5 New Homes For Sale In The Walnut Creek Area

5 New Homes For Sale In The Walnut Creek Area

Looking for a new home, and want the latest scoop on what’s available near you? Perhaps you could use some help finding the perfect place for you and your loved ones? Not to fear! To keep you in the game, we here at Patch have compiled an up-to-date batch of five new listings nearby.

Here’s a list of the five newest homes to hit the housing market in the Walnut Creek area — including one with 2 beds and 2 baths for $649,900, and another with 6 beds and 4 baths for $1.5 million.

Like what you see? Just click on any address in the list to get additional pics and details. Happy house hunting!


Global Door & Window Hardware Market 2018: Growth, Latest Trend Analysis and Forecast 2025


The Global Door & Window Hardware Market Insights, Forecast to 2025 speaks about an entire item review and its degree in the market to determine key terms and give the customers an all-comprising thought of the market and its tendencies. The report analyzes key esteems and realities of the sales advertise regarding volume, deals and its development rate, profit and its development rate for several shareholders.

In 2017, the Door & Window Hardware market size was xx million USD, and it will be xx million USD in 2025, with a CAGR of xx% between 2018 and 2025.

The report showcases massive amount of information regarding definitions, classifications, comprehensive analysis, applications, and expert opinions as well as key factors that contributes in the market’s growth. The report also holds regions and country wise development status which includes market size, market share, volume and value.

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Geologically, this report is segmented into a few key regions, with creation, utilization, revenue, and piece of the pie and development rate of market in these regions, from 2018 to 2025 (forecast). The section includes: North America, United States, Canada, Mexico, Asia-Pacific, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Europe, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Russia, Rest of Europe, Central & South America, Brazil, Rest of South America, Middle East & Africa, GCC Countries, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, Rest of Middle East & Africa

Key Manufacturers of the Door & Window Hardware Market included in this report: Ashland Hardware System, Hangzhou Wintek Building, Caldwell Manufacturing Co., Roto Frank of America Inc., Radisson Industries, Vision Hardware, Andersen Windows, Kolbe Windows & DoorsDoor & Window Hardware

Evaluation of the manufacturing cost of products and the pricing structure followed by the market is mentioned in the report. In addition, the report studies company basic information, its competitors and market share for each manufacturer/player. Then it shades lights on product overview and its scope, market overview, challenges, opportunities, risk, and cost structure. Along with the manufacturing cost consumption, supply and demand, import and export are also discussed for the competitors.

On the basis on the end users/applications, this report focuses on the major applications/end users, sales volume, market share and growth rate for each application, covering Residential Building, Commercial Building

Scope of the Market Report is Explained:

  • To introduce an overview of the Door & Window Hardware industry including the market segments
  • To assess the market size and share with respect to value and volume
  • The report specifies manufacturing cost structure analysis with the information of raw material, suppliers, and downstream consumer information. Besides, manufacturing plants analysis, capacity, manufacturing plants distribution, R&D status, and company profiles are also featured.
  • Market forecasts from 2018 to 2025 including market volumes, value consumption is provided by regions, by types, and by applications.

The Door & Window Hardware market report is the credible source for obtaining the overall market research that will exponentially speed up your business or help you achieve sustainable growth in their respective market domain. The conclusion part of our report presents forecast, investment feasibility analysis, and investment return analysis. The key segments coupled with their market forecasts both in terms of revenue and volume have been added in the market research study.


GE Appliances’ $115M investment to add 255 full-time jobs

Story image for GE Appliances' $115M investment to add 255 full-time jobs from The Decatur Daily

GE Appliances plans to invest $115 million in an expansion of its refrigerator manufacturing plant in Decatur that will add 255 full-time jobs, with annual average wages of $30,600, not including benefits, the company said.

The investment will allow GE Appliances to increase the plant’s production capacity by 25 percent, said Greg Canfield, state Department of Commerce secretary. The announcement was made Friday morning at the company’s plant on Point Mallard Drive Southeast, in a cafeteria filled with cheering employees.

