Patrons at a new business just an hour northeast of San Antonio can celebrate birthdays (or divorces), host team-building exercises, or process stress all in the same way: by picking up a sledgehammer.
At 512 Rage Room, which opened this April in Kyle, guests let it all out by smashing items (either personal or a purchased package from the company) in a safe environment. To rage, first set up an appointment, show up, put on protective gear, then smash away as a personalized soundtrack plays in the background.
The rage room is housed in a rather ingenious location: a junk removal warehouse. Owner Damon Fogley, who also operates a JDog Junk Removal & Hauling, tells CultureMap there are plenty of "rage rooms" in the U.S., but his stands out because of the unusual items that can be made available for smashing, such as pianos and cars. If that's a bit more than they can handle, patrons can break much smaller items, including dishes, electronics, aquariums, and furniture. Patrons only smash items that cannot be donated, Fogley says.
"We're always trying to be creative with the junk," Fogley says. As guests let off steam or celebrate special occasions, they're unwittingly helping the removal service stay green, because it makes the much easier to recycle, he adds.
The idea for 512 Rage Room, says Fogley, came from his work with JDog Junk Removals. JDog franchises are run by veterans and military families across the country, many of whom live with post traumatic stress disorder.
"Whenever we did those jobs ... there's this sense of gratification, sense of relief of breaking all this stuff up," Fogley says.
He says patrons have the same reaction when stepping into a room to process stress, including someone getting over a breakup by destroying a photo of their ex. "[Seeing that smashed frame] triggers something that makes you feel better," Fogley says. "It helps a lot of people with closure."
Or it can be someone facing their mortality, which was the case of one patron battling cancer who needed an outlet and change of scene. His wife called for a rage room appointment and, according to Fogley, the patient showed up with an IV and mask.
In lighter sessions, guests also can break items depicting a rival sports team or lay waste to a room set up like an office.
Fogley says some patrons prefer stepping into a "rage room" over speaking with a mental health professional. "To them it's more a relief and more affordable than seeing a shrink," he says, though he isn't promoting his business as a replacement.
512 Rage Room, located at 395 County Road 202, 17B, Kyle, shares the same hours as the junk removal service, 6 am to 6 pm, but most sessions are scheduled for the afternoon and later.
Sessions are by appointment only, and guests can sign up through company's website or by calling or texting 833-512-RAGE (7243). Individual packages start at $25, and couples and groups begin at $70. Sessions start at 20 minutes.
For safety reasons, guests who are pregnant, intoxicated, or express suicidal thoughts are prohibited from smashing items.