Smash Therapy nears second anniversary

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A smashing experience for the whole crew. OpenClipart-Vectors via Pixabay, manipulated by Lee Lim

Haven’t you heard? It’s all the rage…

While Saskatchewan has proven to be rough terrain for rage rooms in the past, Smash Therapy in Saskatoon has seen much success and is nearing its second anniversary. I interviewed the owner and founder of Smash Therapy, Magen Mercer, who said that they first opened back on November 18, 2020, and “by December 1 we had our first month’s commercial rent, with like no advertising except for a Facebook post. It was just like a miracle through and through, the launch and the support that we’ve had.”

Mercer said that the inspiration to open a rage room came after she had the chance to try one out herself. Noting traumatic experiences in years prior, she said “I walked away from the situation feeling like a new woman, like I got my power back, which I’ve heard people say coming out of my rage room which is awesome. Anyways, I was laughing about it the next day, still on this high of just releasing so much of that crap I was dealing with, and I coined – told myself I coined – the term ‘smash therapy,’ because I felt like I had the best therapy session.”

“I knew it would be helpful,” Mercer said of her business, “but really the reviews are pretty astounding. The reaction from people and what they’re saying and how helpful it really is, so I would dare to call us a wacky wellness centre.”

In a rage room at Smash Therapy there are a host of items that customers can smash. Some customer favourites have been windshields, printers, and vases, though Mercer noted that “People love keyboards because when you slam your hammer or bat down on it, or crowbar, the keys all fly up. They just pop up everywhere, and people always laugh about that.” A variety of booking packages are available at Smash Therapy depending on the size of the group attending, but Mercer said that regardless of a group’s size, “I include enough stuff to make it worth someone’s while. If I have a couple coming in, dropping $100 on a 40-minute appointment, they’re gonna leave sweaty and satisfied.”

Equipment with which to smash is also necessary for a recreational activity like this, and common available options include golf clubs, baseball bats, and crowbars, along with the occasional lamp post. “Frying pans people love,” Mercer added, “and thrift shops always have so many they can’t sell. So yeah, we throw frying pans in there, and all the moms are like, ‘Oh, it’s like that Rapunzel movie!’ Yes it is, Suzanne! Get in there girl!”

Mercer credited her success to perseverance in the face of setbacks, and quality partnerships made early on. “Electronics stores, a couple thrift shops that you know, they can’t sell a lot of their donations and are just pitching things in the bins all the time, so we’re sourcing that garbage. We’re like the middleman of all that garbage they see.”

Mercer said she received “hate mail” shortly after opening from individuals assuming all items would go to waste after being smashed. She noted, however, that even in the idea phase of this endeavor, she “wasn’t gonna start the business unless the waste could be handled properly.”

Mercer’s first partnership was made with the Electronic Recycle Association, and has remained strong over the past two years. Thanks to this partnership, staff and volunteers are able to go through electronics that are donated and “sort all electronic recycle matter out. We actually prepare it before the customers smash it, so we’ll take out circuit boards, capacitors, ink cartridges and toner bars, all that kind of crap from monitors, printers, TVs, and then people smash them and we still sort all that recycling from the disaster room.”

Through the upcoming weeks, Mercer and staff will be battening the hatches as they gear up for their busy season. “Summers are dead. It’s beautiful, and lake season is really hard to compete with.” she noted. “Winter? Slammed. Everyone’s bored, looking for something to do, and then Christmas parties, team building events, you know.”

If a rage room sounds up your alley and you can get to Saskatoon, it’s advised you book soon, as Mercer mentioned that for their last two winters in business, they were nearly fully booked for 14 consecutive weekends.

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