CALDWELL — After attempting to throw an ax one day in Colorado, Ashley Brennan and her husband, Trever Lambert, knew they wanted to open the Treasure Valley’s first-ever indoor ax room in southwest Boise.
Now, less than a year later, they’re hoping to expand and open a second Section 37 Axe Room location in downtown Caldwell in which the main feature is just what it sounds like: ax throwing — patrons actually toss axes by hand, aiming at targets on a wall.
If all pans out, the new ax room would be almost double the size of their Boise location at 10535 W. Overland Road. Brennan and Lambert are looking to move to the roughly 6,000-square-foot space at 716 Blaine St. in downtown Caldwell, close to the Indian Creek Plaza.
“It (the building) kind of fit our model perfectly,” Brennan said. “When we found out it was empty and available, that is what spurred us to really commit to Caldwell.”
The new location would have a total of 12 lanes, each with two targets. It would also include additional open space with couches and different types of seating for people waiting to throw an ax or wanting to hang out.
“We have a whole bunch of different party and card games that people can sit and play while they are waiting,” Brennan said.
They would also allow people to bring their own food, or have it delivered. Patrons could also bring in beer and wine.
The new location would be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday, noon to midnight on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Private events could be booked outside of regular business hours, said Brennan.
Keri Smith-Sigman, CEO of destination Caldwell, which manages the Indian Creek Plaza, said she recruited the business “very heavily” because she wants three sources of entertainment downtown.
Currently, Caldwell has the plaza and the Luxe Reel Theatre, so she thought the ax room would bring a different option for everyone to enjoy.
For now, plans to open in Caldwell have been put on hold. The city’s Planning and Zoning Department has classified the indoor ax-throwing room as an “amusement center” within the city center zoning district, requiring the applicant to obtain a special-use permit, which could include conditions laid out by the department. Being labeled an amusement center also means that there could be different building code regulations that may not be necessary, according to Smith-Sigman.
Brennan said that she and her husband don’t want that.
The Boise location is defined as a “recreation center,” similar to a bowling alley, which doesn’t require a special-use permit.
“We don’t feel like they’re making the decision based on fact,” Brennan said of the city of Caldwell. “We feel more like they are making the decision based on the fact that they don’t know what our business is.”
Brennan is looking to appeal Planning and Zoning’s decision to label the business as amusement at Monday night’s City Council meeting, set to take place at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the Caldwell Police Department.
If the appeal doesn’t go through, Brennan said they don’t plan to open in Caldwell.
“We’re hoping everything goes good with the appeal,” Brennan said. “This hasn’t been the best process so far, but we feel pretty good about the appeal.”