EDWARDSVILLE - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville alumni Jessica Napier and Libby Sykes are providing the local area with a live version of the board game “Clue” with their Murder Mystery Dinner events. Their next event is Saturday, Oct. 21, “Horrors in Hawkins: A Murder Mystery Inspired by Stranger Things” from 6-10 p.m. at the Wildey Theater in Edwardsville.
The dinners involve murder, mystery and a fun way to work together. Guests can use their skills and ingenuity to piece together clues and solve the crime. It is an entertaining evening where the interactions between strangers and friends amuse for hours.
Themes can range from anything like Star Wars or Stranger Things to The Office and beyond. In addition to acting as a detective, participants are able to interpret codes, complete team challenges and secret missions, and other suspenseful tasks throughout the murder mystery.
“We are offering something no one else is,” Napier said. “Our murder mysteries are uniquely interactive experiences that make participants want to keep coming back for more.”
Napier and Sykes created Sly Hedgehog Productions in April 2017. They had their first event in early September, which sold out and received rave reviews. Sly Hedgehog’s new focus is to get more of the local community involved in solving murder mysteries.
The Illinois Small Business Development Center for the Metro East, at the direction of Director Jo Ann Di Maggio May, met with Napier and Sykes to provide expert business services such as marketing and venue recommendations. Di Maggio May also suggested networking with Chambers of Commerce, local newspapers and other groups to expose their business. The SBDC’s goal is to provide comprehensive and continuous support for entrepreneurs and small business owners at all stages of their business lifecycle.
“Jessica and Libby are extremely driven and motivated,” Di Maggio May stated. “Their passion and enthusiasm shines through their business. I look forward to Sly Hedgehog’s success and working with them further.”
One of the biggest opportunities for Sly Hedgehog Productions is to grow in corporate team building events and private parties. For company team building, solving murder mysteries is a great way to build morale. It develops camaraderie among employees, as well as fosters collaboration through successes and hardships.
For private parties, the client decides on the location and the theme, and Sly Hedgehog provides a custom Murder Mystery. There are also events open to the public where complete strangers can learn to network, break out of their shell and work together for a mutual goal.
The Illinois Metro East SBDC assists start-up ventures like Sly Hedgehog Productions as well as existing businesses headquartered in the nine-county region of Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe and Randolph. It is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and SIUE as a service to Illinois small businesses.
By aiding entrepreneurs and companies in defining their path to success, the SBDC network positively impacts the Metro East by strengthening the business community, creating and retaining new jobs and encouraging new investment. It enhances the region’s economic interests by providing one-stop assistance to individuals by means of counseling, training, research and advocacy for new ventures and existing small businesses. When appropriate, the SBDC strives to affiliate its ties to the region to support the goals and objectives of both the SIUE School of Business and the University at large.