The plant is the “highest-volume GE Appliances refrigerator plant,” producing GE and Hotpoint brand products, he said

Plant manager Renee Story, who’s been with GE Appliances for 22 years, said the plant consistently produces more than 1 million top-mounted freezer refrigerators a year, and has weathered downturns in the economy since opening in 1977.

The investment provides greater flexibility at the plant to meet customer demands and “makes the plant’s future more secure,” she said. “We won’t take this investment lightly.”

GE Appliances became a Haier company two years ago.

According to a summary of Haier’s application for tax abatements, the annual average wage for the new jobs is $30,600 a year, not including benefits.

There are 993 full-time employees employed by Haier in Decatur, with an annual payroll of $58.5 million, not including benefits, according to the document. There are also about 320 contract labor personnel on site, with an annual payroll of $7.7 million, not including benefits.

“This industry is hyper competitive,” said Bill Good, vice president, supply chain network with GE Appliances, and a former Decatur plant manager. “To be successful, you have to be the best at what you do. That’s why we continue to invest.”

The company invested $120 million in the plant in 2012.

GE Appliances is the “fastest-growing appliance maker in the United States,” Good said before the announcement.

Canfield said the move is the company’s latest step to fulfill its strategic goal of becoming the leading appliance business in the country.

He said about 40,000 square feet will be added to the plant and cutting-edge equipment acquired to enable the plant to transition to “a fully interconnected digital factory.”

Construction of the project is expected to begin July 19 and be completed by April 1, 2020, according to the company.

GE Appliances’ Decatur plant is the largest industrial employer in Morgan County and conducts about $95 million in business with suppliers across Alabama, the company said. With the investment, over the next five years, the Decatur operation’s economic impact is expected to increase by an additional $2.2 billion, according to GE Appliances.

Before the announcement, Decatur’s Industrial Development Board approved the abatement of about $311,400 a year for a 10-year period in state, Morgan County and Decatur non-educational real and personal property taxes.

Of the taxes abated each year, there will be about $92,000 in city of Decatur general fund taxes abated, according to a summary of Haier’s application for tax abatements. Of the total tax abated each year, there will be about $165,600 in Morgan County general fund and road and bridge fund taxes abated, according to the document.

The project is expected to generate new state, county and city real and personal property school tax revenue of about $383,500 a year for the 10-year period. The Decatur school system will receive about $288,500 a year in education property tax revenue during the abatement period. Morgan County sales and use tax revenue generated only during the capital investment period is estimated at $590,000, which will benefit the Decatur, Hartselle and Morgan County school districts, according to the document.

The abated city of Decatur sales and use taxes requested only during the capital investment period are estimated at about $1.77 million, the document said. The estimated amount of city of Decatur sales and use taxes created only during the capital investment period are $590,100, which will benefit Decatur schools, according to the summary.

The abated state sales and use taxes requested only during the capital investment period are estimated at about $2.36 million, the document noted.


Traditional Retailers Focus On Customer Experience At The Expense Of Other Innovations

Almost every retailer out there will tell you they need to be more innovative, and that this is hard. Retail has long been an industry focused on buying low, selling high, and optimizing everything in between. Shifting to meet an expectation of providing content, services, experience, engagement and more – this is a big shift, and not easily accomplished. Some retailers – vertically integrated brands, or those with private label merchandise – might be good at productinnovation, but that is a far cry from processinnovation – and that is a large part of what retailers need right now, as they try to make the shift to be more relevant to consumers.

The thing about innovation, though, is that while it can sometimes have an aura unapproachability – only the coolest kids get to do it, it’s the rarified air of the most future-y of the futurists – the reality is, it’s a process, just like any other. It can be broken down into discrete steps, and those steps can be refined and optimized to produce a desired outcome.

Innovation – the act of creating new engines for business growth – has actually long been studied. Doblin, an innovation strategy consulting firm, identified ten distinct types of innovation in 1997. They broke the ten types up into three higher-level kinds of innovation: configuration, offering, and experience.

Retailers have been laser-focused on the latter, particularly the last identified type of innovation out of the ten: customer engagement. This is in direct response to shifting customer expectations, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, there are nine other innovation types out there, and with retailers so focused on just customer engagement, they are leaving a lot on the table. In fact, I would argue that the tenth innovation – this customer engagement – would be more powerful, and retailers would have more options to create innovation there, if they spent more time looking at the other nine first.

