Timber Yeti Axe Range opens to public in Westwood Mall


Harry Stine/NW

GRAB AN AX – The Timber Yeti Axe Throwing Range has a strict one person, one lane policy to ensure safety. The range is opened to the public Thursday and Friday from 4 – 9 p.m., and Saturday from 1 – 8 p.m.

Harry Stine

Walking into Marquette’s Westwood Mall, you will see stores for furniture, dog training, maybe even the seasonal Halloween Superstore, but there is one store you are guaranteed to notice. From the smell of wood, to the thunk of axes into wood, the Timber Yeti Axe Range is truly a one-of-a-kind place. Even the range’s website sums it up perfectly in one line.

“We are Marquette County’s ORIGINAL, Locally-Owned, Family-Friendly source for AXECITEMENT!!!” 

Co-owner Avery Smith said the idea for an axe throwing range struck him over a year ago. 

“My oldest son married a girl from Idaho and … on one of his trips out there, she took him throwing an axe,” Smith said. “He came back raving about it, so we say why not give it a try. We tried it. We fell in love with that, and I said I want to be the one to bring it to Marquette County.”

While looking for a good place to build the range, Smith said that the biggest focus was staying debt free. Which, other than a small payment to Lowe’s on their charge card, they did. 

“I work a full-time job,” Smith said. “My wife works part-time. And so it was getting off work, coming here, working late hours. We had the whole thing roped off and tarped off so nobody could see what was going on inside here. And so then all of a sudden, we had it done. We dropped the tarps and everybody’s like ‘wow, what is this?’”

Over two months of work, Smith and his family built the range completely by themselves. 

While Avery and his sons built most of the range, Avery’s wife Erica is credited with its design. Erica, who went to school for interior design, was more than ready to create the look of the range. According to her, the mural located on the exterior of the store was sketched out in one day and painted in another by her, her daughters and her now-daughter-in-law. 

For Smith, keeping everything local was a huge priority. With all the wood locally sourced and all the interior design pieces bought from the area, Marquette is a focus for the range.

One of Smith’s advertising tactics he plans to introduce is a “find the yeti” hunt in the Marquette area. The idea of the marketing strategy is to dress up a yeti statue, place it in a local business and let residents look for the business it is placed in. Once someone finds the statue, they have to take a selfie with the yeti tagging both Timber Yeti Axe Throwing Range and the local business. They will then be entered in a raffle for free session at the range. 

Safety was also a big factor in creating the range. Smith, a firearms instructor and owner of 906 Concealed Carry, mentioned that safety has always been important to him.

Bringing ideas over from firearm safety at the shooting range, he added a few crucial points to the throwing range. These include one of his sons acting as a safety coach, a caution line that only the thrower and the coach can cross and a strict “one person, one lane” rule. When another person in a group is ready to use the lane, the thrower has to place their axe on a hook next to them and walk away. No handing the axe over directly, and no exceptions.

According to Smith, responses even before the grand opening were very warm, with over 10,000 views on a quick video he put on social media, and local news stations contacting him within a day of the lease being signed.

“The real fun thing is watching people stick their first blade as soon as they start, even if it’s not a target,” Smith said. “Even if they don’t stick it in a scoring area. They feel such a sense of accomplishment that they stuck it.”