someone they can reach out to with the smallest request.

How does LumberJaxe promote and encourage confidence-building among its visitors, beyond the act of axe throwing itself?

The sport of axe throwing absolutely builds confidence. I especially notice it in teens and women; lots of people think they won’t be able to throw an axe successfully, and when they do, they’re so incredibly excited and motivated to continue to succeed. But outside of the axe throwing, I think that where LumberJaxe really builds confidence is with our own staff. We give our staff the knowledge and tools they need to succeed as coaches, and support them through difficult groups. We know that our product, ultimately, IS our fantastic staff, not the targets, the axes, or the bar - it’s real people, with real feelings and needs, and we do our best to give them the confidence to stand up for themselves. 

The customer isn’t always right, especially when it comes to safety, and there is a marked difference with our coaches when they know they have the power and authority to lay down the law when guests aren’t taking that seriously. Building their confidence to take control, take up space, and be noticed - that confidence follows them, into their personal lives, and into future jobs when they move on from LumberJaxe. It’s so important to me that we help our staff develop into better, more confident people than they were when they started with us! 

It’s not uncommon for a coach to ‘put their foot down’ with a group. Sometimes it’s just calling out disruptive guests for their enthusiasm while they try to explain the safety rules or the tournament format. Sometimes it’s due to customers getting frustrated about their axe not sticking right away, and they start throwing harder and harder, only to continue to fail.  Nine out of ten times, we still get 5 star reviews from these ‘problematic’ groups, and/or they quietly thank us for reining in their overly rambunctious friends.  

A common refrain we hear is “It must be fun to work here!” - and that’s largely due to the confidence our coaches have. The happiness and confidence our coaches display on the job are felt by our guests, and it’s what keeps them coming back. 

If you would like to find out more about LumberJaxe, visit https://lumberjaxe.com/

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