That’s not to say that retail has not been disrupted by companies making use of the other nine areas of innovation, but I think it is interesting to see just how many examples in the other nine come from upstarts, rather than from established retailers. Retailers like Walmart and Nordstrom are acquiring their way around this problem, by going out and buying some of these upstarts, but doing so can put a big strain on corporate culture and risk muddying the retailer’s brand in the process.

It’s like trying to transplant a tree: you can buy an older, bigger tree that is already well-established, but if you move it to a new location, the shock can often slow its growth and endanger its health in a way where, if you had just bought a younger tree and let it grow, it would end up bigger than the older tree after just a couple of years. When retailers acquire upstart brands or technologies, they’re often acquiring the same shock and risk as buying that larger tree – and might’ve gotten to implemented innovations faster by focusing on growing them more organically, than they will in trying to graft someone else’s innovation onto their enterprise.

Here are the nine other types of innovation traditional retailers are currently leaving on the table, or trying to buy:

  1. Profit Model – innovations around how the value to customers is ultimately collected. Think Rent the Runway, where consumers get access to luxury dresses and accessories in a rental model, rather than the outright selling of products, or Toms and Warby Parker, with their buy one, give one approach to the market.
  2. Network – innovations around how companies leverage other companies’ offerings to create their own unique ones. Think pretty much an Instagram brand, which reaches a highly targeted set of customers in a unique way, and pretty much operates a contract supply chain, rather than investing in the assets themselves. The product design might be owned by the company, but not the assets involved in making the products or getting them to consumers.
  3. Structure – innovations around how the company is structured. I haven’t really come across a lot of retailers innovating here. More often, I see retailers trying to protect their existing organizational structures from the disruption caused by innovation in other areas. You could probably look at Zappos as an early example of a retailer trying out organizational innovation, with things like paying new people to quit and rewarding customer service reps who went to heroic efforts to help customers on the phone. I’ve always thought of organization design as an outcome of the strategy – you should organize to support the execution of your strategy – so I have a hard time seeing how a retailer could stake an organizational claim to innovation without it actually being the outcome of a different type of innovation.
  4. Process – innovations around how a company does its work. I would look back to Instagram brands, or companies like Dollar Shave Club, who didn’t necessarily invent a new product or a product with breakthrough performance, but disrupted the shaving products industry by going to market completely differently, by eschewing traditional distribution or marketing.
  5. Product Performance – innovations that focus on new products that change the game, or on breakthroughs in product design for existing products. Honest Company is a good example here, not necessarily that the products were breakthroughs in design (many customers took issue with the efficacy of things like the company’s sun screen, for example), but were a breakthrough in terms of identifying strong preferences among consumers for more organic, more “natural” ingredients, and moving to meet those needs. A lot of product innovation these days seems to be coming from niche or boutique brands that have identified a gap in the market, and have organized to fill it.
  6. Product Systems – innovations in the complementary products and services that come with a product. Product system innovation is one place that is hitting the grocery industry hard, as meal boxes have combined with Millennials’ preferences for ease and convenience – and healthy ingredients – when it comes to eating. Big grocery chains have moved to take on boxed meal upstarts, either by offering their own subscriptions, or increasing their in-store focus on prepared meals and meals-to-go.
  7. Service – innovations in how you support your offerings. This is a place where retailers, seeking to enhance customer engagement, should also seriously consider. Some traditional retailers, like REI and Petsmart, have made big investments here, by supporting the whole of customer needs, rather than just focusing on products. Best Buy also put a stake in the ground here with their acquisition of Geek Squad.
  8. Channel – innovations in how products are delivered. Amazon is the original upstart here, and continues to disrupt the industry in how it connects consumers to products, with Alexa, Amazon Go, Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Flex… The list goes on and on. Innovations here have left traditional retailers reeling as they have tried to keep up.
  9. Brand – innovations in how you present your company to the market. Brandless is the quintessential example here, a company that literally goes to market with no branding, other than promising great products at great prices, with no marketing fluff to get in between.

