Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandan Wormsbacher.
Three doctors finally have time to relax together. They are driving around (at snail’s pace) the ever busy roads of Atlanta when they decide to try something called an “escape room”, then they were hooked and did a few more the same day. Unfortunately, they felt something was missing. The three physicians new this real life game play could be so much more and that this is the future of entertainment. These three: Sarah, Tom and Brandan that night started their company Situation Room (named because Brandan thought that’s what they were called initially instead of escape room) by asking themselves what they would want from an entertainment experience. Brandan knew from his years of working at Disney World that the story line was needed to build a connection between players and make sense of why gamers are trying to unlock all the puzzles in the room. Thomas, with his years of video game play and an undergrad degree in mathematics knew he could create his own entertaining and original puzzles. Sarah with her experience in marketing for bikini’s to pay for medical school (but that’s another story) knew complete immersion with the theme was going to be what people will be coming for. This ownership group knew that its customers are just like them. In essence, they see themselves as their own customers. For this, they would work 16 hour days as resident physicians then leave the hospital to pitch ideas to each other, story board, make their own sound tracks, cut, saw, paint, design, whatever it took to get the business off the ground. Finally, in October 2016 they opened their doors and were able to get some sleep that night after 6 months. Thomas remembers that day as the best sleep he ever got.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We started on a shoe string budget and could only put $10 into marketing in the form of a 36” by 48” piece of paper we printed at an office supply store and carefully taped to the window of our store front. Our first month open was not a success. Everything broke, nobody in our area had ever heard of an escape room, tickets were not selling the way we anticipated. Then when we were worried about the future of our company and the thought of being on the hook for a 5 year lease the universe handed us a get out of jail free card in the form of being featured on a well-known online discount for local experiences website. All of a sudden we had customers, people knew who we were, local newspapers and news stations started doing stories on our brand of entertainment. Eventually, we were able to graduate from needing the crutch of the online discount website. Ticket sales while improving were not enough to do much more than barely breaking even. You see owning an escape room comes with a lot of cost even though we made everything ourselves. After a few months of being open we received a letter from a Girl Scout troop leader saying thank you to Situation Room for creating an environment where her troop could come together and have fun. She stated that our Situation Room had taken her girls out of their normal environment and immersed them in something different, a good kind of different that has helped. She mentioned that before doing our escape room that the girls in her troop did not like each other and did not get along in any capacity which stopped them from working as a team. She noticed a difference that started after she brought her girls to do one of our escape rooms. The difference is that her troops are now more team focused and work together better after sharing an experience at Situation Room. It was at that moment that a light bulb went off. We quickly went back to the drawing board but this time working with an industrial psychologist as we re-developed our rooms. In this moment we became a company that specializes in team building, not just an escape room. We must have done a good job as an independent consulting agency has coined us to be the “nation’s leading team building escape room experience”. From the moment we received a letter from that Girl Scout troop leader our company sky rocketed.
Situation Room – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As an escape room we do things differently. We focus on story line. The details make the experience an entertaining one. We have a much larger game play areas than most other companies. At Situation Room each game takes about 1,200 sq. ft. of rooms, trapped doors, secret passageways. Many escape rooms while saying they have a theme put stickers all over the place reminding you that you cannot touch certain items. Situation Room fully immerses our players by allowing them to touch anything they desire as it may be part of the puzzle and we’ve created about 3 to 5 different ways to solve each puzzle to reward outside the box thinking.
As a team building company we do not do trust falls and we do not have long paper test for personality assessment. We have designed our escape room experience to be a fun bonding event that translates over to the work place showing individual strengths, talents and how to use these to improve as a team. We have a lot of fun with our team at Situation Room and we focus on getting other groups to have fun too.
As a company I am most proud of the fact that we never lost focus on the idea that we can always keep improving, always have fun, create great entertainment that can also mean much more to others. We help companies create great teams, we help create a fun day out for friends, we provide entertainment for all ages and we can even make a great daddy-daughter day outing.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
The only measure that matters when we talk about success is if you leave the world in a better place than how you got it. I think our team at Situation Room has done this. I want to say thank you to our wonderful staff at Situation Room for helping us make our dreams a reality.
I would like to thank all of our customers for helping to make us a success and for sharing our brand with their friends and families.
- $30.00 per player
- Website: SituationMacon.com
- Phone: 478.812.8260
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SituationRoomMacon/
George Murray III