Trying to find something fun to do while bored at Albion can be difficult. Too many nights at the Bohm and the Bogar have become monotonous and bowling has gotten a bit repetitive. However, less than 30 miles away in Jackson, something new has arrived. On Sept. 4, EpIQ Escapes opened their doors.
EpIQ Escapes is a new activity that is an escape room — themed rooms with a storyline full of puzzles and clues. To play the game, you’re locked in a room for an hour with the task of figuring out all of the puzzles in order to escape. If the hour is up though and the puzzles aren’t solved, you lose.
Recently, Union Board took a chance at EpIQ Escapes and returned with positive feedback.
“I had no idea what to expect going into it,” said Elaina Braunschweig, a sophomore from Clarkston, Mich. “I thought it would be some sort of maze you had to get out of, but it was just a normal room where you had to solve puzzles to unlock different items that would eventually give you a code to get out of the room.”
The idea of bringing an escape room to the area came to co-managers of EpIQ Shane Stephens, a junior from Albion, Mich., and Savanah Sheets, who is from Baker College in Jackson.
“Just kidding around, [Savanah] was like, ‘Hey, want to get locked in a room for an hour?’ And I was like, ‘That sounds terrible.’ And we did it,” said Stephens. “Then we got obsessed.” When they returned to Michigan, they tried out all of the escape rooms they could find. By then, the desire to introduce their own escape room to the area was strong.
“We never opened it and said ‘Let’s make a quick buck.’ It was never about that,” said Stephens. “It was about, ‘Let’s make our community better.’ There’s nothing cool to do around in our town, and we have a lot of fun doing this.”
Even with the fun in introducing EpIQ Escapes to Jackson, it’s still a job and does have its difficulties.
“There hasn’t been a day since we opened where I didn’t get a phone call from Savanah, [that said] ‘Hey someone wants to do this,’ or ‘Hey can you pick this up,’ or ‘Hey can you call this person?’”
EpIQ Escapes is open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, yet sometimes they’ll get calls for special events, requesting the escape rooms to be open another day or something for school will get in the way.
With school and the escape rooms, Stephens is a busy college student, especially since he’s in the process of creating an individually designed major.
“I’m studying a little bit of business, of course, but I’m also studying gender and sexuality,” said Shane. “Learning about gender and sexuality and a little bit of business will help me do something in the future,” said Stephens. “I’d eventually like to open some sort of non-profit where we can do something good for the trans community.”
For now though, Stephens works with his best friend Sheets at EpIQ Escapes, exercising the minds and bringing excitement to the people who visit.
“We are so proud of what we’re doing, so whenever someone that we know comes to see it and they enjoy it, it’s so rewarding for us,” said Stephens.
“My team finished the room with a few minutes to spare … And we were so excited that we got out. We were screaming and jumping up and down,” said Braunschweig. “The best things about the room were the team building and the problem-solving aspects of it.”
A new possibility for EpIQ Escapes is a travelling escape room. Stephens and Sheets are hoping to add on an option to set up all of their supplies in a classroom to bring their escape room to the students.
“We’re looking to do it in classrooms at universities and colleges,” said Stephens. “So we’re really hopeful that we’ll get to bring our travelling escape room at Albion College so that every [student] can experience it.”
One great advantage offered to Albion affiliates is a 25% off when signing up by using the promo code “gobrits.”