Residents in Kitsap County will soon have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a situation that most people would like to avoid: using clues to complete a timed task in exchange for their freedom.
A soon-to-open escape room, called Kitsap Great Escape, will allow locals to use their wit to regain their freedom. The venture — the first such business in the county — will be located at 9481 Silverdale Way NW.
For those that are unfamiliar with what an escape room is, co-owner Joey Marcello wanted to start by addressing what they are not.
“You are not locked in a room, you are not in a small space where you can’t escape from. In the Ukraine, that is how it originated,” Marcello said. “The business has evolved, mostly because fire marshals don’t let you lock people in rooms.”
The essence of their escape room is that escapees are immersed in a situation for an hour in which the participants must make sense of a series of clues along the way. Two rooms have been announced so far, with a third one in the works. The rooms have electronics, sound and lighting designs to enhance the immersive fantasy settings.
“Sector X” is a space-themed escape room where one of the specimens onboard has gotten loose. Participants will have one hour to contain the specimen before it reproduces, takes over the ship and kills everyone.
The other room — “The Terminal” — is based on a New York subway station. The objective in this room is to stop a series of subways from colliding after a disgruntled employee sabotaged the station’s controls.
Depending on what the participants are looking for, they will be given a certain number of clues throughout their hour to help them solve the task.
“We’re hoping that somebody comes out of a room and enjoys it so much that they come back and try another one,” Davis said. “We don’t want people to struggle and not enjoy themselves.”
Marcello and co-owner Dan Davis became good friends through their church. One day over lunch, the two spontaneously decided to pursue the idea of an escape room as a business after visiting some in the Seattle area.
“There is really nothing like that close by,” Davis said. “You see [escape rooms] more in the bigger cities, so we decided to bring one here. There’s not a lot of things like this in the area. When the weather starts to turn, we want to be able to bring people inside.”
Davis was born and raised in Belfair and currently works at St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor. Marcello is originally from the East Coast and lived in the Midwest before the Navy stationed him in the Northwest. He currently works as a government contractor.
According to the co-owners, both of their spouses are heavily involved in setting up the escape rooms. They hope to hire a couple of part-time employees to help maintain the level of business they are looking to achieve. Both Davis and Marcello work other jobs, so the hours of Kitsap Great Escape will be centered around their schedules.
“We want to see how this takes off first,” Davis said. “The majority of people who are going to want to do this will be [visiting] during evenings and weekends. With our current jobs, we have the flexibility since we both work day shifts. Although it might make for some really long days, we’re hoping that with the four of us, we can balance it out enough and not burn ourselves out.”
Marcello said their expected business hours will be Friday evenings, all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday. He said they will be experimenting with Thursday evenings and will open for scheduled special functions, such as corporate events, during the week.
Davis and Marcello are waiting for approval from the Kitsap County fire marshal before they can announce an opening date.