Slinging an axe during winter is an indication that there’s work to do with wood to be chopped for the fireplace.

One Cedartown couple is hoping to add some fun into the mix with a new recreation venue.

Cedar Valley Chops held its official open house on Friday and encouraged anyone to come to historic downtown Cedartown and try their hand at a somewhat new pastime — axe throwing.

Mark and Kristina Richardson, who moved to Cedartown from Bremen in 2019, brought the idea for the venue with them and worked with city officials and community leaders to make it something that would be enjoyable for experts or beginners, families and friends.

“The biggest thing for us is we thought it would be good to bring something back to downtown,” Mark Richardson said. “Maybe this could create a spark and inspire someone else to open something up down here, really bring life back to historic downtown.”

The couple began the process of starting the venue just over a year ago, talking with Cedartown City Manager Edward Guzman about their business plan and how something like this could be allowed under city ordinances.

Development ramped up last June as the Richardsons went before the city planning commission and the city commission to get approval for the conditional use permit. Construction was met with issues with material availability and revisions, but Mark said they were able to work through them.

The venue, located at 413 Main St., features seven axe throwing lanes equipped with wooden targets that have digital games and target areas projected on them, as well as an anti-bounce back border system and separate lanes to maximize safety.

Participants are asked to sign a waiver before throwing, and anyone under 18 must have a legal guardian to sign in order to throw. Either of the Richardsons, their daughters, or an employee will be around to help newcomers with some tips or advice.

Friday’s New Year’s Eve open house event saw several people come by and try axe throwing for free while also enjoying the College Football Playoff games on the televisions or the big-screen digital projector in the adjoining area the owners are calling their “indoor/outdoor space.”

Complete with grass-like carpeting, lawn chairs, and backyard tables and games, the space is a place where people can wait for a lane to open or relax in between games. Beer and wine is also available to purchase.

Mark Richardson said it’s a space that can be improved on or revised as they see how people utilize it, but on Friday there were plenty of people getting a look at the axe throwing lanes.

“It’s a good feeling to see people enjoy what we knew they would,” Richardson said. “To explain to people what it is, and how it works, and the variety of what we can offer is one thing, but to see them in here getting a first-hand look at it is just great.

“We understand that it’s something new, something different, but that’s part of why we think people will enjoy it.”

The owners were so pleased with the open house that they announced over the weekend that they will hold their grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 8.

“It’s been fun getting to know the community. People have been nice and willing to do anything they can to help and get us going,” Mark said. “There’s been a lot of community support and we appreciate it more than anyone will ever know.”

Find Cedar Valley Chops on Facebook @cedarvalleychops or online at cedarvalleychops.com.

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