This Fresno State entrepreneur student wants to bring an ‘escape room’ to Fresno

Fresno State student and entrepreneur Calvin Kammer is developing an idea to bring an "escape room" to Fresno. (Marilyn Castaneda/The Collegian)

Fresno State student and entrepreneur Calvin Kammer is in the process of creating an escape room, a physical game in which players try to solve puzzles and riddles under the pressure of a time in order to escape a room.

The Next-Gen Escape room will consist of team-development exercises to promote communication and problem-solving skills, according to Kammer.

His idea for an escape room was born from his background experience as a manager, Kammer said. He believes there is a lot of room in Fresno for innovation and growth of the escape room, and he hopes to give the business as much value as possible.

“I’ve come a very long way from just an idea to props already made,” said Kammer. “I started off with just the idea and then I put it into a business plan and from there every issue that came up, I tried to take care of it.”

Kammer is the president of the Entrepreneur Club, an organization on campus that advocates for entrepreneurship and development of student-run enterprises. The club has given Kammer the help he needs to build his idea and grow his project, he said.

“There’s a lot of different options for students,” Kammer said.

And there is a lot of innovation going on at Fresno State, according to Kammer.

“If I hadn’t known about this program, I probably wouldn’t be pursuing this project right now,” he told The Collegian.

Before becoming CEO of his business, Kammer worked in the live-entertainment industry for three years. He operated a laser tag facility and managed an escape room for a year.
He then realized the skills he picked up would be valuable to start his own project. Kammer has been pursuing his dream of becoming an entrepreneur full time since March of this year, after leaving his job.

“I haven’t gotten a paycheck since March,” Kammer said. “I’m not doing it for the money, I’m doing it for the experience.”

Kammer has always called Fresno home. He graduated from Buchanan High School in 2014 and attended Fresno City College for three years after that. Last year he transferred to Fresno State, and hopes to graduate in the spring of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an entrepreneurship option.

Kammer has progressed from picking out the location and designing the floor plans for his escape room to meeting with realty brokers and attorneys.

“It’s about getting everything in line that way once I have the check I can just pull the
trigger and go for it,” Kammer said.

Each of the four rooms will be as immersive as possible, according to Kammer. They will be inspired by different movies with an aim to make the customer feel like the they are at Universal Studios or Disneyland.

Kammer also intends on hiring Fresno State students as well as providing student and military discounts for his business.

The Next-Gen Escape room could potentially open this year. Kammer is optimistic for the future, and longs to continue working in the live entertainment field.

“The plan is for the escape room to be the first location. It’s going to be like a model for all the other locations to come,” Kammer said. “Hopefully, in a few years you’re gonna see these in a few other locations.”

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