When Stumpy’s Hatchet House of Bucks County opened its Bristol doors in March 2019, it quickly became a go-to spot for entertainment, stress relief and gathering with family, friends and colleagues. There was just something about the laid-back atmosphere – and the ability to chuck axes at a wall – that attracted people.
The 1501 Grundy Lane location was launched by owners Jennifer Runyon and Mike Keeley, who fell in love with the franchise after visiting the original Stumpy’s in Eatontown, New Jersey. Who wouldn’t enjoy ringing the giant bullseye bell? However, a five-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic took its financial toll on the longtime friends and business partners.
Runyon and Keeley have since stepped away, but a new trio is ensuring Stumpy’s Hatchet House of Bucks County continues. Carl Gould, Karl Gibbons and Dave Ragosa have taken ownership of the property, and they’re thrilled to offer favorite activities, as well as new initiatives, to the community.
“We’ve always been interested in hatchet throwing and owning a venue like this,” said Gould, who was also introduced to the experience in Eatontown. “When we found out that there were other locations, we were really interested in getting involved. We just loved the idea of how much fun this was, how much of a fun night out it was for our group.”
Stumpy’s Bucks County reopened about two weeks ago. Gould stressed that all of the spot’s original offerings were maintained, though he, Gibbons and Ragosa made some fresh changes.
“People come for ax throwing, but they also like to play the other games that we have like cornhole, tumbling timbers and chess. We’ve expanded our other game areas and we’ve also added some additional furniture,” he said. “The lounge areas are larger now so people can spread out more and then can enjoy a more private experience.”
They also launched the Stumpy’s Bucks program.
“Everyone who comes, as you leave, you put your hand in a big bucket and you grab Stumpy’s Bucks. They are coupons that you can give to friends or use to buy merchandise, or you can get a discount off your next visit,” Gould said.
None of these guys are Bucks County locals, hailing from New Jersey and Florida, but they’re already forming area connections. From Thursday to Sunday each week, the next door Second Sin Brewing Company sets up its micro brew bar outside of Stumpy’s.
“We’ve been in the franchising world for years and we also have a strong retail background. So, we’re looking to increase the overall experience that somebody has that goes beyond ax throwing,” said Gould. “We also want to expand our hours so some more people can have company meetings and family gatherings. Our facility is very large, so we want to make this even more of a family experience.”
As for Runyon and Keeley, they’re still very much involved in Bristol, just in a different capacity.
“We were fortunate to start another business in March 2020 as a last-mile delivery provider for Amazon packages,” said Runyon. “We are lucky enough to have been able to stay in the same area with our new venture and still remain connected to many of the local businesses that we used with Stumpy’s.”
She added that giving up Stumpy’s – their pride and joy that they invested so much into – was a difficult decision. But it was necessary.
“Our business relies on large party/team-building events. We didn’t feel that we were going to be able to sustain keeping the business open based on the capacity we were seeing. When we first opened back up, we were the only staff, which we didn’t mind because we always prided ourselves on being hands-on owners. Mike was the new ax master coach while I took care of the customer service,” said Runyon. “We absolutely loved our store and all the people we met that came through there.”
Stumpy’s Hatchet House of Bucks County is open Wednesday through Sunday for walk-ins and reservations, and Monday and Tuesday for reservations and private parties only. Gould said he intends to get ax throwing leagues up and running soon. Visit stumpyshh.com/buckscountypa/ or call 267-878-0996 for more information.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com