Rick Briggs has spent more than 40 years inventing interactive experiences for families, and now, with the help of his own family, he is bringing a new entertainment option to Springfield.
Amazing Xscapes, an escape room experience with several different themes, will open in The Yard Shopping Center, 1650 W. Wabash Ave., in mid-August.
“I’ve lived in Springfield for 30 years, but I’ve never had a client here or worked here,” said Briggs, who noted that his clients range from Six Flags to Universal Studios but his work has always required him to travel.
“I’ve dreamed of having an entertainment business that our family owns and operates in Springfield, and the pandemic has created that opportunity. We’re always disappointed when we look for new things to do, especially in the last year. We finally decided to just build it ourselves.”
His sons-in-law, Nathan Millspaugh and Brett Moore, both live in Chatham with their families and will be partnering with Briggs in the new venture. Millspaugh is a professional special effects artist in the movie industry and has also designed and operated escape rooms, while Moore’s career experience has been providing professional development to teachers and designing S.T.E.M. opportunities for students.
The trio is currently remodeling a suite in The Yard Shopping Center that had previously been vacant for several years. In addition to the physical location, Amazing Xscapes will offer a portable option.
“We will have Springfield’s first mobile escape room,” said Millspaugh. “It’s a shorter 30-minute experience that parties and companies can rent by the day to bring the entertainment experience to their home or office.”
“Escape experiences are especially powerful as team building and critical problem-solving skill builders,” added Moore. “Amazing Xscapes lets me bring the educational technology innovation experience that I’ve created in local school districts for the last 13 years to the community in a fun, interactive and immersive way. The best part is that people don’t realize they are building those skills. They just think they’re having fun!”
While Springfield previously had an escape room that closed during the COVID shutdowns and never reopened, Briggs said, “Springfield hasn’t seen anything like what we’re building here and creating. This will be a completely different experience than what Springfield has had before.”
Briggs noted that people who are used to traveling to larger cities, even St. Louis and Chicago, come to expect a variety of experiences beyond what is available in Springfield. “I do a lot of work in Orlando, and I’m hoping to bring a little flavor of the theme parks to Springfield,” he said.