People from all over Loudon County poured into Lenoir City on Aug. 1 to hurl axes and enjoy quality time with loved ones at a new, family-fun establishment in the downtown area.
After several months of renovations and pushing through the COVID-19 pandemic, East Tennessee Axe Throwing welcomed the public for their official grand opening.
Jessica and Tyler McMahan and Kim and Johnny Ashbrook decided to open up an axe-throwing house after experiencing it firsthand.
“The biggest reason we wanted to open up here is because there isn’t a whole lot of entertainment here in Lenoir City, and we wanted something for the younger people,” Jessica McMahan, ETAT co-owner, said. “We knew we wanted to do entertainment, and that was when we were playing around with ideas and went through like, ‘OK, I think this is it. We really like this’.”
“We wanted something that was family-oriented, family-friendly,” Kim Ashbrook, ETAT co-owner, added. “People could bring their kids down, have a good time and enjoy it. We went through axes one time and were hooked, so we just thought we’d bring one to Lenoir City. We really just want to bring a family-oriented entertainment venue to Lenoir City that everybody can enjoy.”
Renovations began back in February, but progress was slowed due to COVID-19. East Tennessee Axe Throwing is located on 113 E. Depot St., Lenoir City, beside Apostolic Faith Ministries.
“It has made it difficult, and we had some delays in getting people to come to work on renovations and stuff,” Jessica said. “It was definitely harder to get lumber for sure.”
East Tennessee Axe Throwing features seven throwing lanes with one-hour blocks. Each lane is equipped with a wooden target board with various points, and each participant gets 10 throws for each game played.
“We have axe coaches that coach the individual groups, and right now because of COVID-19, we’ve kind of scaled back our capacity,” Kim said. “We wanted to make sure everybody is safe, so we’ve limited our capacity to six people per lane so that they can socially distance. They go over the safety guidelines and basically teach them how to throw the axes. It’s kind of like darts because there’s a bullseye in the middle and each ring from there on out has different points. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.”
The staff is taking necessary precautions to keep customers safe during the pandemic.
“We had a soft opening last week just for family and friends to make sure that we didn’t have any processes or things like that we needed to work on,” Kim said. “The community itself seems very excited, and we’ve had great support. I do think the number of bookings are down because of COVID-19 — people are concerned about that. We are taking all precautions. Our staff and coaches are wearing masks, we sanitize the axes and surfaces after each group leaves, so we’re trying to take every possible measure to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy.”
City officials believe East Tennessee Axe Throwing will be a big hit for the community.
“I love seeing unique businesses come to Lenoir City, particularly to the downtown area,” Amber Scott, Lenoir City administrator, said. “East Tennessee Axe Throwing will attract visitors to the area and will keep locals in Lenoir City since it provides an interactive experience for families and friends of all types. The business is yet another positive addition to the area that has grown so much in the last few years.”
For more information, visit www.etnaxethrow ing.com or call 865-230-7345.