The last innovation type is the one retailers have been so focused on: customer engagement: innovations in how you foster customer interactions. The challenge with focusing on this type of innovation as your primary one is that you’re only thinking about one aspect of customer expectations: how they engage with you as they buy products. This is still a product-centric way of thinking – that your goal as a retailer is to sell more stuff. The reality of the disruption in consumer expectations is that they no longer expect retailers to simply be a way of connecting consumers to goods – the buy low, sell high, and optimize everything in between way of thinking.

Consumers expect retailers to be partners in making their lives better, even when the interaction they’re looking for is low consideration for a low value purchase. Even in that case, consumers expect retailers to at least get out of their way and make the transaction as quick and painless as possible, which is why companies like Dollar Shave and Harry’s took such a bite out of a pretty long-established category.

Consumers also expect retailers to make the world a better place, which is why upstarts have been able to exploit innovations in profit model or product design to meet niches of consumer needs that established companies could’ve easily identified and did not.

The Bottom Line

Customer engagement is important – you’ll get no argument from me there. But it’s not the only thing. Brands like Glossier that approached the market through the Instagram network are able to create completely new forms of customer engagement not because they set out to design a new type of customer engagement, but because it was a natural outcome of how they approached the market.

Retailers who are struggling to be more innovative should look beyond just innovations in customer engagement. They may find their wider exploration of innovation ultimately leads to new ways of engaging with customers, anyway.\


Smart Home Security Camera Sends Footage to Wrong Person, Is Maybe Not So Smart After All

Internet-connected devices are known for having their fair share of security issues—especially when it comes to cameras. But here’s a new one: the BBC reported this week that a smart home security camera started sending video clips to the wrong person.

The BBC first caught wind of the problem shortly after one of its employees purchased an internet-enabled camera made by Swann Communications and started receiving video footage that showed the inside of someone else’s home. The company claims the problem is a one-off occurrence but there’s been at least one other instance of the issue reported.

The BBC staffer, Louisa Lewis, reportedly first purchased her security camera in December and didn’t have any issues with it until last week, when she started getting notifications from the device. The Swann camera typically alerts the user when it detects movement, so Lewis checked to see what was going on. What she saw, per the BBC, was a stranger’s kitchen:

“I was out and I had a couple of alerts,” she recalled.

“Naturally, I looked at my phone only to see the video was not of my home.

“At first I ignored it – I thought it must be an error – then I had several other alerts, at which point I thought I had better get in touch with Swann.”

The short video clips, which downloaded directly to her phone, offered a surprisingly intimate albeit brief glimpse into someone else’s life. In one shot, it showed a man and a woman walking past the camera. In the other, a child’s voice was audible in the background.

When Lewis contacted Swann about the issue during the weekend, she was told nothing could be done about the issue until Monday. Once it was finally addressed by the company’s staff, Lewis stopped receiving clips from the unrelated camera.

Why exactly did the mix up happen? A spokesperson for Swann told the BBCthe issue was the result of a human error. All cameras are given a security key which allows the device to securely transmit footage from the camera to a Swann server and be retrieved on a smartphone or other device. In this case, two cameras were given the same security key, which resulted in the footage being sent to Lewis.

Swann also blamed the family, noting that they ignored a warning prompt that informed them the camera was already paired to another account. But at the end of the day, the issue stemmed from Swann producing duplicate keys—not the family failing to understand the company’s mistake.

The spokesperson for the company said “no further data was breached or accessed by additional third parties,” and said it was a “one-off” occurrence, but that may not be the case. There has been at least one other reported incident of a person receiving footage from a Swann camera that doesn’t belong to them.

On Twitter, a user going by The Obscure Brewer and identified by the BBC as Tim Lane reported receiving footage from a pub. Swann said it was investigating the situation but claimed that the issue was likely the result of both the pub and Lane registering their products with the same username and password.

That explanation seems…suspicious, at best. You shouldn’t be able to register a device with a username that is already in use, for one. And, even if that is possible, what are the odds that a person selects the exact same login information as someone else? That just doesn’t seem to check out.

