In 2015, Bo Tait’s friends took him to an indoor axe throwing range in Toronto for his bachelor party. None of them had ever been axe- or knife-throwing before. “We had a great time. It’s all we could talk about. We came back home to Sarnia and built targets in our backyards. Six weeks later, we started talking about opening our own axe throwing range.” Tait and his brother felt there was an opportunity for something new in the Sarnia-Lambton entertainment sector. “We had been looking at different entrepreneurial opportunities, but something about axe throwing just sunk its teeth into us and we went for it.”

Things moved quickly from there. In January 2016, the Taits started looking for a location; in March of that year they leased space at 1886 London Line. After four months and a renovation from floor to ceiling, Valley Axe opened its doors. “We were so excited for that first weekend. And then we didn’t have a single customer walk in the door. It was that humbling experience that many entrepreneurs have. It also taught us how long it takes to get the word out about something new.” The Taits focused on offering a great experience and their business grew steadily over the next few months. By September 2016 they were seeing the fruits of their labour. “We were booking throwing lanes weeks in advance and it got very busy. That’s when I knew I had to be here full time.”

Valley Axe has 16 indoor and six outdoor throwing lanes. Groups of 4-20 people can book an axe-throwing event, which comes complete with axes, targets, coaching and music. Beverages are available for purchase and you can bring your own food or order in. The only hitch: players must be 18 years or older to attend an event. Valley Axe currently has three individual leagues, running Tuesdays and Wednesdays: Axe, Knife and No-Spin Knife Leagues. “We work hard with our leagues to develop a community of strong throwers who come back year after year. League members have the opportunity to participate in travel competitions. Last year, twelve of us went to the World Championships in Pembroke, Ontario and did very well.”

In 2017, Valley Axe leased the adjacent property and removed the old BlueWater Fun Park. They built two beach volleyball courts with premium sand and an outdoor throwing range. These new additions will allow for volleyball and axe throwing tournaments. They also plan to use the beach courts for other sports, including dodgeball and bubble soccer. “There are four acres outside that are licensed. That’s a lot of opportunity and I’m not going to shy away from it.” The Taits recently partnered with a friend to create District Beta, a virtual reality arcade, located above Valley Axe. “It’s really a complimentary business for us. We have people come throw axes for a couple of hours and then head upstairs for virtual reality. We joke that we are part of the Golden Mile revival. We just want to bring more good times to Sarnia.”