Stressed-out Americans seek out axe throwing, shooting ranges

With 55% of Americans feeling stressed, according to a survey, more are seeking out recreational relief

Americans have 2020 in their sites.

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Venues that offer socially distanced activities, like target practice or outdoors recreation, have had an increase in interest since many other recreational and entertainment businesses are closed.

“A lot of our physical activities have gone away – bowling, indoor tennis – you’re restricted," Trish Oliphant, a co-founder of Stumpy’s Hatchet House, told FOX Business. "The fact that you can do something physical and a little bit social at the same time -- its exciting to people now."

So in New Jersey, recreational axe throwing is back on target.  The Stumpy’s Hatchet House franchise, which closed most of the locations for months during COVID-19 shutdowns has reopened and since reopening, owners have seen families and companies booking socially distanced reunions with the added benefit of letting off some much-needed steam.

Stumpys Hatchet House, an axe throwing venue, reopened its franchises after months of coronavirus-related shutdowns.  (Getty Images )

“It feels good right now to throw something and maybe have it stick in a target," Oliphant said. "It’s a stress release.”

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Franchisees have begun letting guests rent out parts of the indoor pit to throw hatchets at wooden targets at their leisure adhering to CDC guidelines from a safe, social distance for $25 per person for an hour.

"It feels good right now to throw something and maybe have it stick in a target. It’s a stress release,”

- Trish Oliphant, a co-founder of Stumpy’s Hatchet House

With COVID-19 cases spiking across the country, record unemployment rates and a dismal economy, consumers are feeling more and more pressure heightened by the pandemic. Indeed, a survey by researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Harvard Medical School of 1,500 Americans at the end of May found that more than half, 55%, said they were more stressed than they were in January before the virus become widespread.

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What’s more, 58% surveyed found they were frustrated about not being able to partake in usual activities with 53% admitting to simply being bored. And it's not shocking, considering entertainment venues like movie theaters are still closed throughout the country and gyms are still shutdown in many states to curb the spread of COVID-19. As a result, businesses that cater to recreational sports have had uptick in business and club memberships.

Paul Mihailides, chairman of Rhode Island hunting club The Preserve, which offers members access to outdoor sports such as fishing, golf and horseback riding, said memberships to its shooting range have more than doubled since last year from 350 to 700.

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"A lot of families have wanted to learn how to safely enjoy the sport and the great outdoors," Mihailides said. "Our revenue has doubled."

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