Blowing off steam by breaking things is all the rage at new north Wichita business

·3 min read
Emily Christensen/Eagle correspondent

On a Monday afternoon in north Wichita, two women scream as they smash a cartload of breakables into smithereens. The noise is punctuated by an intense soundtrack that begins with Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

They’re customers of ICT Rage Room, a new Wichita business that wants to leverage the collective anger and stress of an entire community.

“After COVID, we’re all frustrated and fried. I figured we could use a release,” said Tyler Koch.

Koch and partner Jayden Martinez opened the doors to ICT Rage Room in April. Four days a week, they serve customers looking to blow off steam.

Hundreds of similar businesses have popped up across the U.S. in recent years, but ICT Rage Room is the first of its kind in Wichita. It’s open to customers 10 and older, and Koch says almost two-thirds of their clientele are women.

“I told them that screaming is required,” Martinez said, as their afternoon customers let loose. It makes holding a conversation a challenge.

Koch spent about a year planning the business, but it didn’t come together until he found a location: a 14,000-square-foot warehouse on North Arkansas, across the street from Bill’s Charcoal Grill.

Martinez began to help with the business this spring, and the two men formed a partnership.

They created three three-sided rooms on the north side of the warehouse — two for smashing and one for painting. The south side is piled high with intact glass, electronics, furniture, and fixtures waiting to be destroyed.

They acquire most of their “breakables” through donations, which they will pick up at no charge.

Once a week, a junk service picks up the detritus, sorts out the metal for recycling, and drops everything else at the dump.

Koch says they are always looking to connect with apartment managers, owners of storage units, and anyone else who might wind up with a bunch of junk they want hauled off.

The center of the vast warehouse is filled with game tables, couches, a basketball hoop, and a giant target painted onto an old mattress. It looks a bit like a fraternity rec room on steroids.

Customers are required to wear close-toed shoes, and ICT Rage Room provides the rest of the safety equipment, which includes coveralls, goggles, face shields, and gloves. Each participant must agree to a code of conduct before choosing one of the “weapons,” which include baseball bats, golf clubs, lead pipes, and sledgehammers.

Prices start at $15, but most people spent around $25 for about an hour of raging. Customers can order off an a la carte menu that includes the opportunity to give a car a whack at a dollar a swing.

Often, customers will order more breakables once they’ve reached the limit of what they originally paid for. It turns out that smashing things can be addictive, Koch says.

But he also thinks raging can have real therapeutic value.

“Something we advocate for is mental health,” Koch said. “We want to be an outlet, a place where people can go to take care of themselves.”

The soundtrack shifts to more mellow, instrumental tunes. The customers are finished raging and are relaxing on one of the couches, talking and laughing.

“We like to encourage people to stay, hang out and have a good time,” Koch said.

“If you curate the right vibe, people will come back.”

If You Go

ICT Rage Room, 2952 N. Arkansas

Hours:

  • 5-9 p.m. Friday

  • 12-9 p.m. Saturday

  • 12-8 p.m. Sunday

  • 12-9 p.m. Monday

Cost: Prices start at $15 per person, and the total cost depends on the amount and size of the breakables you want to smash. Make a reservation by calling or texting 316-469-6342.