By Emilie Ng
CHILDHOOD jokes about starting a family-owned business have become serious work for four owners of Brisbane’s newest attraction, Escape Hunt.
Siblings Matt, Simon, Paul and Giovanna Shakhovskoy, all born in Brisbane and connected to the Emmanuel Community, launched the city’s newest “live detective escape-room game”.
The international franchise is already in 27 cities worldwide, but the Shakhovskoys are the first to bring Escape Hunt to Brisbane.
While “not intense gamers”, the siblings have always been drawn to adventure and having as much fun as possible, and sharing that joy with others.
“The Escape Hunt concept seemed to fit perfectly within our thinking and approach to life,” Giovanna said.
A family trip to South Africa opened the doorway to serious business as a family.
“We were in South Africa where Matt lives, on a family visit in May, and while driving through Cape Town we came across another company running escape games,” Paul said.
“We were intrigued with the game straight away.”
Within days, the siblings “started nutting out ideas” and eventually decided to base their new business in Brisbane.
In September, construction started on their West End venue, and it is now officially open for bookings.
Participants have one hour to escape from any of three rooms inspired by iconic venues and events in Brisbane’s history.
Groups of up to 36 can escape from Boggo Road jail, survive a bomb at a replica of Paddington’s Government House or experience the iconic Australian poem “The Man from Ironbark” by solving a murder at the barbershop.
Gamers have described Escape Hunt as “Saw (the movie) without the gore” and “a real-life Cluedo”.
“It’s just good, clean fun,” Paul said.
“Everyone leaves with a massive smile on their face.
“It’s great to be part of something that brings joy to people’s lives.”
Giovanna said Escape Hunt was “a great family activity” that could be enjoyed by people of all ages, cultures and groups.
“As well as bringing joy we also like to make people feel relaxed, comfortable and at home,” Giovanna said.