Lumberjack Axe Throwing

Nakeja Howell
Portfolio Assistant

Matthew Griffin, 24, opened the first Lumberjack Axe Throwing in Cardiff in 2019, when he was just 21 years old. The Cardiff venue was the first urban axe throwing centre in Wales.

Read on to find out how Matthew came up with the idea and how he has used a micro loan from the Development Bank of Wales to expand the business.

From carpenter to entrepreneur

Matthew started training as a carpenter straight out of school. He began to notice that there was a business side to it, and this became his passion.

While visiting his brother in London, his brother took him axe throwing one night. A sport originally founded in America, Matthew saw that there was nothing like it in Wales, and so he decided to seize the opportunity to fill a gap in the market.

He opened the first Lumberjack site in Cardiff in mid-2019, while continuing to work as a self-employed carpenter and working towards his university degree.

Expanding to Swansea

After successfully navigating the business through the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Matthew set his sights on expanding Lumberjack in late 2021. Demand was high and the Cardiff site was becoming too small for the number of customers, so he wanted to grow the business by introducing axe throwing to a new area.

With the help of a £35,000 micro loan from the Development Bank of Wales, Matthew has now opened a second site on Dillwyn Street in Swansea city centre. 

The micro loan allowed him to keep the business stable during renovation work for the new site, with the development also supported by Swansea City Council’s Property Enhancement Grant.  

Matthew said: “Running a company while trying to construct a premises twice the size of the one bringing in the revenue can majorly drop capital reserves, so we were looking for something to assist with the cash flow while we carried out the construction.

“I wouldn’t have been able to have gone for the Swansea site if I didn’t have the funding off the Development Bank. For anyone in Wales planning to open up a company, I feel like we get the best support out there when it comes to the Development Bank and Business Wales. I feel like it’s a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs to get the support that they need.”

Matthew, who won Young Businessperson of the Year at the Cardiff Business Awards 2020, plans to open “rage rooms” at the new venue later this year. These will give customers the chance to work out their stresses by freely smashing up crockery and other items.

Watch the video to find out more from Matthew about his business journey.

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