‘Escape Room’ Entertainment Coming To Cassadaga
CASSADAGA – A new escape room entertainment facility is coming to Chautauqua County.
During the Cassadaga Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, members approved a use variance to Wit’s Real Estate Holdings LLC to turn the former Dennison’s Auto Repair shop on Route 60 into a facility for commercial recreation.
Alec J. Witkowski, president and CEO of Witco, Inc. said they would like to turning the former repair shop at 86 N. Main St., Cassadaga into an escape room facility. It would be called Escapes on 60. The building sits directly behind VP Racing gas station.
On the building is a sign for National Vacuum Environmental Services Corp. Witkowski said that company used to rent it but is no longer there.
An escape room, Witkowski explained, is a game in which a team of players discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in a limited amount of time. There is often locks that have specific combinations and participants try to solve puzzles to get clues for the locks, so they can “escape” a room.
Witkowski said groups of up to six people will be given a specific time slot, where they will participate in an escape room game. Coupons will be available that can be used at Wit’s Convenience store, King Kone Ice Cream or Fermentation Station, all of which he owns.
He thinks people will like it. “We’re just trying to bring some amusement here and get people off the road and do something,” he said.
Ideally, Witkowski said he would like to open this fall, although it could be delayed, depending on how long it takes to get everything finished. He said he is working with the code officer to make sure the new business will be in compliance.
The business will be open to the public on the weekends. They may add Friday hours if the demand is there. During the week, businesses will be able to make reservations if they want to do an escape room as part of a team building exercise.
There are a number of escape rooms in the Buffalo and Erie markets. There had been a similar business in the county called “Escape Rooms, Jamestown,” but it closed in September, 2022. Witkowski said he actually bought some of their props and will be using them for his new venture.
Witkowski said escape room games have grown in popularity. “I like thinking games, I like those kind of things, so it’s fun for me. I know a lot of people do enjoy them,” he said.
Hats and shirts will be sold, but they will not be selling food or drinks.
Witkowski bought the gas station and other businesses in 2020 and said he has enjoyed being in the community. “I’ve said it from the day I got here, everything we do is whatever it takes to build the community. I want to be a part of it, grow it, and bring people jobs,” he said.
The zoning board unanimously approved the request.