The axemen cometh

Pair establishing axe-throwing business in N.L. this spring

Published on February 5, 2016
Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Adrian Beaton holds the tool for the latest recreational activity coming to the province — axe throwing. Beaton and partner Paul MacInnis are in the process of starting their new business, Jack Axes Inc.

Jack Axes Inc. is preparing to launch axe throwing in Newfoundland and Labrador.

As a recreational activity, the idea has solidified its place over the past decade in Canada, with growth in those businesses offering an introduction and safe place to throw.

The original Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL), launched in Ontario in 2006, has grown beyond that province; the Bad Axe Throwing company has similarly expanded, now with nine locations throughout the country; and then there’s the independents like Halifax’s Timber Lounge, set to open in March.

Jack Axes will be another independent operation.

Still settling on an exact location, co-owner Adrian Beaton said he and his business partner, Paul MacInnis, are well into preparing a unique setting for their customers.

“We want to get a local vibe going on there,” he said.

He said Quidi Vidi Brewery has been approached to become a supplier for Jack Axes’ in-house bar.

In terms of the look, Jack Axes has sought out local woodworker Mike Manuel, owner of Manuel Woodworks.

“I’m looking forward to working with the folks from Jack Axes to design and build the furniture for their new business,” Manuel confirmed Thursday.

“I’ve got some design ideas to create a space in a unique style that suits their business. I think it’s going to turn out really well. I typically do custom furniture orders where I work directly with clients in creating a single piece of furniture, so this is an exciting challenge for me in terms of the scale of the project.”


The axe-throwing facility will include two main spaces: a lounge area and, separated by a wall of wood and likely plexiglass, the area where axes will actually be handled and thrown.

The lounge area will have a bar, to be built and installed, plus bar stools, tables and chairs. The throwing area will see guests met with their bullseye target roughly 15 feet away, and will include hatchet storage.

The business will focus on first-timers and hatchets, as opposed to larger axes, Beaton said.

“We prefer the hatchets,” he said. “Anyone can throw them. They’re smaller, they’re easier and you can get the hang of it after a couple of throws.”

He would know — he got hooked on the idea of throwing after his first time as part of a group party in another province.

Beaton tried a few more operations, then began to investigate the business side, leading to his own axe-throwing business plan, finished in June 2015.

He and MacInnis decided to partner up on the idea and bring the business to reality, beginning in October 2015.

Jack Axes Inc. has since gathered its ducks, lining up an accountant, bookkeeper, lawyer and insurer (the latter was familiar with axe throwing in Ontario, Beaton said, so settling that was straightforward).

“The way I see it is you’re allowed to drink and go bowling, and if you threw a 10-pound bowling ball at my head, I’d probably get pretty hurt,” he said.

At this point, the team is anxious to settle its location, after hitting some zoning challenges (given the desire for a location that allows for the lounge).

Beaton said a few options are in play and all proper permits will be sought.

He said the hope is to have the new business open at some point this spring.