We catch up with Nick Hogan who's bringing a fantastic new experience to town, Chesterfield Escape Rooms.
Nick Hogan is one Chesterfield chap that many people are very happy with. Why? Because he’s opening up Chesterfield Escape Rooms on 17 May and bookings are filling up fast!
Chesterfield Escape Rooms is located on Soresby Street in the town centre above GHQ (Geeks Head Quarters) and Lily Pad restaurant. I caught up with Nick over Zoom to discover a bit more about his personal escape.
“Despite the hospitality, tourist, and entertainment sectors being devastated over the past six months, I see a real need for family, friends and teams to spend some quality time together in a safe, clean, fun, exciting, and challenging environment,” explains Nick.
“Our intention is to reinvigorate a little bit of the town centre and bring to Chesterfield three new and exciting escape rooms, never seen before in this area.
“We looked long and hard at the type of escape room we wanted to provide and eventually chose rooms that have been played by over 30,000 people in the UK.
“Trip Advisor ranks these games as the number one attraction in their towns, so we know the people of Chesterfield will enjoy their time with us. We aim to deliver a fantastic customer experience and put a smile back on people's faces,” says Nick.
So, what is an escape room? It’s a game in which a team of up to six players work together to discover clues, solve puzzles, and complete tasks in one or more rooms. The end game is to progress through the room to ensure you escape within an hour.
Sounds easy? For many they make it look easy, but our personal experience is very different, when, as a family, we previously visited a room in the Lake District, and have to admit to calling in assistance after becoming totally stuck on one clue! We did manage to escape but felt like we’d cheated the system, I really can see how completing a room without any external help must be so pleasing. Maybe next time!
Nick is new to the Escape Room world after spending a career in software sales and reaching a point where he was looking for a new focus. “I was spending far too much time away from home and family and took retirement in 2019. I relaxed, played some golf, trained as a tiler and did a few jobs before realising this didn’t mix well with my old sports injuries, then played a few local escape rooms and the seed was sown,” explains Nick.
This is a long-term plan for Nick who is determined to make it a success. “We found a franchise operator that has been great to work with and started looking for ideal premises, we needed to be in the town centre, close to local hospitality and with parking close by. At the time the premises, containing The Geeks HQ and Lilypad was for sale, it ticked all the boxes and is now home to Chesterfield Escape Rooms.”
The rooms are a franchise from successful Chelmsford based Know Escape who have designed and run their own games since 2016, and wherever they are, they are number 1 on Trip Advisor. “We’ve had our first staff training and people playing the rooms have come out buzzing. We have three rooms, Rob the Bank, The Governor and The Crazy Cat Lady which offer a choice for all, plus the option to revisit and complete each room in turn,” says Nick.
“They’re family friendly, ‘Rob The Bank’ needs you to get back the family gold, ‘The Governor’ sees you and your team of paranormal explorers kidnapped when entering HM Greenslade Prison, and ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ needs her mischievous cats finding before she returns home.
Can you complete the tasks in one hour and make it out?”
Nick was also keen to ensure the following local businesses got a mention who have worked tirelessly to get the rooms ready for the May opening; Abbotsbury Contractors, The Handy Pro Handyman and Services, Dalton Roofing, LGE Electrical Solutions, BRM Law, Destination Chesterfield, Derbyshire Alcohol Advice, JP Fire Safety Solutions Ltd, Indigo Hygiene, Dronfield Upholstery, Chesterfield Carpet Tiles and Nick also added thanks to anyone that has helped along the way he may have missed.
Nick, in setting up the team, has worked with the Kickstart Program to offer important employment to local people. “It’s essential we support the local economy; and we have worked hard to find the right people for the positions. We’re excited to be a new addition to Chesterfield's cultural and hospitality sector. We’ve already established links with our neighbours and see Chesterfield Escape Rooms as part of a great experience,” says Nick.
So, after you’ve succeeded in your escape, call into the County Music Bar where Nick has established a partnership that gets you exclusive food and drink discounts on the day of your game (Note: you will need to show your game voucher), supporting and bringing together the nearby independent businesses.