Enjoyment of Target Games Leads to Axe-It 63 Hatchet House on Route 72 in Stafford

By DAVID BIGGY | May 01, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy After watching some of the World Axe Throwing League action on ESPN, Paul Hosszu started thinking about the possibility of opening a local hatchet house and later this month hopes to open the doors to Axe-It 63 in the Driftwood Plaza on Route 72 in Stafford.

Stafford Township — One night while flipping channels on the TV, Paul Hosszu came across World Axe Throwing League action on ESPN and was enthralled at what he saw.

“Some of these people who throw axes are amazing,” said Hozzsu, who later this month expects to open the doors to his newest business venture, Axe-It 63 – an ax-throwing venue located in the Driftwood Plaza on Route 72 in Stafford Township. “You watch them throw and you’re in awe. Some of these people are legit, hitting bull’s-eye after bull’s-eye like it’s nothing. It was really cool.”

And then the idea hit him like a freight train.

“After I started my own construction contracting company, I was giving thought to opening another type of business as a means of generating additional income, so that we’re not totally reliant on construction,” he said. “But I’m one of those guys who goes by the adage ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ So, I enjoy construction and target things, and now I’m developing a business around my other passion.”

Growing up in Hopewell, about 10 miles north of Trenton, Hozzsu and his brother were surrounded with a lot of farmland – plenty of space to throw axes and knives at makeshift targets.

“I like archery and going to the shooting range,” he said. “Anything that requires aiming something at a target, I like that kind of thing. That kind of stuff has always appealed to me; it’s just a good time.”

Of course, with no local models to follow, Hosszu turned to YouTube, where he found more than his fair share of videos about ax throwing. What he found out is what everybody basically discovers about the sport.

The game requires the participant to throw an ax at a wooden target similar to an archery target ,and scoring points is based on which ring you stick your hatchet – the highest points scored at the bull’s-eye, while lower points are tallied as you move out from the center. However, two special spots in the upper corner of the target offer bonus points.

Still, he had to find a location for an ax-throwing venue. At first, Hosszu thought Long Beach Island might be a good fit, but soon turned away from that idea. He started looking throughout Stafford for a spot, but kept running into dead ends.

“I kind of felt defeated, like I should just go with something else,” he said. “But there’s another guy in town who was talking to the township about opening his own hatchet house. He went before the zoning board and was able to move forward with it. At about the same time, I found this building, so I thought, ‘Game on.’ This is going to be cool.”

With the help of his wife, Casey, and daughter Justine, a former thrower for the Southern Regional girls track and field squad, Hosszu developed the plans for the setup of Axe-It 63 and is hoping to be open for business just before Memorial Day weekend.

“The name was the first thing I came up with,” he said. “We see the ‘Exit 63’ bumper stickers everywhere, so the pun was too great not to use.”

Axe-It 63 is going to have three double lanes and a single lane of about 18 feet with several lounge areas, a few TVs, a small office, and a workshop area so he can do in-house maintenance of the targets. A woodworker by trade, Hosszu plans to make all the targets himself, along with construction of the interior, to include 42-inch-high walls with chain-link fences atop them to separate the lanes.

“I make a lot of pallet furniture as part of a side thing, so we’re going to be quite pallet-esque in our decor,” he said. “It’s going to be rustic and woodsy as the main theme, and we’ll have some refrigerators around for people bringing in their beer, as well as some cool-looking benches and tables.”

Hours of operation and age limits have not been determined, nor have the exact rates. But Axe-It 63 likely will have its own line of branded apparel for sale, and leagues and tournament play are on the agenda for now, Hosszu said.

Of course, whether Axe-It 63 joins the likes of Chopper’s in Cherry Hill, Splinters in St. Charles, Mo., or You Bet Your Axe in Elkton, Md., to become an affiliate of the WATL remains to be seen.

“We have a lot of things to still figure out, but I’m open to pretty much anything at this point,” he said. “We’re going to experiment with some things and try to come up with good reasons why families and groups of people should come here to play. We want to keep the options open to people. We’re going to have a lot of fun with it.”

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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