A PLACE TO 'BURY THE HATCHET'
Ben Fowler was inside Main Street Axe getting the place ready for evening events. He noticed a group of young people staring into the windows.
“I went out to talk to them, and it turns out they were PSU international students from Taiwan,” said Fowler, who owns Main Street Axe with his wife Michelle. “They couldn’t believe people were in here throwing axes around. They said they didn’t have this type of thing where they’re from.”
Fowler said he’s getting used to that type of reaction from people when they learn that Pittsburg now has an axe throwing facility. While it’s becoming common in bigger cities across the country, it’s still rare in communities the size of Pittsburg.
She came home and said that Pittsburg needs this.
“This was actually my wife’s idea,” he said. “She went with some friends to Chicago and saw it there. She came home and said that Pittsburg needs this. I wasn’t entirely sure about that at first.”
Michelle said she was surprised by how much fun she had throwing axes in Chicago.
“I just thought it was a really cool activity that brought people together for a good time,” she said. “I knew other people would feel the same way I did, so I came home and told Ben we need to do this here in Pittsburg.”
Main Street Axe, at 216 S. Broadway, hosts a variety of events ranging from birthday parties to local and regional league tournaments. It’s one of more than 20 new businesses that have opened in Downtown Pittsburg in the past couple years, and it’s that economic energy downtown that led the Fowlers to return to Pittsburg.
“It’s great seeing so many people walking or riding bicycles downtown. That’s honestly the reason we moved here from California.”
“I’m from California, and that’s where Ben and I met,” Michelle said. “When we had our kids, we knew we wanted to give them a small-town life experience. Ben is from Pittsburg, so it just made a lot of sense to come here, especially once we saw the town start to revitalize itself.”
Ben said Pittsburg has changed in many positive ways since he left in 2002.
“When I was growing up in Pittsburg, there wasn’t a lot of activity downtown,” he said. “We never really went downtown at all. Now, there are many new businesses and so much foot traffic. It’s great seeing so many people walking or riding bicycles downtown. That’s honestly the reason we moved here from California.”
Both said that Block22, the mix-use living learning community at Fourth and Broadway, played a major factor in their decision to buy a building downtown for their axe throwing business.