ST. CLOUD, Minn. – The Alex and Tony Ducklow didn’t know they wanted to go into the business until they visited one themselves.
“I walked out of my first escape room and immediately thought: this is it. This is the dream job I didn’t know existed until now,” Alex Ducklow said.
Tony shared this sentiment with his brother, and together they started their own escape room called the Lock and Key Escape Rooms in Minneapolis. They’ve only been open since October, but they’ve already gotten crowds of people at their doorstep wanting to solve a mystery.
Escape rooms have been filling family weekend plans over the past year. These all-inclusive, live-action puzzles are for those who enjoy challenges, or have ever dreamed about solving their own mysteries.
“I think that people just like getting out of their own lives and fulfilling a fantasy,” Alex said. “These rooms give people the opportunity to live a sort of dream.”
Tony’s favorite part about working with his brother at the escape room is getting to build these dream worlds for families, bringing laughter and fun into their lives.
“People come out surprised by how they get through the room, and it’s a lot of fun to watch them figure it out,” Tony said.
The two brothers get to watch the people make their way through the room via security cameras. These cameras provide the opportunity for the escape room artists to give the customers clues if necessary. This way, the room is never too difficult to get through.
“We have a 100% escape policy,” Tony said. “If you can’t figure it out then we will keep giving you clues so that you can get through it.”
Escape rooms have popped up around the Twin Cities, but are now becoming a common sight in every town. St. Cloud’s own Escape Room has picked up speed since it’s opening about a year ago.
The Sauer brothers who run the business have been enjoying growth that they’ve been seeing.
“We’ve gotten a lot of good reviews from people,” Nathan Sauers said. “People have fun and then they want to go and tell their friends.”
This upswing in business has given the brothers the opportunity to design more rooms with different themes. The newest is “Escape the Asylum” which is designed after a 1920’s-ish asylum that includes shackles for the customers. Despite the themes, Nathan says that all of the rooms are for ages 10 and up.
“People are worried that these are going to be scary, but they’re not horror-themed. We want people to feel safe and comfortable while enjoying the puzzles,” he said.
Looking towards the future, Nathan says he’s planning on opening a new escape room with a different theme, hoping to give an even larger variety to his customers.
If you would like to experience the puzzles yourself you can make a reservation at www.stcloudescaperooms.com.