A popular Midcoast escape room business will be changing hands in January. Trapt Escape Rooms, located on Commercial Street in Rockport, was founded by current owner Tiffany Ford. Ford, who also operates On the Water in Maine Vacation Rentals and On the Water Real Estate, was approached by the prospective buyers without even putting the business on the market.
“The timing was right. I put a lot of energy and effort into starting Trapt, and it’s been very fulfilling to see the community embrace the business and enjoy the escape rooms,” said Ford, adding that the new owners intend to rename the building “Bears Den Billiards,” keep many of the escape rooms, but expand the business to include additional billiard tables (Trapt currently offers six escape rooms, a full arcade, and two professional billiard tables.)
Trapt was the brainchild of Ford, who opened the business, in Jan 2020. In addition to her real estate and property rental businesses, she also has a background as a forensic scientist specializing in handwriting analysis. Her attention to detail and problem-solving skills were a natural fit for the intricately designed puzzles developed for Trapt’s immersive, themed escape rooms. The business succeeded throughout the pandemic, as new rooms were rolled out to larger audiences.
“I wanted to make my customers happy and give midcoast locals and new visitors to the area a quality experience that they would really enjoy. Today people are so involved in technology and social media, and our lives are so busy that it’s rare to do something where you share an experience with your family or friends where you are forced to interact with one another. Escape rooms offer interactive adventures where you really get a chance to work together.”
For the past 18 years, Ford has been the owner of one of the few remaining locally-owned property rental businesses in the area. On the Water in Maine Vacation Rentals represents some 100+ rental properties located along the coastline and lakes of the midcoast; her company On the Water Real Estate represents buyers and sellers of homes in desirable locations from Damariscotta to Belfast.
As if these ventures weren’t enough to keep her busy, Ford is preparing her next act: author.
Earlier this year she completed her first novel which will be published early next year. The book is a suspense thriller set in Boston which draws upon her background in forensics, but Ford is keeping further details under wraps.
“It has taken me six years, but it is finally done, and I am in the final stages of editing with hopes to have it on shelves in late spring/early summer. If I had it my way, it would already be on shelves, but it is a long process when you are new to the game. It will be a series so I will need to get cracking on the second book right away! That was another part of my decision. Life can pass us by quickly so if you find something you really enjoy and are able to do it, then it really is a win for your heart and soul. Instead of rooms, I hopefully can now frighten and entertain more people, but in the written word instead.”
For now, she is looking forward to a new “chapter” for Trapt, the business she built from the ground up. One of the tenets of the ownership change is that her son, Austin, will stay on as Trapt’s Game Master, who has been responsible for developing new room ideas and is often working behind the scenes, guiding guests via in-room monitors when they are stumped.
“I thoroughly enjoyed rehabilitating the building with my kids and helping my son Austin develop it into a really fun place for friends and families to go and enjoy spending time with one another. I am thrilled with all Austin learned about business, people, management, accounting, and what is necessary to succeed in today’s world. He learned valuable life skills that he can now incorporate into his future. He now understands what it takes to succeed and that is invaluable to me as a parent.”