A Sheffield-based visitor attraction which provides a fun live escape experience is locking down plans to open a second site in Leeds.
City centre-based The Great Escape Game, described as a Crystal Maze-style concept fusing scenarios from horror movies and detective dramas with the challenges of live theatre and video games, brought in 27,000 visitors and turnover of £250,000 in its first year of trading.
Following such rapid growth, the business founders, Hannah Duraid, aged 25, and Peter Lacole, aged 29, are now launching a sister branch in Leeds, taking over 6,000 sq ft of former office space at Atlas House in the city centre.
Hannah and Peter brought the exit room concept to Sheffield after experiencing it while travelling in Asia two years ago.
They launched with business support from the enterprise team at Sheffield Hallam University, where Hannah studied. The business has now been ranked as the number one attraction for fun and games in Sheffield on the TripAdvisor website, has a workforce of 17 and is set to recruit four new staff.
Hannah said: “Our business idea was laughed at initially but we had seen how popular the concept was in Asia. Exit games take people out of their day to day lives and encourage them to interact, have fun and pool their brainpower. It’s turning the tide from the often solitary pursuit of online gaming into an activity that unites people. We have come through our first year in profit, which is being ploughed back into the business, and Leeds was the obvious choice for expansion.”
A change of use and leisure license application has been granted by Leeds City Council. Designers will create a reception area and bar, along with three games rooms above. It will open in September, aims to create up to 10 games rooms and attract 50, 000 visitors a year.
In addition, The Great Escape is searching for a new 3-5,000 sq ft Sheffield location to replace its current rented premises in Sidney Street. Said Hannah: “We need additional space to develop new games that will draw repeat custom and accommodate extra staff.”