When Krista Goelz and David Crawley went out for a date night several months back, it was to a spot near Camp Lejeune where they paid to throw axes at targets.
“I was seven months pregnant at the time, but it was still a great time,” said Goelz, who’s now relocating to Spotsylvania County with Crawley, her husband. “And I did just as well as some of the strong, solid Marines I was throwing next to. It’s about technique, not strength.”
Though it was just one evening out, the night stuck in their minds, especially when they started to consider what it would take to operate a similar ax-throwing facility here as a way to supplement their day jobs.
The result is an ax-throwing facility called Kick N Axe that the couple and Goelz’s ex-husband, Justin Soaper of Spotsylvania, are operating as partners in southern Stafford County in a specially outfitted warehouse at 24 Synan Road.
Following a grand opening scheduled this past weekend, the plan is for the business to be open five days a week, with food trucks on hand in the busy times on the weekends.
In four lanes with concrete floors covered with wood chips separated by heavy wire barriers, those who pay $20 per hour will toss different sized axes at wooden targets at the end of the lanes.
“We’ll have chalk boards for those who want to keep score, or people can do it just for fun,” said Crawley, a Marine whose duty station will now be at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
He and Goelz noted that they were drawn to operate this sort of business because there’s not a huge overhead to get started, and because they like the notion of operating as a large, extended family with eight children.
“We think what will make us unique is that it will be just a place to enjoy throwing axes, something that’s become a sport that’s even now shown on ESPN,” said Crawley.
“Many of the places where the ax-throwing happens are either also bars, or restaurants with bars.”
Goelz said that when Soaper agreed that he’d like to help operate the business, the three partners checked out facilities in the region and realized that while there are ax-throwing spots in Richmond and D.C., there aren’t any in between.
“We think that with Quantico nearby, and [The University of] Mary Washington here, and with a large population around Fredericksburg, this is a great spot to start a place to competitively throw axes,” said Goelz.
The business isn’t a franchise, but will be a member of the World Axe Throwing League, operating with axes, targets, safety protocols and other details outlined in the same way bowling alleys or dart leagues operate within the guidelines of their related organizations.
Goelz said safety precautions are paramount for the business. They will allow only those 10 and older to take part, require them to be wearing closed-toe shoes and follow throwing procedures that will be overseen by an employee monitoring folks as they throw the axes.
“That person, who will be over 18, will be concerned with safety, but also with helping folks to get how to throw the axes,” said Crawley.
The owners plan to do corporate events, league nights and special sessions for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or other groups who might be interested.
Crawley noted that in addition to being a very family-oriented business, Kick N Axe will be unusual in another way.
“One partner’s a Marine, another’s an Army veteran and the third thing that makes it unique is that it’s partly owned by a woman,” he said.
One promotional idea the owners have considered would take place on Valentine’s Day. Someone who’s divorced or just no longer with a romantic partner could bring in a photo of that person to go on a target.
“We might call it something like Axes at Exes,” said Goelz, though she added, “I’m not sure how that would work with you, Justin!”
To learn more about Kick N Axe, go online to kicknaxe.com or to the business’s Facebook page at Kick N Axe.