At the start of 2019, Sara Rose and her husband, Colin Rose, were servers at Olive Garden. Colin was planning on going to law school in the fall. That all changed with a visit to Columbus in January.
The couple went to an escape room in Columbus, and the owner mentioned that they were looking into adding a virtual reality (VR) component to their business. In June, they checked and the business in Columbus never went through with the VR idea.
Sara and Colin took matters into their own hands. Within two days, they had a licensing agreement with Ubisoft, a French video game company that partners with businesses to use their VR software.
“Yeah, it all happened pretty fast. I’m not complaining,” Sara says.
Despite excitement and the agreement with Ubisoft, neither of them had worked with VR before. The closest place that uses Ubisoft’s VR escape rooms is in Fort Wayne, Indiana. So, they made the trip.
“I was just astounded at the quality,” Sara says.
“It’s so immersive because it comes with full stereo headphones and the controls vibrate when you touch things,” Colin says. “It tricks your brain into thinking that you’re really in this virtual space.”
Getting to Work
After the visit to Fort Wayne, the Roses got to work in their hometown of Chillicothe. Their new business, Objective Reality Games, features two VR escape rooms and an arcade that runs 40 VR arcade games which rotate throughout the month.
Because Objective Reality Games is one of the only locations on the East Coast using Ubisoft’s equipment, the married couple of a little over a year do everything themselves.
“It’s a lot of work because there’s nobody else doing it,” Colin says. “Right now, I’m having some tracking issues on equipment, and there’s not really anybody to talk to about it because nobody is doing it. It’s all just a learning process.”
Making a Difference
Starting a new business means having a platform in the community that Sara and Colin intend to take advantage of. A large part of the Objective Reality Games business model is branding the company as a sober place for people to spend their nights.
“There’s such a drug epidemic in our town just because there’s nothing to do here,” Sara says. “Teenagers and young kids who are in this town wanting to hang out their friends, end up getting caught up in drugs because there’s nothing else for them to do, in their minds, to have fun.”
They want to help with that problem.
Colin is a licensed addiction counselor and struggled with addiction.
“The idea that we can have a safe environment for people to come and feel like they can have a good time without it being revolved around drinking and everything, that’s a big part of our lives personally and we want to make sure people can experience that here in our town too,” Colin says.
Team building is another aspect of the escape rooms that the co-owners are stressing. They want to promote themselves as a corporate team building location where co-workers can come and work on team building skills.
On Friday, October 4, Objective Reality Games opened in Chillicothe. With family and friends by their side, Sara and Colin cut the yellow ribbon given to them by Bobbi Kellough, member relations and events manager at the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re super thrilled here in Chillicothe and Ross County to have Objective Reality Games because we’re on the cusp of the new technology,” Kellough says. “It’s the first one in the state of Ohio, so we’re hoping people from Columbus and all the surrounding counties will come here to enjoy this technology and super fun evenings out.”
As for Colin and Sara’s emotions on opening day:
“We did all this work with our own two hands, and it’s been frustrating as all get out, and now it’s functioning so I’m like, okay what do I do now,” Sara says.
“Relieved,” Colin says.