On the 400 block of South Railway street, there is a relatively indiscreet door to a steep set of stairs, at the top of which you find your self at the dimly lite reception desk of the Clued Inn. There is a large sign describing where the door leads but it seems strangely fitting that clients have overlooked it in their search for the escape rooms while others have discovered it by chance and been disappointed to find out that there are no rooms to be rented. It’s an apt test of our casual observation but the true test lays within the carefully crafted rooms you can be checked in to but may not be able to check out of. 

I sat down with Jeremy Eberwein and Andrew Lavender in their recently built banquet hall, which will lead it’s self to mysterious dinner parties for large groups of the adventurous.

It was great that Jeremy and Andrew could spare some time for us. I was interested to find out more about two of the creative minds at work behind the scenes.

Andrew B: So first of all, I love the location here. It seems appropriate that you are a little tucked away. How long have you guys been here now?

Jeremy: Yeah we love the location and the space we’ve got to play with up here. We’ve been open a year this February. It took about three months for us to get the first couple of rooms up and running but we’ve been open a year after that.

Andrew B: Looking at the place I’m impressed you managed to get this done in three months.

Jeremy: We were actually really hoping to get it done quickly, to be honest. It’s surprising how difficult it is to permit space with so much going on in the rooms. There were some communication problems with the city but we got there in the end.

Andrew L: Yeah, somethings got lost in translation as they bounced from office to office but getting everything properly permitted was a necessary evil to get this done properly. That said we’re never really done building.

Andrew B: How many rooms are you running right now?

Jeremy: Three right now, forth is coming soon and then the fifth will follow. Actually, the fifth one is going to be our most difficult. These are popular enough that there are groups who have been through lots of these and we really what to give them a challenge.

There was a hostage escape room being run out of a house here in the ‘Hat’ that we have secured and there are lots of cool things we’re hoping to do with that.

Andrew B: So why escape rooms? What made you decide to do this?

Jeremy: After doing a whole bunch of them I found I had a real passion for them. Especially the mechanisms behind the rooms, the working parts. It just fits so well with lots of other interests I have with electronics and just building entertaining things.

Andrew L: I’ve always been interested in writing and creating stories. I’m involved with the Medicine Hat Musical Theatre and this is another great outlet for me. Getting together with Jeremy’s sister Nicole and just writing these stories that Jeremy can build and bring to life. I can’t do any of the electronics but my painting has really come on. (laughing)

Andrew B: I can tell just sitting here how much you both enjoy doing this. It’s a feeling I can relate to as well. I love what I do and even when I get to do something else that I love, at the back of my mind I’m still looking forward to getting back to the office.

Jeremy: Yeah, we feel really lucky. We’ve found something that we enjoy doing, we feel passionate about it. So doing the work isn’t a problem. We know this is a very privileged place to be. Hopefully, when someone comes through the door looking to spend some time outside of whatever they might have going on, the work we’ve done will help them get caught up in the moment and they can just spend an hour or so wrapped up in the story.

Andrew L: As soon as you walk into our lobby we wanted it to feel like a different world. We wanted it to be an escape, no pun intended.

Andrew B: It really works, I really think it does. The moment you said that I started to think about the first time I climbed the stairs and you really don’t feel like your in Medicine Hat any more.

What would be three tips you could give people to increase their chances of escaping the rooms?

Jeremy: Number one would be to try to not overthink it. The clue could be as obvious as it looks. 

Number two would definitely be the kids. Listen to the kids. Lots of times we see groups trying to solve a riddle that their kids had the answer to ten minutes ago but nobody heard them.

Andrew L: Number three, really pay attention to the details. Lots of people have the right clue and are in the right place but haven’t picked up on how important one the details really are. 

I’d like to thank Jeremy and Andrew for taking the time to talk to me. I was lucky enough to get a peek behind the curtain so to speak and I can’t wait to see some of the features they have planned for the future. 

The Clued Inn plans to reopen really soon. Keeping checking their Facebook and website for up to date information on when that will be happening.