COLONIE — Mark Mirasol and Kristyn Muller sat at the front desk of 1865 Central Ave. wearing pajama bottoms, but they weren’t late to work.
In fact, they arrived to the scene pretty early compared with any business competition.
Muller and Mirasol are the first to bring the growing sport of axe-throwing to the Capital Region. And their attire is fitting for their new venture, The Lazy Axe, which they hope will help to destigmatize a sport that many assume to be “macho” or “intimidating.” The location officially opens to the public Tuesday after a ceremonial “ribbon-chopping” event Friday.
“[The pants] were intentional,” Muller said. “It’s not just because we were up early. We’ve asked our ‘axesperts,’ our staff, to all wear them. We really just wanted to make it a comfortable environment and get [customers] to understand that anyone can throw an axe.”
The couple discovered their love for the sport on a road trip last August. They were always interested in trying it out, but with no locations in the area, the only time they were able to visit an axe-throwing parlor was when they stopped in Wichita, Kansas.
MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Mark Mirasol, owner of The Lazy Axe located on Central Ave. in Colonie gets prepared to toss his throwing axe.
“We came back and looked for a place to do it near us and there weren’t any places except for, at the time, in Brooklyn,” Muller said.
Since then, locations have opened in Hartford, Connecticut; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Syracuse, and another Albany-area place, Generation Axe, also opened this week on Fuller Road in Colonie.
Once they had their idea, Muller and Mirasol two decided to build a target in their backyard and went on to create a business plan.
Creating a pun-centric facility was more than likely a driving force in that plan. One look around their new spot shows business owners who love to joke around, as words like “chillaxe” and “axeperts” are plastered on the walls and grace their usual vocabulary.
“Anyone who is ‘axecited’ to come over is welcome to participate,” Mirasol joked.
But the facility isn’t all fun and puns. It will soon be home to some friendly competition.
The Lazy Axe will soon be running leagues and tournaments as an affiliated member of the World Axe Throwing League. Participants have a shot to make the World Axe Throwing Championship, which was featured on ESPN in December.
The facility follows the league’s standards for the target designs, target construction and guidelines for the type of axe participants must use. Lazy Axe purchases its target lumber from Curtis Lumber in Saratoga County and must replace the targets every few hours, depending on how hard people are throwing.
MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
The Lazy Axe located on Central Ave. in Colonie throwing ax board.
Muller, an impact analyst in the SUNY system who has had roles in higher education, and Mirasol, who has taught athletic and recreational activities for 15 years, want their teaching experience to carry through at the Lazy Axe.
“We’re educators at heart,” Mirasol said. “In bringing this to this area, we want folks to try something new and fun. We want to make sure they feel comfortable doing it.”
Muller and Mirasol didn’t start working on the inside of the facility until July 3, after months of work on the structure, and they’ve been working nonstop for the last two weeks to get the spot ready for the Tuesday grand opening.
The owners are encouraging participants to donate what they can at Friday's ribbon chopping ceremony, as proceeds will go to the Midway Fire Department.
And just as was seen with trampoline parks a few years back, new businesses often bring new competitors.
The two hope locals come by next week to fall in love with the sport the same way they did.
“We just want them to have a fun experience,” Muller said. “There is that sense of accomplishment from learning something new.”
Walk-ins at The Lazy Axe cost roughly $25 per person, per hour, and group reservations range from $20-23 per person, per hour, depending on group size.
CORRECTION -- The original version of this story incorrectly reported that The Lazy Axe is the only business of its kind in the Capital Region. Another business, Generation Axe, also opened this week on Fuller Road in Colonie.