222 Miracle Strip Pkwy
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
While growing up in rural Indiana, handling weapons was a daily occurrence for young David Woodrow. It was normal for his dad to hand him a shotgun and tell him to go play. Fast forward to recently, after having just gotten out of the military, Woodrow’s frustration with small-time gigs, plans that were getting shaky and job options that just weren’t fulfilling, ultimately, led to the creation of Downtown Fort Walton Beach’s newest hangout, Ratchet Hatchet. As a self-proclaimed internet junkie, David said that he’d heard of the concept in passing before really taking it seriously. While perusing one day, he saw competitive ax throwing as a legitimate concept and knew it was right up his alley. He looked up schematics and proceeded to make up a range in his own backyard. It started simple enough. He took board game concepts and repurposed them to create games that involved the ax throwing. Before he knew it, he realized that people were in his backyard every weekend, which he doesn’t attribute to his personality.
The success of something that he was doing just to have some fun now looked like something with more potential. He reached out to an acquaintance that he knew had more business smarts than he did. Enter Steven Garcia. Admittedly, Garcia didn’t get it at first, but David was determined to get his attention. Woodrow invited a group over for a round of play and instructed Garcia to watch the next patron’s face after his throw. When the ax hit the target dead-on, the young man completely lit up. Woodrow looked at Garcia and sold it by saying, “We wouldn’t be selling ax throwing. We’d be selling THAT.” In that moment, the spark was ignited and both parties began doing their research on to turn this concept into a real life thing. With the help of the Small Business Development Center, the belief of his friends and family, and a loan, they opened The Ratchet Hatchet and were immediately swamped by customers.
Now, you may be thinking that this sounds like a guy’s thing, but guess what? Their biggest repeat business is from women! David recounted an evening where a group of women (who happened to be 50s something divorcees) showed up and paid for FOUR hours straight without ever having experienced ax throwing. When he tried to make sure they were good to go, they admonished him, saying, “Listen, cutie. We’re here to drink and mess things up. We’re all set.” The rest of the ladies arrived – toting a wagon full of alcohol and photos of their ex-husbands! He said they were really bad at the throwing, but anytime one of them stuck a throw, someone would yell out “WARRIOR PRINCESS!” Certainly, a very memorable experience for him, but I bet it was even more so for those women who got some of that pent up rage out of their systems!
While you’re welcome to walk in and play at one of their 8 private ranges, you may want to call ahead or book online to make sure there’s plenty of room for you and your group. If you’re interested in a unique form of competition, there is a 40 bracket league competition beginning in August. It’s only $100 to buy in and the grand prize is a thousand dollars! Go check it out and make sure you tell them On the Coast Magazine sent you!
Cool Factors: Unique way to release energy, relaxed environment that allows for outside food and drink, veteran owned, great fun