Matt Corning waits for the first person to hit the target.
For folks looking for a new outdoor activity to try, a Los Osos based business is open and ready to throw some fun into your life.
The husband and wife team of Matt and Jen Corning started SLO Axe Co that is built around a “mobile axe throwing adventure trailer” used for private events such as weddings and family reunions as well as corporate team building experiences.
“One of things that really brought us together is being really intentional with our time and doing fun things,” said Matt, who works in staffing as a headhunter. “This was kind of like a natural fit for our interests. We love having fun, we like seeing other people enjoy themselves, and we like being active.”
The idea was born following a gathering in Arizona with Matt’s parents and other family members, a competitive group.
“One of the days my sister-in-law found an activity for us to do, which was axe throwing,” said Matt. “We were like, ‘Oh gosh, you know mom’s is in her seventies?’ We were all laughing and having just such a great time, but at the end of the experience, they have like a King of the Mountain elimination tournament where basically there’s going to be one person left out of this whole group. So we whittled it down and my mom, brother and I were the last three people. My mom was knocking out big college guys. I was faced with a really tough decision because I had to defeat my mom — she didn’t raise me to be no loser.”
In the end Matt did defeat his mom, but lost to his brother. Soon after the couple began work on getting the trailer built via local craftsman and started practicing with the five children that help make up their blended family.
If you have never thrown an axe before don’t worry, they coach participants and conduct mini games and elimination tournaments.
“You have to try new things in life and get out of your comfort zone,” said Jen, a Hospice nurse.
Because times are what they are, COVID-19 safety measures are in effect. Masks are required and equipment is wiped down. The trailer holds two throwers at a time and friends and family can watch and cheer or heckle from outside.
“We follow all the CDC guidance guidelines,” Matt said. “One of the one of the wonderful things about this business model is we’re coming to your safe place. We can come to your house and provide a really unique experience for you and your family that you don’t want to expose elsewhere. In between throwers we’re wiping down the axes and anything that someone might touch. Ultimately, you’re forced to be outside with it, so everyone’s able to practice social distancing in fresh air.”
The company is ready to do popup events at other businesses such as wineries and, hopefully soon, festivals and music events that they will announce on social media. They also offer a nighttime Glow Throw and plans are in the works to start a league of throwers.
“We don’t compete with a lot of businesses,” Matt said. “If anything we add value and attract people to come watch and participate.
Down the road, post COVID, Jen and Matt plan to open a non-mobile location as well.
“I’m so thankful to have Jen as my partner,” Matt said. “We just want people to be inspired to take risk and go for it. I mean even during a pandemic there are opportunities. You can’t just focus on the negatives and the fear — you got to really focus on the people around you. There is so much potential in the country we live in which is the greatest country on Earth.”
Looking to score a direct hit? Follow them on Facebook and Instagam under SLO Axe Co or check out their website sloaxeco.com.
After being coached, this writer did throw an axe and made a bull’s-eye on the second attempt, so the challenge is on.