Small Business Spotlight: Triangle Treasure Hunt

Complete with a map, hidden clues and a treasure chest, Triangle Treasure Hunt offers participants the perfect opportunity to channel their inner child. Co-creators Ben and Whitney Strunk started the business after returning home from a romantic trip in Florence, Italy.

“Our first treasure hunt was part of an Airbnb experience. We were going through the winding streets of Italy, and neither one of us spoke Italian,” said Strunk. “We struggled a lot, but we actually got engaged at the end of the hunt, so it has some special meaning for us.”

“After coming back from our trip, we looked for a similar experience here in North Carolina and couldn’t really find anything that was quite the same. We decided to make our own, and we’ve been running Triangle Treasure Hunt since 2018.”

Similar to an outdoor escape room, Triangle Treasure Hunt asks participants to find a treasure chest by cracking codes, solving puzzles and combing local areas for clues. There are locations in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex and Fuquay-Varina.

Participant Ashley Hunter joined a treasure hunt in downtown Raleigh with her parents and two kids in tow.

“When we saw it, it was right up our alley as we love doing escape rooms and this seemed similar. We had an absolute blast,” said Hunter.

“If you like ‘The Amazing Race’ TV show and imagine participating in it one day, this is a great warm-up.”

Strunk recently talked more about their adventure-based business and what kind of experience they hope to give potential treasure hunters.

How does Triangle Treasure Hunt work?

We have 60-90 minutes of walking team scavenger hunts. There are a number of different locations, but for all of the hunts you get a treasure map that will lead you around the surrounding area looking for clues.

There are some additional puzzles that you have to solve with the ultimate goal of opening the treasure chest. The first team to open it wins the grand prize, but there’s a prize in there for everyone who finishes.

We also have public and private hunts. The public ones are listed on our website so anyone can sign up, but we have private ones for companies, team-building groups, birthdays, etc.

Why did you want to work for yourself?

I have always been entrepreneurial-minded and wanted the freedom to create an idea, build it and see it to fruition. It was also just a cool project for both of us to work on together, given how our relationship started. It’s been a lot of fun. Both of us have different strengths that we use together to see this through. It’s also fun on a creative side, coming up with different puzzles and clues and exploring a lot of the areas around the Triangle. We find things that we would never notice if we weren’t turning it into a treasure hunt.

What has been the best aspect of owning a business?

It’s great seeing people enjoy an activity that we’ve created. We’ve had groups from Raleigh, Canada, and from other states, so it’s fun to watch them explore some of the local areas that we love.

How did the pandemic affect the business?

We had to completely shut down due to regulations and cancel all the hunts that we had scheduled in the spring of 2020. We were shut down for about a year. We’re a young business — we started in 2018 and took a break, so we really haven’t been operating that long. 2021 has been our best in terms of the number of hunts and participants.

What kind of experience are you hoping to give participants?

Our experience is tailored to exploration, so we use the hashtag #exploretogether pretty often. It is a team-based activity, so we’re hoping that people can strengthen their relationships with their friend groups or team-building groups when they’re out exploring an area. We want it to be challenging, we want it to be fun, and we really want them to enjoy their experience as a group.

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