Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be IN a game? Well, now you can!
A clue flashes up on the LCD screen... you begin to look around the room first at your teammates, then past a mirror seeing your own puzzled look and then you realize... the timer is started and you better look for more clues and fast! You have 60 minutes and counting to solve riddles, unlock safes, locks and cabinets and work out codes. The name of this game? “Escape Room”
The Escape Room Herndon was opened this past Summer with three themed rooms ranging from beginner to advanced. The rooms are decorated in timely fashion with nods to Agatha Christie and Hannibal Lecter among others. My experience there was fast paced and so much fun watching my family work together, sometimes bumbling over clues and over-analyzing them to get to our main goal... find the key and Escape!
This installment of In Front of My Lens features Omer Aru, owner of Escape Room Herndon.
Where are you from originally? I was born in Istanbul Turkey but I’ve lived in Northern Virginia most of my life.
What is your fondest memory growing up? We would spend our summers at my Grandmother's house on an island off the coast of Istanbul. My fondest memories come from there. My brother and I would race down winding stone steps to the beach 100 yards below our house. From there we would run off the dock and dive into the ocean. It was the type of magically experience that took decades later to truly appreciate how special it was.
When/how did you decide to take the plunge into owning your own business? I was on a family vacation last summer. My brother-in-law and I were discussing possible business ideas. I had grown fond of starting a 3D printer supply company. He encouraged me to visit him in Richmond to play his Escape Room RVA before trying anything. So early Fall I went down to play the original MindTrap room. After 60 minutes, I left high-fiving strangers and was hooked immediately. I agreed this was all I wanted to do, and I immediately started designing our first room, Mary In The Black.
What is most important to you?
As a business, it’s providing a unique experience that friends, co-workers, and family can relive well after it’s over. We’ve become fixated on screens sometimes texting with the person sitting right next to you, or socializing with people across the globe. It’s rare to find an opportunity where true interaction takes place. I like to think Escape Rooms help people gain back a few moments of wonder. We like to say, nothing bonds like being locked up in a room for a game of wit, wisdom and adventure!
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by the people around me. My wife has been an inspiration since I met her. She’s created a career for herself from something she loved. I’ve been inspired in kind by friends and family who have done the same. They choose a life in purpose of their passions. Our customers inspire me to make great games. Listening to them laugh and cheer lets me know we are doing something right, but also helps me to create more of those moments.
Escape Room Herndon
Can you escape in sixty minutes?
Solve the codes, crack the safe, and find the secret passages to win the game.
Think you and your friends have what it takes?