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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 1 week ago

Hatchet job: New bar franchise will have patrons on the edge

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Stumpy's Hatchet House brings axe-hurling fun to Tampa.

Round up your friends, belly up to the bar and grab a hatchet: You’re in for some sharp-edged fun at Stumpy’s Hatchet House, an axe throwing bar franchise that recently arrived in Tampa.

Stumpy's Hatchet House has turned backyard axe-throwing fun into a bar franchise. Courtesy photo.

Local franchisee Brendan Wehmann hails from New Jersey, where, he tells Coffee Talk, axe and hatchet throwing is a popular backyard activity. The Garden State is also where Stumpy’s originated in 2016. (Other axe throwing joints dot the region, including one in Sarasota, Axe and Bull.)   

Stumpy’s has quickly grown and now has 19 locations. Most are in the northeast but Florida has two — the other is in Orlando — while Texas, unsurprisingly, has proven to be fertile ground.

What is surprising, Wehmann says, is the number of couples who patronize the bar, particularly first dates. "It's something fun and different," he says.

Axe throwing is certainly more interactive than going to the movies, and at $40 per person for two hours of throwing, it’s not much more expensive when you factor in the cost of popcorn and drinks. Plus, it’s an activity that men and women of most ages can do, though at present the facility is open only to people 21 and over.

The concept is also popular with off-duty police officers, firefighters and military personnel — groups to which Wehmann plans to market more heavily when he gets a hatchet-throwing league set up in the near future. The entire venue can be rented out for private parties and corporate team-building events, he says.

The franchise fee is modest — $35,000 — and Wehmann was able to find a spacious suite for the bar at United Business Park, 13353 West Hillsborough Ave., in Oldsmar. To paraphrase the theme song of “Cheers,” it could turn into a place where everybody knows your blade.

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