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August 29, 2022
Business Member Highlight: Meet Escape the Terrace
What do you get when you combine event organizing and party planning experience, passion for ’80s and ’90s culture, and a mission to spread joy? If you’re thinking decade-themed escape room, you’d be right. That’s just what our friends and members Tashima Johnson and Yolande Clarke created at Escape the Terrace.
The name references the Temple Terrace neighborhood where their dream became a reality. When the pair decided to put their heads together, Johnson said their goal was “to come up with something creative, fun and a bit of us, that would be available year-round.” They did just that and made it affordable for families as well.
“Tampa Bay needed something that was not only different and fun, but affordable so families would have something engaging and memorable to do. It’s more important for us that people have a good time while they’re here than to be concerned about the profit margin,” Johnson said.
Designing escape rooms can be as challenging as escaping them, but Escape the Terrace’s founders knew having the right location would make all the difference.
Johnson said, “As a small business, we’re part of the puzzle that makes up our community. It means everything to us to not only thrive as a local business, but to see others like us thrive.”
Another challenge Johnson and Clarke faced when building Escape the Terrace was finding the right financing. They discovered Grow when searching for the best banking options for their business and haven’t looked back since.
“Grow Financial provided us an opportunity that other financial institutions didn’t, and they took the time to get to know our story. With their low maintenance fees and low balance requirements, we’ve been empowered as a small business to keep going through some challenging years. It’s so awesome to know that as a member of a credit union, you’re part of a community, not just a customer,” Johnson shared.
Growing up in Jamaica, Johnson and Clarke were surrounded by female role models they looked up to. Now, as minority women small business owners, they hope to inspire the next generation in the same way they were inspired.
“There aren’t very many people who look like us in this industry because most escape rooms are franchises or owned by large corporations. We’re here not just for us, but also to inspire others,” Johnson shared.
So, where did the decade theme come from? Clarke grew up in the ’80s and Johnson grew up in the ’90s, and the two bonded over their love of decade-specific culture and trivia. As the only decade-themed escape room in Florida, their puzzles and décor differentiate them from other escape rooms in the area.
“We dug into the decade theme because we wanted to make the escape rooms a reflection of ourselves,” Clarke said.
Escape the Terrace wants their guests to have a nostalgic experience that helps them grow closer together. Clarke shared, “I’ve found that after participating in an escape room, you share great memories with the people you escaped with and get to know them a little better. I want people to take that away when they visit us.”
While solving decade-themed puzzles defines success for their guests, Johnson and Clarke focus on providing a joyful experience for families in Tampa Bay.
"I wanted to give back to the city that has given so much to me. Spreading joy is our bottom line."
- Tashima Johnson
Are you ready to find out which decade you can escape? Learn more about Escape the Terrace.
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