PORTSMOUTH — Southern Ohio Axe Throwing’s newest location is now open for business.
Owners Ron and Shawna Ward decided to open their business after attending Southern Ohio Axe Throwing (SOAT) in Chillicothe when they instantly became hooked on the activity.
“This whole idea was based off of wanting something to do and wanting something for our community,” said Ron Ward. “Our son Jacob who attends SSU told me there’s really nothing to do so he would rather just come home and would sit on his phone and it made me realize the youth needs something to do.”
Ward said his mother-in-law was another big inspiration to the start of their business.
“My 76 year old mother-in=law who is an avid bowler hit her first bullseye and looked at me and said she might even like axe throwing more than bowling and I thought that was pretty awesome,” said Ward.
Ron then contacted Heather and Dave Dratwa, the owners of SOAT Chillicothe, to see if they would be interested in partnering with him and his wife to open a location in Portsmouth and they were on board with the idea immediatly.
Once the Ward’s found a building, they began constructing the inside of the facility themselves.
“Everyone keeps asking what the hours are but I’m allowing the public to make that decision, there’s no reason for me to say we’re going to be open at this certain time because with a small business you have to maintain some sort of accountability to your bottom line,” said Ward.
The venue features 5 lanes with 2 targets per lane, two league style dart boards with online play, TouchTunes media, a competition sized shuffle board, and many other activities as well.
Members can have up to 14 people in a lane which get divided into two teams where an axe-pert will teach you how to throw, a few games, and eventually have you throw against every member of your group. Group members of all ages are welcome to throw.
“If you can throw the axe to the board, we will show you how to stick an axe in the board. Within ten minutes we’ve had 7, 8, and 9 year olds throwing bullseyes,” said Ward.
Pricing is $30 per person to throw for an hour and a half. In that time an axe-pert tells the rules, teaches you how to throw properly and shown many different techniques. Open throw is $15 for 30 minutes or $25 for an hour.
The family has been averaging around 100-170 people per weekend
“Our community has been so cooped up with the Covid crisis that people are just eager to get out and do something,” said Ward.
Ward does expect for business to become busier through the winter months.
SOAT is located at 412 2nd street and is part of the DORA district where you can bring drinks in from local establishments like Portsmouth Brewing Co. and Patties and Pints to enjoy while at the venue.
Customers are welcome to bring in their own food and drinks. Ward says they are in the proccess of getting a beer and wine license.
“If a group comes in and wants a bucket of beer I would like to be able to provide that for them but it’s not at the top of my agenda because we have folks from the Brewing Co. and Patties and Pints down the road and I’m not hear to take any business away from anybody down here, I’m just here for my own little niche,” said Ward.
The Ward’s said the build was all about the community and simply wanted to provide entertainment.
“My excitment comes from bringing a smile to someone’s face,” said Ward. “This isn’t about money, it’s about doing something positive for our community and providing an activity for the young and the old.”
SOAT does host birthday parties, bachelor/bachlorette parties, corporate events, team building, and offers a mobile axe throwing to cater to your events.
The businesses next big event is a benefit for Oaklynn Keller on Saturday, September 18 from 10a.m. to 10p.m. who is battling leukemia. The throw will be one hour for $20 and proceeds will go to the family.
The Ward’s and The Dratwa’s are very proud that they were able to use all Union contractors with the build and owe a special thank you to Mechanical Construction, West Electric, Quality Heating and Air, Kiery Frye, Bubba & Pat Webb of City Entertainment and of course the local merchants, Portsmouth Cement & Lime, and Portsmouth Building Supply.
“It’s something we wanted to do as a family to bring us closer together as well,” said Ward. “It brings a smile to my face to see a family or a group come in and put the phones down and just interact with each other.”
For more information or to book a lane go to www.southernohioaxe.com or visit their Facebook page, Southern Ohio Axe Throwing Portsmouth.
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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