One way or another, it seems like Swann has some security issues it needs to sort out. Though given there are tens of thousands of unsecured, internet-connected cameras that you can tap into at any time, the company isn’t alone.


Modern Messages From Traditional Festival

A journalist friend from Shillong called me on the morning of July 3, which was the last day of Behdieñkhlam and said that he expected that the dominating theme of the Rots or the Rongs during this year’s festival will be around the World Cup 2018. In a way he is right because every four years when the celebration of the Behdieñkhlam festival coincides with the football World Cup the popular stories and players during the World Cup competition figure prominently in the Rots prepared by the different communities celebrating the festival in Jowai. But this year it was different.

The penultimate part of the Behdieñkhlam on the fourth and the last day of the festival culminates at the sacred Aitnar pond. It is the time when different communities bring their Rots for display to a large spectator coming from far and near. Traditionally Rongs were made just to add colour to the festival but of late the communities that make these Rots also make sure they have messages which are relevant to contemporary society.

The Rot, rath or rong is an item which was incorporated into the festival not so long ago and it is an idea which is borrowed from our neighbours in the plains, which is now Bangladesh. This information was revealed to me by Woh Chaimon Pyrbot an elder of the town when I interviewed him about a decade or so ago. The prayers and rituals which were part of the Behdieñkhlam were quite dull and colourless and it is the Rots which add colour to the festival to give it a more vibrant look. This also demonstrates how open Niamtre is to ideas even if they come from outside the tradition as long as it adds colour and festivity to the festival.

In Jowai, traditionally Rots are made in a spire shaped square with wooden planks and coloured papers only but as time passed the shape and sizes of the Rots also changed. At the top of every typical Rong are a bunch of flowers again made of coloured paper and one can still see quite a few of these typical Rots on displayed at Aitnar Jowai in the last Behdieñkhlam. 

Not only were the Rots made to add colour to the festival but in the very recent past certain communities also made Theng-theng effigies of male and female human figures. The Theng-thengs are effigies with the upper half bearing a human body made of sliced bamboo and cloth. The Theng-thengs are similar to the effigy of Ravana which is burnt with fireworks during the Dusshera festival of the Hindus. Although the Theng-theng has no religious significance but it has become part of the Behdieñkhlam. But this year the spectators missed this small part of the festival because none of the community made any Theng-theng to add colour to the celebration.  

Behdieñkhlam had an unpleasant history during the fag end of the British raj when the powers that be then; for reasons best known to them, prohibited the community from celebrating the festival for about a decade or so. It was only when the country attained its independence and the Sein Raij Jowai (SRJ) was formed that the festival of Behdieñkhlam was again revived. And since then, under the stewardship of the SRJ, the communities have never turned back and continued celebrating the Behdieñkhlam and also improvised the manner in which the festival is presented to the audience.

 For a person who regularly attends the celebration and one who also observes it from a very close quarters, the festival always has an element of surprise every year. This in itself demonstrates that Behdieñkhlam not only evolves with time but as time passes the spectators are even provided with messages which are relevant to the society today.

Although it was not intentional but the messages are rather like a sermon in a typical Christian hymn and worship service which tries to bring out to the open, the issues which are of a great concern to the society. After all the rituals, the drum beats and the sound of the flute unlike in a church service or a Namaz of the Muslim, the messages are painted or cut out of colour papers on the Rongs brought by the communities. In a way Rots also reflect the concerns of the community on the social issues or evils that plagues the society and true to the spirit of Behdieñkhlam the effort is to rid the community of these evils. 

To my journalist friend’s dismay; World Cup Football 2018 in Russia was not a popular theme amongst the Rot makers this year. In fact it was something more profound which caught the attention of the public. Three messages come out prominently in the Rong presented by the communities at Aitnar this year; the influence or rather the power of technology over human life, the evils of human greed when it exceeds their need and which is the root cause of every evil and there was one depicting how the silence of the majority helps aggravates the problems at hand.    

