PNW Axe House: Turning axe throwing into a family business in Chehalis


Got an axe to grind? Why not throw it instead?

Area residents and visitors can now challenge coworkers, friends and family in axe-throwing games at the newly opened PNW Axe House in downtown Chehalis.

Located at 255 N. Market Blvd., PNW Axe House is open on Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. While walk-ins are welcomed, making reservations for an axe throwing lane is recommended as lanes are limited.

PNW Axe House is owned by Melinda and Paul Wilkes, of Chehalis, but it is operated by the whole family.

The business held its grand opening last weekend.

Melinda was never interested in axe throwing, but that all changed after she took a trip to Texas in August 2023 with her daughter, Amanda Berg.

“We went to Dallas and we were on a buying trip for my store (Bitchin Britches Boutique in Centralia), and in the evenings, what are you gonna do?” Melinda said. “Amanda’s like, ‘Let’s go axe throwing,’ and I was like, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ And we went and we had a ball.”

“We only threw axes for about 35 minutes, and then we both said, ‘we’re going to open one ourselves,’” Amanda added.

They organized a family meeting upon returning from Dallas to talk about opening a

similar business and, at first, the family had Melinda’s original reaction.

But after trying out axe throwing for themselves at the Castle Rock Axe House, the rest of the family was hooked.

“We went down there in a snowstorm, on Jan. 13, and they thought nobody was going to show up that day, but all 20 of us did,” Melinda said.

With commercial spaces hard to come by in Lewis County, it took time before they finally found a location in downtown Chehalis, but one recently became available. Now that they’ve officially opened, three generations of the Wilkes family all work together.

Melinda and Paul are joined by Amanda and her husband, Ryan Berg, who have three children, Michelle and Matt Schlecht and their four children, and Lena and Matt Wilkes and their five children. Not all of the grandkids are old enough to work at the business yet.

“And our little granddaughter … she’s like, ‘When I work here, can I have a T-shirt that says staff on the back?’ She’s 13, and she already wants this as her first job,” Melinda said.

PNW Axe House uses digital targets projected onto wooden blocks that axe throwers aim at. This gives customers a range of options aside from a traditional bullseye target to play other throwing games such as Connect 4, tic-tac-toe and moving targets.

Despite being open for one weekend so far, Amanda added they have already had local businesses reaching out to make reservations for team-building days and families planning birthday parties.

“There’s something about throwing axes that builds team rapport,” Amanda said.

Snacks and drinks are available to purchase at the PNW Axe House, and once the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board gives its approval, they will also offer beer and hard ciders for customers.

Amanda said Castle Rock Axe House has helped them get established and sorted out with things such as insurance which, if your business involves throwing sharp objects around, isn’t the easiest to obtain.

“We’re even looking at partnering with them for an (axe throwing) travel league,” Amanda added.

Along with Castle Rock Axe House, they’ve also been in contact with Keli and Daniel Coleman, owners of Insert Coin in Centralia, who may join the travel league. Insert Coin’s new location in Olympia — scheduled to open sometime this fall — will also have axe throwing lanes.

Aside from axe throwing, PNW Axe House has a variety of tabletop games for those not in the lanes.

“This past weekend, it was true, because people brought their families and I got to sit down and play checkers with a little girl who couldn’t throw an axe,” Melinda said. “I kicked her butt. I’m just saying.”

To throw axes at PNW Axe House, you must be 8 or older.

Whether it’s a family having a birthday party or a business holding a team-building event, Amanda said they want to make sure everyone has a good time. They are partnering with local bars and restaurants who will leave partnership cards PNW Axe House customers can use to get discounts elsewhere.

“Basically, you can take the card and go get a discount on a hamburger or an appetizer,” Amanda said. “This way, we’re encouraging people to stay local. Experience Chehalis has also been wonderful. They helped us apply for a grant to help get our website up. They have been such a huge support in helping get our name out to this area already.”

PNW Axe House currently has six throwing lanes.

For walk-ins, the cost is $30 per person per hour.

For those who make reservations online ahead of time, the cost is $25 per person per hour.

To book a reservation, visit the business’s website at

PNW Axe House will also be holding special events, such as the upcoming “Throw like a Girl” event during Gemini Events and Experience Chehalis’ Ladies Night event in downtown Chehalis Saturday, March 9.

To get updates on upcoming PNW Axe House events, follow the business on its Facebook page at

For more information about PNW Axe House, visit its website or email

Experience Chehalis is a local nonprofit seeking to cultivate relationships and celebrate the Chehalis community by holding events and carrying out projects to help beautify the city along with fostering economic development to create more job opportunities for local youth and increase tourism to fuel the local economy.

For more information, visit

Gemini Events is a local event planner and organizer in Chehalis.

To learn more, visit its Facebook page at