Small Biz Spotlight: Escape This in Madison, WI

Escape rooms have taken off in the last few years, but the genuine enthusiasm and creativity shown by Renee and Chris Thomas of Escape This has set them apart. Unique themes, puzzles that are created in house, and post-game debriefs give create a personal connection with players. I recently chatted with Renee to learn more about the journey to becoming a five-star business.

Yelp small business Escape This
Why did you decide to start your business? Tell us your backstory!

We were on a last-minute National Park family road trip and during our travels came across an escape room. We had a great time and immediately said, “we can do this!” We had talked about opening a business and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The concept leveraged our skills perfectly: Chris’s background in engineering, programming and carpentry and my experience in marketing, event planning and team building. The thought of providing a creative, interactive and thought-provoking experience for weekend fun as well as weekday team building was exciting and something we thought would go over great.

Why do you love doing business here in Madison?

We’ve enjoyed living in Madison for close to 20 years and find it just as enjoyable as business owners. The people who’ve come through our doors are friendly and fun-loving. They show a genuine appreciation for what we’ve created and are supportive of our small business. We also love the energy of downtown and are happy that we can add to it with our experiences. And, we’ve found that local companies and organizations recognize the importance of employee development and have embraced escape games as a valuable team building activity.

What’s the most helpful piece of customer feedback you’ve received?

Customers take an active role in helping us shape our business. In addition to soliciting feedback and ideas during each game debrief, we also tap customers to test our new games. They get the opportunity to not only play the game first, but to provide specific feedback on game flow, individual puzzles and ways to improve the game overall.

What’s your advice for other business owners or someone who wants to start a small business?

A smile and a friendly attitude will take you a long way. Identify and address customer issues before they develop. Sense when a customer is not happy and be the one to acknowledge and ask about their concerns. You’ll be able to draw out and address issues up front and customers will appreciate your proactive approach.

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