The prominent message which has caught the attention of most of the spectators is the domination of technology in the life of the people which is also a current theme we are all grappling with today. The evil unleashed by the army of trolls and the spread of fake news through social media which has taken away many precious  lives is a cause of concern for everybody and the simple Rong made by the people of the Loomkyrwiang community aptly depicted this dilemma that we are facing today. Technology is a good servant but a bad master say’s the inscription on the Rot and on the top was a figure of a man chained to smart phones, ipads, tablets and what have you.

There was also a Rot emblazoned with the famous saying of Gandhi on greed. There is a figure of two farmers, one is trying to pluck oranges and is using a ladder to climb the tree while the other already has a khoh (a cone-shaped basket that farmers use to carry their produces) full or oranges and he is trying to cut the ladder and the tree with a saw. The message is clear; there is enough for everybody’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.

Last but not least is a saying by the former Member of Parliament in England, Edmund Burke, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men do nothing,’ which was prominently inscribed in one of the Rots. In a world where stories about evil men and anti-social elements are dominating every available media platform, the message or rather the question from this particular Rong is whether we can continue to remain mere spectators to the unpleasant things that are  happening around us.

There were altogether twelve Rots presented by as many communities at the Aitnar pond but every Rong had its unique message. The Rong prepared by Iawmusiang locality is on the evils caused by drugs and alcohol abuse issue which is afflicting the society today. By depicting their respective messages, the Rots in their own way have brought to light the social evils plaguing the society today. The objective was to provoke and make people think on these very important issues.

Therefore the closing day of the annual Behdieñkhlam is not only meant to be a feast for the eyes for the spectators or simply to witness colour and joy in action (ka rong ka tamasa) but it is also a  feast for the soul. True to the meaning of the festival which is to rid off evil, the messages on the Rots are a clarion call to everybody of the need to fight against the evils prevailing in society.


Hot rooms without air conditioning stop your brain working properly, study finds

Harvard study calls for sustainable air conditioning to help students

As many schoolchildren, students and office workers suffering in the hot weather will testify, heatwaves really do fry your brain, a study has confirmed.

Harvard University scientists tracked students through a hot spell and examined the performance of individuals living in air-conditioned dormitories compared to those sweltering away in hot rooms.

They found participants from hotter buildings performed worse in problem solving and memory tests compared to those with air conditioning.

Data from this study and other experiments suggests humans work best at an optimum temperature, and the researchers recommended the roll-out of sustainable air conditioning systems wherever possible.

“This applies to kids in schools, office workers – and often we find that temperature levels are too hot because there is no air conditioning,” Dr Jose Guillermo Cedeno-Laurent, who led the study, told The Independent.

Previous work examining the effect of heatwaves on health and mental abilities has been restricted to the more vulnerable people in society, like the elderly and young children.

This has created the false impression that the average person is not at risk from heatwaves.

Given that higher temperatures are becoming the new normal as a result of climate change, this is a misconception Dr Cedeno-Laurent wants to dispel.

Students were monitored over the course of a particularly hot Boston summer in 2016 and were tested on their response times and mental arithmetic shortly after waking up.

During the heatwave, students in buildings without air conditioning performed on average 13 per cent worse at these tests than those in cooler rooms.

“The brain is the centre of control for every process in our life,” said Dr Cedeno-Laurent.

He explained that the integration of all the brain’s many functions appears to be negatively affected by hyperthermia – or high temperatures – resulting in poorer test scores.

Dr Cedeno-Laurent said this study – published in the journal PLOS Medicine – offered a real-life example of heatwaves hindering the abilities of otherwise healthy young adults.

However, while the findings are supported by experimental data, the fact that only 44 students participated means more work is required to assess how heat affects the brain.

“The number of participants is not very high, but a strength of the study is that the same participants were followed over time in different temperatures,” said Dr Iroise Dumontheil, a cognitive neuroscientist at Birkbeck, University of London, who was not involved in the study.

In addition, she added that more work is required to assess what other factors could impact mental performance besides the heat.

Professor Max Headley, a physiologist at the University of Bristol, said given the known impact of tiredness and thirst – both of which are obviously affected by hot, sweaty nights – on mental performance, the study has made “a mountain out of a molehill”.

