PORTSMOUTH will soon be home to a new escape room entertainment centre as entrepreneur Gareth Beeston is planning to bring his business to the city.
Gareth, who graduated from Portsmouth University in 2012, has unveiled grand plans for the former Apple Home Improvements building at the top of Commercial Road, in Portsmouth city centre.
The 29-year-old businessman plans to open an escape room entertainment centre, where people compete in teams of up to 20 to solve puzzles and get out of themed rooms in the fastest times.
Gareth started his business Other World Escapes with his partner Nicole Thompson-Fassel last July when they opened their first centre in Southampton.
Since then, they have been delighted with the way the business has taken off.
Gareth, who is also about to move to Southsea, said: ‘I played my first game three years ago in Amsterdam. A few of my friends and I played it and we were blown away by it. As soon as I got him I told my partner Nicole that we had to open one.’
Their Southampton escape room now employs 10 people and sees people play in a Mayan-themed room as well as two 1930’s cigar lounges.
Their plans for Portsmouth will see three rooms open by the end of October. They plan to convert the first floor of the building into a further three rooms, and then convert the top floor into the first soft-play themed escape room – featuring ball pits, travellators and slides – in the UK.
Gareth said the rooms are great for corporate team-building, as well as educational for school and colleges – plus they are fun for all ages.
He said: ‘It is a very good social activity. It brings people together. In essence it is a fun thing to do.’
Gareth has invested £200,000 in Portsmouth’s Other World Escapes, which will see an ice room created as well as a 1920’s cobbled street complete with pub.
The new business will create 30 jobs.