Cracked It! Escape Games brings a different kind of adrenaline rush to Jacksonville - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

Cracked It! Escape Games brings a different kind of adrenaline rush to Jacksonville

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Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2016 12:00 am

Located nearly less than 10 minutes away from the Piney Green gate is Cracked It! Escape Games, a Veteran, family-owned business that brings a new type of adrenaline rush into a puzzle-rich venue.

Brian Vinciguerra, served in the Marine Corps for more than two decades and retired as a gunnery sergeant in 2008, his wife Margaret, is also a veteran and served with the Marine Corps for seven years. Brian and Margaret met when they were both young Marines and have been Jacksonville residents for nearly three decades. Their children were born and raised here, which is why their deep roots to Jacksonville fueled their desire to bring something fun and unique to the area.

"When we did our first escape room last year we were so enthralled with the idea and the sheer amount of excitement that we experienced that we wanted to share that feeling with others," said Brian Vinciguerra.

With growing popularity escape rooms are becoming a top-rated attraction. Players are locked inside a themed room and are given an hour to break free. The goal is for everyone to work as a team using deductive reasoning skills to solve a series of clues and navigate their way through riddles and puzzles in unraveling a mystery.

The 21-year veteran, attributes their success to a clear vision, believing in themselves and listening to advice from others.

"Our family took an idea from inception to realization in a very short time. Reaching out to the many resources that are available for veterans to start a business," said Vinciguerra. "The Small Business Center at Coastal Carolina Community College has been instrumental to helping us open. Their programs are incredibly helpful to learn how to start, grow and become successful in business. I highly recommend the Boots to Business program for any military member or veteran who is looking to start their own business."

Vinciguerra shares that his inspiration is fueled by the challenges he and his family face together and how they cooperate to overcome them.

"We, collectively, develop our ideas, designs, and puzzles and then bring them to life and unleash them on the world. I am inspired by my daughters who are learning the ins and outs of starting a business from the ground up and watching how we are becoming successful," said Vinciguerra. "I am inspired by the community that I see reach out to us and accept us as a business, and we are inspired by every guest that makes a conscious choice to spend their hard earned dollars with us."

Thanks to that inspiration, Cracked it! Escape Games offers a unique form of entertainment by stimulating the mind and providing participants with a family-friendly activity. Vinciguerra points out that everything participants need is inside the room. Additionally, each room is monitored closely at all times in the event anyone needs to leave. Each room features theater-style lighting and décor and its masterfully crafted with hidden compartments.

One of the challenges the Vinciguerras were faced with starting their business was balancing a regular job with the demands of owning their business.

"Balancing a professional job and the day-to-day operations of a business is incredibly difficult. One of the biggest challenges, was deciding when to make the jump from working for someone else to working for myself," said Vinciguerra. "As a business owner all the bucks literally stop with you. Fortunately I have a great family and we run this business together, each of us bringing our talents to the forefront."

The Vinciguerras decided to stay in the area for all the great things it has to offer, and after retirement, uprooting his entire family was not a choice he was willing to make. He shared his love for the area and the belief that Onslow County is a great place to raise a family. He said that while on its surface it doesn’t appear like there is much to do in the area, when people do some research and reach out to local organizations to get involved, this area has much to offer.

"It is not overly expensive to live here, it is conveniently located to everywhere on the East Coast that I would want to go," said Vinciguerra. "I was able to quickly land a job after retirement and my wife was working as a DOD employee."

According to the Methuen, Massachusetts native, one of the pillars of their business is investment in the community.

"Since we opened we have dedicated our Mondays and Thursdays as our #GiveBack initiative days. We offer a 15 percent discount to our patrons and we take 10 percent of our proceeds and donate them to area charities," said Vinciguerra. "Since February we have given back to the Onslow County Soup Kitchen, The American Red Cross, The Semper Fi Fund, Carobell Inc, the Onslow County Animal Shelter and the Onslow County Public Library."

Vinciguerra prides himself in making Cracked it! Escape Games accessible to everyone. Their facility can accommodate people with mobility disabilities and physical limitations. Each public space has been modified to be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, including widening all of their doors and retrofitting the bathrooms with wheelchair access and grab bars.

"As a wounded warrior I felt that it is a core value of our business to ensure that everyone is able to participate," said Vinciguerra. "We truly focus on the customer experience and want to ensure that we live up to our mission statement of ‘we put fun first!’"

So if you are a thrill-seeker looking for a new adventure Cracked It! Escape Games provides that intellectual stimulation during a mind-bending, adrenaline-jolting 60 minutes of reality escape.

Are your skills up to the test? For more information about Cracked it! Escape Games or to book online, visit

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