MICHIGAN CITY — In a category all its own, The Lucky Hatchet is hitting the bullseye with a fun, out-of-the-ordinary experience for Michigan City residents and beyond.
The concept is simple enough. Pick up a hatchet, give it a throw (overhand or underhand – whichever you prefer) from the yellow line, and aim for the bullseye. Rack up one, two, three or four points if your hatchet sticks in the rings; a bullseye gives you six. But, if you’re lucky enough to hit one of the two “kill shots,” you add eight points to your score. The first person whose score reaches 33 points wins the match. Players pay for 30-minute or 60 minute-sessions.
The Lucky Hatchet came about after Brandon Rector finished his stint in the Air Force, and he and Michael Dombkowski were throwing around ideas on their way to a concert.
“We were looking for something to do. We thought it would be super cool and knew that Michigan City could benefit from something like this,” said Dombkowski.
Rector explained that the hatchet-throwing business idea “started in Canada and leaked into the United States.” Currently, the closest one to The Lucky Hatchet is an hour away, he said.
The third owner in the business venture, Jonah Stromer, joined in and the three secured their location at 2050 E. U.S. 20 in Evergreen Plaza on July 10.
“We were in here night and day for a month,” Rector said.
“It’s a good spot in the winter because of being on a highway, and it’s an easily recognizable highway,” Dombkowski said.
The Lucky Hatchet has been drawing customers from La Porte, Portage, Valparaiso, Hobart, South Bend and other surrounding areas in addition to Michigan City residents.
“Everyone has been super ecstatic about it and wants to come back,” he continued.
Nathan Miller from Trail Creek found out about the new business through word-of-mouth, he said. Joining him were Stacy Lower and Ryan Buck, friends from La Porte.
“I like it,” said Miller after he won the first game.
Stacy was enjoying her experience though she admitted it was a bit harder than expected on her first time.
“Most people that come in are first-timers,” Dombkowski said. “And it’s not just for the guys or young people. A 70-year-old lady came in to try it the other day.”
“For the most part, we have to teach people how to do it,” Rector added.
“It’s more of an activity to have fun. It’s good for parties, a date, corporate get-togethers – or anything,” Dombkoski said.
In a former home healthcare location, The Lucky Hatchet takes up 1,800-square feet with seven throwing lanes and a lobby area. The remaining 1,600-square feet of the location will house SimCity Golf, which will contain golfing simulators. It is owned by Don Gardner and is expected to open by Oct. 7.
Once their space was secured, Gardner helped Rector, Dombkowski and Stromer get their space ready to open less than a month later on Aug. 5. Taking extra safety steps, the men added a chain link fence in-between lanes and mulch in front of the bullseye board to act like a sponge, absorbing the impact of any hatchets that miss their mark. The participant throws in the 12-inch space between yellow and red lines marked on the floor in front of each lane. All others players or spectators stand behind the red line. Though children are welcome in the lobby, hatchet-throwers must be at least 16 years old.
In the lobby, The Lucky Hatchet offers video games, Touch Tunes, a pinball machine, non-alcoholic drinks and more; public restrooms are also available. The owners look forward to adding The Lucky Hatchet merchandise in the future. Currently, specials run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and customers should keep an eye on the business’s Facebook page, “The Lucky Hatchet” for future specials.
Rector, age 23, together with Dombkowski and Stromer, both 24, are excited about what the future holds for their entrepreneurial effort.
“We look forward to learning something new everyday,” Dombkowski said.
The Lucky Hatchet is open Sunday through Thursday noon to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. For more information, call (219) 809-4653 or go to “The Lucky Hatchet” on Facebook.