Thursday, September 25, 2008

A smashing sign of the times

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 8:49 PM

It sounds like a creation from a Chuck Palahniuk novel, but it's not: an entrepreneur in San Diego has opened a business catering to people who just need to break something...

When Sarah Lavely gets angry, she likes to break things. Not all the time, but on days when everything seems to be going wrong, she has been known to throw some plates against a wall. Fortunately, she has an easy outlet: Lavely is the founder of Sarah's Smash Shack, a San Diego shop where customers pay to smash tableware like dinner plates, wine glasses, intricately lined sashimi plates, brightly colored vases and goblets....

Ceramic white dinner plates are Lavely's biggest seller, because they require a strong toss and break violently against the wall. Patrons order from a menu that includes items like The House Special (15 plates in 15 minutes for $45), the Six Shooter (six rapid-fire wine glasses for $12) or the Juggernaut (two large jugs for $12.) Value seekers can opt for the Mystery Box: 10 assorted smashables for $25. If you'd like to smash a person, Lavely allows the next best thing - a photo inserted into a very breakable glass frame.

Since the shop opened business has been steadily increasing, with each night, on average, busier than the last. Despite consumers' tendency to be budget conscious in a down economy, Lavely is getting calls from groups of people who want to come to her shop from as far away as Los Angeles. Economic uncertainty might actually be driving business, as customers smash their way through the frustrations of high gas prices, a slumping housing market and rising unemployment.

My only question would be: why San Diego? This seems like a natural franchise for Magazine Street. I wish I'd thought of it in 2005.

What would you smash?

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