“To my mind the observations can be readily explained by simple physiological factors that are entirely predictable. I can’t see that it’s anything to get excited about,” he said.

Nevertheless, Dr Cedeno-Laurent wants his research to inform a growing trend for advanced air conditioning that is both environmentally friendly and accessible to people in hotter parts of the world.

As it stands, air conditioning systems can create a “positive feedback” loop where emissions from the fossil fuels powering them and refrigerants seeping from them can both exacerbate global warming.

“We want to promote the control of temperatures while looking at how we do this in a sustainable way,” said Dr Cedeno-Laurent.


Apex Escape Rooms – Vankleek Hill’s new, immersive puzzle solving adventure

There is no escape.

Well, that’s not technically true. There is an escape… But you have to find it; to figure it out.

That’s the name of the game. The escape room game.

Even though still considered a niche activity, escape rooms have been rapidly gaining popularity around the world.

The idea is simple. A group of people is locked within a themed room after being put in context through a backstory.

Soon, the group will uncover the room’s secrets through engaging puzzles and, if crafty enough, will solve the riddle that allows everyone to escape (usually within an hour). It’s the kind of thing one sees in movies and video games.

Apex Escape Rooms

Vankleek Hill’s newest attraction, Apex Escape Rooms, was an idea brewing at the back of founder/owner Megan Dewar’s mind for a few years now.

Finally, a few months ago, an opportunity presented itself and Dewar didn’t hesitate.

“I’ve always loved puzzles. It’s a big thing in my family. It’s something we’ve always done and still do. When we found out about this type of activity, it’s something we started doing as a family,” sais Dewar.

Dewar is quite the escape room veteran, having tried out escape rooms all over North America. Now, Apex will represent what she loves most about the activity.

“Our values are camaraderie and fun. We’re all about igniting curiosity.

Designing the game

“One of my most memorable escape rooms was in Cavendish, on Prince Edward Island. I think it was called London Tower Heist. The puzzles were really neat and interactive. You could tell that the people that put it together put a lot of care in it. It was the first one that felt so real,” remembered Dewar.

After the experience, Dewar spoke with the owner and learned that she, along with her daughter, were the ones who designed the game.

“It was really inspiring for me. I thought: ‘I could do something like this with my daughter!’”

Dewar does design her own escape rooms. For her, the process starts with the backstory; the context.

“I start with the story, the theme and the objective. Then, I figure out some key elements within the theme. For example, one of our rooms is called ‘The Enchantress’ and takes place in a castle, so it needs a potion cabinet. Once I have all the major pieces, I start working on the puzzle algorithm.”

When designing a game, one needs to prepare a map detailing potential routes from start to finish. No matter the game, this type of flowchart is crucial and allows the game designer to globally view, on paper, all of the potential outcomes whether good or bad. This can be called puzzle algorithm.

According to Dewar, it takes months to complete a room from the original creative spark to trying out the game, props and all.

When Apex Escape Rooms officially opens on July 14, 2018, two custom-built escape rooms will be available: Bunker and The Enchantress.

Escape on the go

One of Apex Escape Rooms’ unique attractions is undoubtedly its mobile escape room.

Built within a custom-made trailer, this upcoming mobile puzzle will be touring various events in the area starting in August and will feature modular, customizable puzzles adapted to the setting where it will be parked.

“Our first event is Ribfest in Cornwall. We’ll have an exhibit there for the whole event and we’ll be setting up 15-to-20-minute games.” That event takes place from July 26 to 29.

Dewar already has other bookings for her mobile escape room: August will see them at The Capital Fair in Ottawa, September in Ottawa for Geek Market and in October at the National Women’s Show in Ottawa.

For more information

Want to stay in the loop? The best way is to follow Apex Escape Room’s Facebook page (@apexescaperooms). You can also give them a call (613 678-5888) or visit their website, apexescaperooms.com.

If you’re in the Vankleek Hill area, Apex is quite easy to find, with a nice cozy spot at 54 Main Street.

Opening day is July 14, 2018. The business’ doors will be open to the public during Vankleek Hill Porchfest, welcoming the curious who wish to know more.

While you are here, we have a small ask.

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