New Faces: Indoor Escape Game Location Provides Stimulating Entertainment

Two new businesses have opened in Saskatoon. These are their stories.

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To burst

It took Roberta Alton and her brother Robbie Scott less than a year to fall in love with escape games.

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They found the puzzles – which force players to reason through issues to escape a locked room – extremely exciting.

“We quickly became addicted, quite frankly,” said Alton, who grew up in Nipawin before moving to Saskatoon in 1999. “We were addicted. We just couldn’t get enough. We started looking outside of Saskatoon for escape rooms to do, and we just figured there weren’t enough.

Alton and Scott felt that the demand for the games was increasing and that Saskatoon needed more companies offering new puzzles for players like them. But it wasn’t until Alton’s husband suffered a serious work accident that they decided to open theirs.

“He was a huge support and gave me a little boost,” Alton said. “He said to me, ‘If it’s something you like and want to do, you have to do it now, because we don’t know what the future holds.’ ”

It was enough. On January 15, Alton and Scott opened Breakout in Saskatoon’s North Industrial Zone. The company currently features three different puzzles that challenge players to unravel a mysterious murder, arrest a deranged scientist, and defuse a time bomb using only their wits.

“We opened with two rooms, and so what we did was (Scott) designed one room and I designed the other, and then our third room which just opened this week was a full collaboration. “she said. “It’s very exciting.”

Starting the business was “literally like jumping out of a plane without a parachute,” Alton said, noting everything had proven difficult, from designing puzzles and building props to dealing with complex regulations and running a small business.

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But she thinks Breakout is worth it.

“When it’s all over and everything falls into place, it’s so exciting and you just can’t wait for people to come and play it,” Alton said. “There is no better feeling than watching people walk out of this room, and they greet you, they applaud you – they had so much fun.”

To burst

Address: 805 48th Street East
Telephone: 306-384-0008; after hours: 306-227-8171
the Web: Breakoutsask.com
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

After moving away from the industry, Christine Bernhard recently opened Prairie Girl Esthetics in Sutherland.
After moving away from the industry, Christine Bernhard recently opened Prairie Girl Esthetics in Sutherland. Photo by Greg Pender /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Prairie Girl Aesthetic

After several months away from the aesthetics industry, Christine Bernhard decided to try again, on her own terms this time.

“To be honest, I’m tired of working for other people,” the 30-year-old mother said of her new business, Prairie Girl Esthetics. “I want to work my own hours and, I guess, working for people, I started to feel that the challenge was just not there. I wanted to have more challenges.

Bernhard grew up just outside of Saskatoon. In 2011, she enrolled in an eight-month, 1,200-hour aesthetic program at the Spa Academy. After graduating, she worked for several different aesthetic companies and taught aesthetics before temporarily leaving the industry.

Bernhard failed to help people look and feel better. Last month, she rented space at a Sutherland hair salon and opened her first business, which she dubbed Prairie Girl Esthetics. While the ultimate goal is to move into a dedicated storefront, just being back at work is a big reward, she said.

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Bernhard said his business is different from other beauty salons because of the services it offers. Besides standard services including makeup application, she is also trained in toenail reconstruction, diabetic and geriatric foot care. She’s also equipped to deal with “crazy nail fungus,” she laughed.

“I feel like the Spa Academy teaches in a very different way, and I feel like I just have a little more in-depth training in certain aspects (of the business).

Bernhard admits that business has been slow since opening Prairie Girl Esthetics – mainly because the middle of winter is a “terrible” time to start an aesthetics studio. But she expects interest to increase as spring approaches – and wedding season.

“(Now) I can kind of get a feel for the play before the busy season starts,” she said.

Most importantly, Bernhard enjoys being back in the company she loves and loved for most of her adult life. Running a business is both a challenge and a reward, she said.

“I love him. I love him so much. That’s all I wanted and then some.

Prairie Girl Aesthetic

Address: Baie 4, 116 103rd Street East
Telephone: 639-317-6478
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm; call for appointments

If you’ve started, expanded, or moved a small business to Saskatoon in the past few months, contact Alex MacPherson at 306-657-6210 or [email protected]. Home and temporary businesses, as well as those without a physical location, will not be considered for posting.

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