It’s 1950 as you cruise upstate for a weekend getaway. Late afternoon, you come to a crossroads with a lone general store on the corner. You take the time to stop in as the door locks behind you. The voice of the humble shop owner emerges from inside; he’s begging you to help save his store. He claims there is an issue with the store’s paperwork that threatens the future of the store and his livelihood. Meanwhile, a wealthy real estate investor, giddy about seizing the opportunity to demolish the store and build a new resort, needs some inside help and is sure to make it worth your while. The store’s controversial existence has everyone on edge, including the owner who may not be all that he seems. As the tension grows, the inside of the store transforms around you as suddenly all of the goods and furniture transform into a paper material. As you grasp at the fibers of what’s real or fiction, the future of the store is in your hands. That is, if it even exists in the first place.

The General Store is a surreal, immersive, escape room based on the story of Agloe, NY; nestled in the Catskill mountains above New York City. Agloe is known as a phantom settlement or paper town. These are fake locations devised by cartographers as a copyright trap to prevent others from stealing their maps. However, a couple unaware of the trap, opened a store at the location of Agloe pulling fiction into reality. Participants work together to solve the mystery of Agloe, align with its characters, and ultimately choose to save or demolish the store. Throughout the experience, attendees will wrestle with the concepts of reality, fiction and consequence. Audiences are craving to step inside of stories and leave an impact. Important values for new generations move beyond their initial experience and how they’re forming a greater impact on the world around them. This piece is unique in its modular ability to fit into any space and support rural revitalization by bringing exciting opportunities to new areas at minimal cost. The experience would accomplish this without disrupting the cherished local aesthetic and culture within these communities. ”The General Store” fosters an endlessly replayable environment forming collaborative relationships as unique as the participants themselves. With our design team’s rural roots, we understand the importance of bringing impactful storytelling and new methods of engagement to the area while honoring the values of our communities.

The experience breaks ground with projection mapping and interactive technology to create magic within a rural space. Hidden away on the second floor is an office for all technical equipment, assistance staff, and cast members. This space allows convenient access to behind the bar via stairs or a private entrance and exit to maintain the presence of participants. Utilizing ambisonic spatial audio and technologically-enchanted objects, the story is revealed through sound bites, clues, and puzzles to push the narrative forward. Projection mapping creates spectacular imagery and magical qualities within the objects and environment. This groundbreaking narrative and immersive experience is sure to keep guests engrossed and guessing right up until closing time.


Michael Coney, Alessandra Vertrees, Dara Perlman