Escape: Chandler brings adventures to life in family-owned business

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Kate and Lewis Obermiller decided years ago to take their family to an escape room. At first, Kate said she was not too keen on the idea of an escape room. She said she had an idea that it would be claustrophobic and no fun whatsoever—but her mind had completely changed by the time they were done playing the game.

“I loved it; I wanted to stay and do it all day,” Kate said. “Then I thought, ‘Why are there none in Chandler?’”

In March 2018, Kate and Lewis opened up Escape: Chandler, the city’s first escape room.

“We never considered opening anywhere else; this is our home; and I thought that Chandler deserved to have one,” Kate said.

There are four rooms in Escape: Chandler—each is designed for a group of people to pick through clues and play along until they can eventually escape the room. Three of the rooms are hourlong games, and one room is 90 minutes, Kate said. Each room is designed and put together by Kate and Lewis—and the details in each room take anywhere from six to nine months to put together.

"It’s a game; it’s fun for us to do; and it’s fun to watch people go through the rooms,” Kate said. “We started with just one game, and then we built the other three after we opened.”

The last year has proven difficult for the business due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but Kate said that escape rooms are one of the activities that have been especially safe throughout the last year.

“We have limits on the number of people in each room, and now we book parties of two or three people into rooms by themselves, instead of grouping multiple parties, so you are always with just the people you came with,” Kate said. “And each room is sanitized thoroughly after each group. Escape rooms have been one of those activities I wish people thought of more as safe during the pandemic because really it has been a safe activity all along.”