Southern York County entrepreneurs open Aces Axe Throwing
- Amanda Bobby and her family’s business pivoted after the pandemic to open their own axe throwing venue in Shrewsbury.
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While Amanda Bobby prefers the double-handed overhead lob, her son, AJ, goes with the one-armed hurl.
Both methods lodge the steel-headed blade into the wooden bull’s-eye at the family’s new Shrewsbury business, Aces Axe Throwing — home to six lanes of wood-shredding bliss that replaced the shelves of paint, brushes, and wallpaper samples that lined the space earlier this year.
Creating a community hub
Running an axe throwing business isn’t their first hack at entrepreneurship. A family of life-long small business owners, Amanda’s husband, Andy owns and operates his own painting company that he’s been running for over 23 years. They also continue to run a Penske truck rental and propane business.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent supply chain issues made sourcing latex paint and synthetic bristles almost impossible, the couple made the difficult decision to transition out of the paint shop portion of their business and into a new endeavor.
They donated tens of thousands of dollars of paint and merchandise to Habitat for Humanity, Southern School District, and Shrewsbury Christian Academy.
Then they began dreaming of what to do with the space.
“Everyone threw out different ideas,” Amanda says. A consignment shop, restaurant, arcade. “We were trying to think of what we could offer the community.”
She then remembered a girls’ trip to Harrisburg that included a session of axe throwing.
“I think we laughed the whole time,” she remembers. “We had a blast doing it.”
After talking it over with the family, they decided it was just the kind of community hub their area needed.
A solid start
Before opening Aces Axe Throwing in August, they connected with the World Axe Throwing League (WATL) to ensure their lanes and axes were regulation.
Now, three and a half months in, the business is thriving. Amanda is hoping to start axe throwing leagues and tournaments in the new year and is regularly booked up for parties, events, and daily throw times.
“I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us in our new adventure,” she says.
They still run the propane and Penske operation on the side, and they’ve since added Pennsylvania Skill machines, Skee-Ball, and mini multi arcade games.
Working for themselves
Since starting their entrepreneurial journey, they’ve enjoyed the flexibility of being their own bosses.
Amanda was able to bring her kids into the paint shop when they were little. And today, they’re part of the business. AJ, who’s now 19, is manager, and the very name of the venue — Aces Axe Throwing — was inspired by the family’s first names, including the couple’s twin daughters Alexis and Annabelle.
Still, they’ve faced their share of challenges along the way.
“The biggest struggle is always money,” Amanda says. “When you’re self-employed, you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to benefit your business, move forward, how to succeed, and still pay the bills.”
Her customers, Amanda says, help her push through that.
“They make you feel appreciated,” she says, “that you were helping out and doing something to provide and give the community something that they can enjoy.