Like most small businesses recently, we have had to grapple with some tough decisions about our future. Do we see a way forward? Will we be able to pay our bills? How long will it all last? All we have learned is that there is no easy answer and it is all still very unclear.
We have been open for 2 years and things were just starting to feel consistent. A lot of customers have asked me, “Do you do this full-time?” The first year, there was no way I could do it full-time. Many people still did not know what escape rooms were, and I was still trying to get the word out. My answer this year before March changed to “No, but I think I am getting close to being able to do it full-time!”
Currently, as things are now, we have to take a few steps back. We have cut back on some of our expenses and are being careful about how much time, money, and effort we put into new room designs. So even though we have the time to work on new rooms, we have had to prioritize more pressing commitments for the business’s survival, such as rent, utilities, and insurance. We are sure many businesses are preparing for a slow summer and a new way of doing business when we all open back up. There will definitely be more tough decisions to come.
As escape rooms go, we are faced with figuring out new ways to adapt and stay in business. We could get into virtual escape rooms or online puzzle hunts like some other escape rooms have done. We can innovate and find new ways to safely deliver escape room-like experiences to the local community. There are many new ideas to be considered.
All that said, our mission at Farmington Underground is “to support arts and culture in Western Maine. Our company strives to bring a unique, immersive experience that tells a story to entertain, engage, develop critical thinking and provide team-building for families, friends, students, and businesses through the creation of a cultural community-based attraction.”
I can safely say that we are not ready to give up on that mission! To us, that mission means providing an outlet for entertainment, team-building, and critical thinking experiences in the community. So far, that has mostly been escape rooms (which we are not giving up on!), but in the short-term, there may be other experiences we can provide the local community to accomplish this mission.
So we will be working on new and creative experiences in order to keep Farmington Underground going! We have tried some unique events in the past to varying success. At this point, the best thing you can do to continue to support us is participate in our new endeavors. We really appreciate your support!
We are currently testing a new event right now, created specifically with social distancing best practices in mind. Stay tuned for that information!