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Broken Pieces Rage Room offers a smashing good time

By Scott Pettigrew Jun 14, 2023 | 5:00 PM

Have you ever had a day so bad you just wanted to throw a glass against the wall, overturn your kitchen table, or put a sledgehammer through a TV? A soon-to-open business in Saint John will let you do all that, and more, without having to clean up afterward.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” says Julie Hebert, who along with her husband, son, and daughter will be opening Broken Pieces Rage Room in early July.

Like the iconic scene from the movie Office Space where cubicle jockeys Peter, Samir, and the unfortunately named Michael Bolton take out their anger with a baseball bat on the company printer, a rage room allows people to smash stuff for fun.

The entertainment centre, located at 637 Rothesay Ave. has already begun collecting donated items — anything from saucers, keyboards, and computer monitors, to air fryers, toasters, and even bigger items.

“We’ll give you a variety of different things to hit them with,” she says. “For your weapons there’s anything from a baseball bat to a sledgehammer to a crowbar. You can even use a golf club. So you can hit it with whatever you want.”

Adults, of course, will be able to participate. There will be a safety video explaining the dos and don’ts of the room, and of course safety gear like gloves and goggles are a must as well as close-toed shoes and helmets.

“We’re hoping to have kids of a certain age, with parental consent, that they can go through,” she says. “We want to make sure that each person has all the safety gear and they can go in, hook their phone up to the music they want, as long as its family-friendly. And we set the timer and they go to town on all this stuff.”

“We’re very excited. We’re getting lots of positive feedback,” she says.

The room builds are being documented on social media, along with updated timelines about opening dates and more. Hebert’s commitment to openness, expression, and letting the chips land (safely) where they may is evidenced in all she’s done to get the business up and running.

“The rooms themselves are going to have plywood walls so that if for some crazy reason they missed their target and hit a wall, it won’t be too bad to replace,” she says. “And we’re not going to have any locks on the rooms because if someone does come in, in a crisis, we don’t want them to be able to lock themselves in the room.”

The rooms will be 20 – 24 square feet, some with shatterproof windows so that people can look in and see what’s happening.

There will be date night and team building packages available, and time limits will vary based on the package picked but the standard is about 15 minutes of pure smashing. It might not seem long but hitting and breaking things is hard physical work and it doesn’t take long to exhaust yourself.

She says they’re also planning on doing workshops that incorporate breaking stuff, like a “Mom’s vacation” where you smash a bunch of household items, then go get a mani-pedicure. “We’ve got all kinds of different ideas,” she says.

Hebert says while breaking things is fun, frustration is a real feeling that impacts us all, and that mental health is also a big part of her business plan. The emotional and mental pressures of the last few years going through the Covid pandemic was what brought Hebert and her family to the idea of having a rage room for people to just let it all out.

“I went through quite a few things over the last couple of years and I realized that there was no way, safely, to get your aggression out,” she says.

“We want to have it centered around mental health,” she says of the business. “It’s no secret that Saint John has a rising mental health crisis. And it’s not just adults, it’s kids too. My staff is going to be equipped with some mental health courses so that they can recognize if somebody does come in, in a crisis, so they can talk them down until help arrives.”

Hebert is also hoping to install a memorial wall in one area for people to remember family members who have lost their battle with mental health issues.

“They can come in and put their family member’s name on that wall so that their name and memory live on forever.”

Alex Graham is a reporter with Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.


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