Most businesses reserve the ax for their employees. Jaime Dyer plans to give it to his customers.
The Westmoreland resident, 36, has proposed opening an ax-throwing venue at 116 Main St. in Keene, which he hopes would draw people from nearby restaurants and other entertainment providers downtown, like The Colonial Theatre.
The Keene Axe House would have eight throwing lanes, each in an enclosed cage, where patrons could hurl axes at a wooden target, according to Dyer. That would be the extent of the business to start, though he said it could grow to include more amenities, such as alcohol service.
“I guess I’m going to try it out and see if I want to expand after a year,” he said.
Originally from Greenfield, Mass., Dyer said he became familiar with ax-throwing while living in Florida. He moved to Westmoreland last December and decided to open his own place — which would be his first business — after noticing that the nearest ax-throwing venues are in Manchester and southern Massachusetts.
“The city I lived in had probably four or five of them,” he said. “I always wanted to try out working for myself.”
Dyer has requested approval from city officials to open The Keene Axe House at the former location of 365 Cycles, which closed in March — since indoor recreational activities need a special exception at that site. The zoning board of adjustment is scheduled to consider that proposal Monday.
Roger Weinreich of Gilsum owns the Main Street space, which he said measures approximately 2,500 square feet. Weinreich said he initially had safety concerns about an ax-throwing business but after researching the industry, found that it is safe and has been widely successful.
“I’ve been kind of amazed to see how they’re growing,” he said.
If approved, The Keene Axe House could open as early as June 4, according to Dyer. He said the business would initially be open on Fridays and weekends, adding that he could expand its hours if it proves popular.
Explaining that he’s “trying to do everything right,” Dyer said he plans to take classes offered by the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship in Keene, which offers coaching to business leaders in the area.
He also plans to keep his job as a maintenance worker for the Winchester plumbing supplies company Plumb Pak, at least for the time being.
“I’ll stay there for at least a little while,” he said. “I want to make sure that it will develop into something that’s sustainable.”