Texas-based escape room chain opens in Short Pump mall

Red Door Escape Room recently opened in Short Pump Town Center. Among its escape room concepts is Captain Maniacal’s Lair-Bratorium, in which participants build a robot for a mad scientist. (Photo courtesy of Red Door Escape Room)

The trend of non-traditional tenants taking space in local malls continues.

Red Door Escape Room recently opened at Short Pump Town Center, where it occupies a ground-level space near the Dillard’s store at the Henrico County mall.

The company’s Short Pump location offers six escape room concepts. They include fairy-tale adventure Once Upon A Time and Captain Maniacal’s Lair-Bratorium, in which participants build a robot for a mad scientist.

Red Door is based in Fort Worth, Texas and has 13 locations in five states, with Short Pump its first in Virginia.

Red Door CEO Nick Madden said in an interview this week that the company invested more than $1 million in the design and buildout of its Short Pump outpost.

“One thing we do that’s different is we offer six distinct experiences. You’re going to find the experiences are for different group sizes or people interested in different themes,” he said. “We custom build every door, room and secret entrance.”

Red Door Escape Room occupies a 6,200-square-foot space on the ground level of Short Pump Town Center near the Dillard’s store. (Jack Jacobs photo)

Red Door’s pricing structure varies from location to location. In Short Pump, the company  charges $36 per person (and about $30 for children 15 and under) to take part in its adventures, which it calls episodes, according to the company website. The Lair-Bratorium game is one of the company’s shorter, mini-game concepts aimed at smaller groups of two or three people, and it costs about $20 per person.

The company has a portfolio of 15 escape room concepts, and they vary from one location to another.

Madden said the company had an interest in expanding to the Richmond area and landed in Short Pump because it perceived the area had space for an interactive entertainment brand to join the mix.

“We look for places that don’t have enough experiential entertainment. We like to think about (Red Door as) a Disney-level immersion or something like that, but brought to your hometown,” he said.

Red Door has a goal to open at least 10 more locations across the country over the next two years, Madden said. He added the company could open additional Richmond area locations. All Red Door locations are corporately owned. The first opened in Texas in 2015.

Red Door is at least the second activity-oriented tenant this year to join the ranks of the Short Pump mall’s retailers and restaurants. It followed the bar-and-arcade concept Draftcade, which opened in January.

The mall is planning to introduce an open-container policy to allow its visitors to drink while they shop. Just outside the mall, a new-to-market steakhouse is working on a local outpost.

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