CUTTING EDGE: New Livonia business caters to fast-growing sport of axe throwing
A sharp transformation is taking place at the Five Mile Road Kroger-anchored Livonia shopping plaza, where an axe-throwing business has supplanted a Hallmark card-selling haven.
Officially opened earlier this month at 30959 Five Mile Road (just east of Merriman and just a short walk west of Kroger), The Axe Parlor is the perfect place for people targeting the exploding (and safe, its owners emphasize) sport of throwing sharp tools (axes, knives and throwing stars) at large wooden targets.
Owned and operated by 20-year-old professional axe-throwers Mason Wong (a graduate of Livonia Stevenson) and Cooper Rogers (a graduate of Dexter High School), and their parents, The Axe Parlor is a spacious 5,000-square-foot venue equipped with six throwing lanes (each lane includes two targets) separated by walls and industrial-strength netting.
In addition to ample seating, the one-of-a-kind space includes a corn hole set-up, a bar where beer will be served once the owners secure a liquor license (soon, they confirmed), a vintage-looking barber chair (more on this later) and axe throwing-related apparel.
“Axe-throwing is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world right now and we wanted to provide people in this region a venue where they can learn how to throw and — for those who already throw — a place where they can sharpen their skills,” said Rogers.
“The key to getting good at this is basically sticking with it,” said Wong. “It’s also important to compete around accomplished, talented axe throwers so you can pick things up and apply them to your own throwing motion.”
You probably won’t reach the owners’ finely-honed throwing skills overnight, but they offer lessons and highly-trained staff are present to oversee action on each of the lanes.
Like darts on steroids
Although the competitions unfold on lanes, axe-throwing is more like dart-throwing — OK, darts on steroids — than bowling, the owners explained.
“It’s super-safe,” Wong reiterated. “Even though this sport is growing all over the world, I’ve yet to hear of a serious injury related to the sport.
“First-timers actually pick it up pretty quickly. And once you get the hang of it, the more fun it becomes, obviously.”
The minimum age for throwing at The Axe Parlor is 10, Rogers said — adding that young throwers need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Leagues coming soon
“We’re planning on offering leagues as early as this summer,” Wong revealed. “It’s a little slow right now simply because people would rather be outside when the weather is nice, but once fall and winter roll around — and once we advertise more — things will pick up.”
A cool, vintage-looking barber chair sits next to the northern-most lane.
“We’re looking into hiring a barber so customers can get there hair cut while they’re waiting to throw — or if someone wants to stop in and get a trim,” Rogers said.
Wong and Rogers each own approximately 50 axes — most with custom-made handles and stainless-steel heads.
“Other than bowling, it’s really the only indoor sport entertainment offered around here,” Rogers added.
Hours of operation
The Axe Parlor is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturdays noon to 11 p.m.; and Sundays noon to 9 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
To ensure a lane for an upcoming visit, people are encouraged to call 734-744-4396 in advance to make reservations. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Axes are provided at the venue.
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