LAKE GEORGE — Evan Jalazo and his wife, Elizabeth, were looking to escape the big city and an empty house.
They literally found their escape by opening an escape room business in Lake George at the former home of the Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe on Beach Road.
Evan Jalazo of North Country Escapes LLC said the family was looking for a change of scenery after becoming empty-nesters. They are familiar with the area. His wife has had a vacation home in Ticonderoga since 2003.
“My wife has been coming up to the lake ever since she was a child with her parents,” he said.
Jalazo was tired of commuting from Long Island into New York City every day for a job in the banking industry, so he decided to give up that career after 30 years and go into this business.
“We love the whole escape game industry, did it a few times with our two children,” he said.
The business received approval last month from the Lake George Village Planning Board to change the use of the storefront from retail to amusement.
Jalazo said some minor painting has already been done and a new sign that says “Escape LG: Unlock Your Adventure” has been hung outside.
He is targeting a Memorial Day opening.
The roughly 2,000-square-foot space will be divided into four themed escape rooms. One will be pirate-themed, another a “lost jewel” safari adventure in 1930s colonial Africa, a third a 1920s speakeasy, and a fourth a horror-themed room called “What Happened in Ravenswood.”
There will be extensive decorations to fit the theme, according to Jalazo. For example, in the horror room there will be strobe lights and a fog machine.
“It gives you an immersive adventure in each of the areas,” he said.
People will work together to solve puzzles and riddles that will unlock doors, according to Jalazo.
“You try to get out within 60 minutes,” he said.
There are some rooms that are hidden until unlocked, according to Jalazo.
There will also be use of electronic displays and puzzles instead of just traditional locks and keys, Jalazo said.
“We’re trying to up the game and make it a little bit more immersive and high-tech and something that would work well with Lake George village,” he said.
He is excited about the new venture.
“It’s going to be a fun and exciting new venue for Lake George village. We’ve been to many of them and done a lot of research on escape rooms and found that certain rooms are not done as well as you would like,” he said.