Vintage trench coats hang in the corner. A rotary phone sits atop the retro desk.
Old black-and-white mugshots are pinned to a board, and a map of San Luis Obispo County is painted on the wall.
This is The Lock Boxx, a new mobile escape room based out of San Luis Obispo County. Customers are “locked” inside the trailer until they can solve the appropriate puzzles and break free.
“I realized we really didn’t have any escape rooms out here, and I wanted to bring that experience to the average person,” said Lock Boxx creator and owner Will Ruoff, an architect at Ten Over Studio in San Luis Obispo. “By making it mobile, I can tap into a wider market, I can go to events and parties and just bring it to the Central Coast in an easier way.”
Ruoff purchased a trailer in July and spent a year building the escape room with a 1960s crime and noir theme.
“I had to raise the roof, because it was really small,” said Ruoff, who did the construction himself on weekends. He also spent a lot of time at yard sales to find the escape room’s vintage furnishings.
The Lock Boxx had its grand opening Aug. 9 at the Downtown SLO Farmers Market.
“I booked up all my sessions in the first hour and had to start turning people away. It’s been great so far,” said Ruoff, who plans to bring The Lock Boxx back to Farmers Market on a monthly basis. The escape room is also available for events.
The Lock Boxx caps its escape room sessions at 20 minutes to make the experience more accessible. The trailer can accommodate up to four people at a time.
“My future goal is to have this trailer for public events, and have another trailer for private events,” Ruoff said. That would enable him to offer a more intense, hour-long experience for “those big escape-roomers,” he said.
Ruoff said his favorite aspect of escape rooms is “the team-building aspect — the way it brings people together.”
“It’s really fun to see people who have never heard of escape rooms before come in and experience something completely new and love it,” he said.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/thelockboxx.
Jarod Urrutia: 805-783-7614