FARMINGTON – Being the only escape room between Albuquerque and Durango, Escapology located in Farmington boasts four unique escape rooms for individuals, families and friends to enjoy together and try to, as the name suggests, escape.
A typical escape room experience begins with a group of people in a room filled with hidden clues and puzzles to solve to advance the game and ultimately escape. At Escapology, two to six people “step into a story and race against the clock.” Of course, gamers aren’t really locked in the themed rooms, but can exit the main door at any time.
“The fire marshal tends to frown upon people being locked in rooms,” said Cody Stovall, one of the owners of the business.
The entertainment facility located within the Animas Valley Mall is veteran-owned, woman-owned and family-owned by husband and wife Cody and Leah Stovall and Cody’s sister, Anna Stovall. The business started in 2019. Though owners Leah and Cody said starting a small business in 2019 was “not the best idea,” they said they love the area and are committed to bringing fun entertainment to friends and families.
The Stovalls first discovered the excitement of escape rooms during a spring break trip to Los Angeles.
“We went to one just to check it out. Something entertaining to do with our time,” Cody said. “Then we went to another, and another and another. We were hooked. I think we did four in the course of a weekend. When we got back to Farmington, we thought, ‘We need to do this!’”
Escapology has four escape rooms filled with puzzles and clues to help players escape the room. The rooms include the Lost City, Antidote, Mansion Murder and a holiday-themed Saving Santa room designed with kids in mind.
Apart from outdoor recreational activities, Cody said Farmington has only a handful of entertainment activities that can be for anyone; he wanted to create a place for people to go with their friends and family to make memories.
“Escape rooms are unique,” Cody said. “In a world of technology, friends and families can get past the screens and engage in a memory. One they will have forever.”
The small business also prides itself on providing jobs in the community; it employees many teens and young adults, and for some, it is their first job.
Because of the pandemic, the business has taken extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of its customers, including sanitizing between games and keeping parties separate so groups won’t be mixed and gamers won’t be playing with people they don’t know.
Still, with health guidelines in place, the couple said they are bringing in only 40% of what they had brought in this time last year.
“Things have changed for small businesses. ... This is something that might not ever return to normal unless we intentionally spend our money in our area,” Cody said. “The Four Corners is a place unlike most. You can find anything outdoors you would like to do in a matter of one hour. Most who live here do so because we enjoy open skies, the beauty of the mountains and endless acres of land to explore. However, it is a small business that provides the foundation for our communities.”
The cost to enjoy one of the escape rooms is $27 per person. After the holidays, the Saving Santa room will be transformed into a new room filled with different clues and puzzles.