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Let your aggression out at Wauwatosa’s Smash Zone

A customer smashes a vase at Smash Zone in Wauwatosa. Photo by Omar Waheed.

From football players to lawyers, nurses and dog walkers, everybody gets some pent-up aggression once in a while. Smash Zone offers an opportunity to air out your feelings through sheer destruction.

Located in Wauwatosa, Smash Zone was founded in 2019 after its owner needed an outlet for the grief that followed the death of her daughter Victoria Lopez in 2010. Glenda Granados found the experience of smashing stuff in her basement actually helped release that grief. She thought it could be a way for others to let out their pent-up emotions too.

“Basically, it was started to honor my daughter and provide a safe place for people to come in and release grief and anger — just any kind of emotion but in a safe place,” Glenda said. “My husband and I, every day we run Smash in honor of people going through hard stuff whether it be cancer or grief. It’s important for the community to have a place to go release those.”

Glenda was retiring as an advertising exec when the idea of starting Smash Zone came to mind. She saw a Super Bowl commercial for a company that offered a similar service as Smash Zone but only saw one other in the Milwaukee area. 

Glenda runs the business with her husband Scott, who is a cancer survivor in his fifth year of remission. A large emphasis on the business is grounded in honoring those who are experiencing the fallout of cancer. On the wall in the reception area, a large portrait of Victoria is illuminated and framed where you can see the mission behind Smash Zone come to life.

Glenda and Scott Granados, with a portrait of daughter Victoria.

The space is in the old Play It Again Sports building’s basement. The business started with one room, but popularity of what Smash Zone offers led Glenda and Scott to expand the area to multiple rooms with the original room as storage for items to break.

Smash Zone currently offers four packages at different price tiers that expands the number of items you are given to destroy. The most popular package by far is the Rage Room at $125. You can go it alone, with friends, coworkers or family, but the focus is on healing. Options of items included range from computer monitors, dishes, vases and many more options that can be selected.

“Some people may come in and they start out more laissez-faire or just in a plain old mood or maybe they’re even angry,” Glenda said. “They get geared up, they come in and start to get that adrenaline going and once their adrenaline starts going and they start smashing stuff… when they’re done, they look like a whole new person. It’s very cathartic for them.”

Glenda and Scott notice that when customers get in the swing of things, the mood of everything changes. Customers’ nervousness slips away and the worry about letting loose goes away with it. The experience is meant to be a holistic journey in healing so after they finish smashing, customers have an opportunity to write on the wall to express themselves.

Safety is a concern for Smash Zone, so the rules are strict. Safety equipment — a face mask, safety jackets, gloves and a hardhat — are required along with staying out of a specific area while someone is breaking something. Those sharing a room are told to stay behind the current smasher until they are clear to set up for the next round.

With Smash Zone’s success, Glenda and Scott are eyeing a second location in Madison soon. The duo recognizes that there are few services like theirs in Wisconsin and none at all in Madison. 

Details on booking a time at Smash Zone can be found on its website. Smash Zone is located at 10111 West Capitol Drive in Wauwatosa. Monday through Wednesday it hosts only corporate events. Thursday through Saturday Smash Zone is open to customers 11:00 am to 9:00 pm..