Another axe throwing business could be on its way to Madison

November 14, 2018
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AXE MKE, which opened on Milwaukee's east side in June, is eyeing expansion and is looking for a space in downtown Madison. The company is hoping to open by this spring.

Another axe-throwing venue could becoming to Madison.

Just three months after Happy Axe opened on the city’s Far West Side, a Milwaukee company has announced that it is looking to expand its axe-throwing footprint in the state and is searching for additional locations, including in Madison.

The owners of AXE MKE, which opened in June on Milwaukee’s East Side, say they are looking for first floor spaces between 4,500-square-feet and 6,500-square-feet with 14-foot or higher ceilings. They are targeting communities like Brookfield, Appleton, Bayview and the Milwaukee neighborhood of Walker’s Point. They’re also eyeing downtown Madison.

“Madison checks all the boxes in terms of what we are looking for from a demographic,“said Marla Poytinger, who co-owns AXE MKE with her husband, David. “Axe throwing is the hottest new concept in activity-based entertainment, and when it’s done right, it can be an awesome destination entertainment option for a city.”

Madison has already received a taste of the activity, which technically involves throwing hatchets, not axes, at wooden targets 12 feet away.

Johnny Lee, a realtor, opened in August, Happy Axe, in an 850-square-foot space inside Clock Tower Court at the corner of Mineral Point Road and Grand Canyon Boulevard. The business features seven throwing lanes and is open for leagues, bachelor and birthday parties, corporate outings and other events. Participants stand behind a line, much like in darts, and can use one or two hands to throw the hatchets.

But unlike Happy Axe, which does not sell alcohol, AXE MKE is looking for a space that is large enough to not only have 12 throwing lanes but accommodate a bar to sell alcohol. They’re hoping to open a Madison location by the spring.

“Our current locations are all in downtown areas with other amenities within walking distance, so that is our comfort zone,” Marla Poytinger said. “But we’re exploring all options at this point.

The Poytingers own Splash Studios in Milwaukee, a combination art school and bar that offers painting lessons from local painters alongside drinks and in 2016 opened Nine Below, a Maker’s Golf Tavern where participants design a mini-golf hole and then play nine holes of mini-golf. The Poytingers are also familiar with Madison as they both received their MBAs from UW-Madison.

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