Bad Axe Throwing

It’s been one week since Gov. Brian Kemp’s order allowing certain businesses to reopen went into effect. Many businesses opted to remain closed as the COVID-19 outbreak continues, but others decided to give it a go, including Bad Axe Throwing on the Westside.

The results were less than stellar. In fact, they were a “nightmare,” according to the company’s president and CEO, Mario Zelaya.

The recreational entertainment venue where customers, literally, throw axes at targets while enjoying food and beverages has been a popular destination since it opened in 2017 (read INtown’s feature on Bad Axe in our archive at this link), but customers weren’t ready to get back to having fun just yet.

“We did a lot of marketing. We spent a lot of money letting people know we’re open. It had zero impact. The reopening weekend was a disaster. We had two customers all weekend. This points to a bigger problem the entertainment industry is going to have,” Zelaya said.

Zelaya said Bad Axe took extra safety and sanitation precautions including wiping down the axes with Clorox wipes, cleaning tables and surfaces, limiting capacity, and coaches maintaining social distancing.

Zelaya said Bad Axe’s reopening debacle is a cautionary tale for other businesses planning to follow suit.

“We prepared for the worst, but two customers was something we never imagined. Bars, bowling alleys, movie theaters, axe throwing and any other entertainment concepts are going to have the most difficult time reaching normalcy after the closures. This past weekend showed us that. It’s very worrisome for our Atlanta location.”

Zelaya said Bad Axe would try it again this weekend with limited hours. “We hope this weekend is much better than the last, but we need to keep things alive.’

The company, which has multiple locations around the US and abroad, planned to reopen its Oklahoma City location on May 1 despite the turnout in Atlanta.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.