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Not-for-profit small town climbing gym


Original Post
Oreamnos · · Owen Sound, ON · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 0

Does anyone have any experience starting a "private" or "member-owned" or "co-op" climbing gym?

I live in a small town (about 20K people). Opening a climbing gym as a business doesn't make sense as it wouldn't be profitable enough to pay employees and cover the other costs of operating a business like marketing, payroll, etc...

It's also an old town and there aren't many garages or dry basements so a home gym isn't possible for most of us.

There is a small group of climbers here and I think if we pooled our resources we could open something private and member-owned.

Has anyone seen this type of model in the past?

What was the "business" structure? Was it member-owned or some type of co-op or was it structured some other way?

Was it sustainable or did the cost of a lease + insurance + bills become too expensive?

We're currently just at the research stage so any input would be awesome!

Thanks!
Eric

JohnnyG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 10

There is something kind of like this in Juneau AK. The local for-profit gym was closing, so a few of the local climbers with other jobs bought the place so they would have a place to climb. My understanding is that they are not really out to make a money, just have a place to climb.
 

Slim Vincent · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

No idea but the Squamish Bouldering Co-Op seems to be what you'd model it after.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,455
Oreamnos wrote: Does anyone have any experience starting a "private" or "member-owned" or "co-op" climbing gym?

I live in a small town (about 20K people). Opening a climbing gym as a business doesn't make sense as it wouldn't be profitable enough to pay employees and cover the other costs of operating a business like marketing, payroll, etc...

It's also an old town and there aren't many garages or dry basements so a home gym isn't possible for most of us.

There is a small group of climbers here and I think if we pooled our resources we could open something private and member-owned.

Has anyone seen this type of model in the past?

What was the "business" structure? Was it member-owned or some type of co-op or was it structured some other way?

Was it sustainable or did the cost of a lease + insurance + bills become too expensive?

We're currently just at the research stage so any input would be awesome!

Thanks!
Eric

Have you ever tried to herd cats?

Your town is too small to support even a tiny Co-op. I think what you should do is simply create a home wall for anyone to use perhaps with a small mandatory donation for upkeep.

However for a model check out the Minnesota climbers Co-op
John McNamee · · Littleton, CO · Joined Jul 2002 · Points: 1,690
Oreamnos · · Owen Sound, ON · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 0

Awesome! Thanks everyone for the names and links of other places already doing this. I'm glad to see it's actually a viable model! :)

Idaho Bob · · McCall, ID · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 450

The Cube Climbing Center, Nelson BC.  Developed after the local gym lost its space.  The Cube rents space at Selkirk College.  Their address is620 Tenth St. and you can find them on the web.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

The original successful co-op was SLO-OP in San Luis Obispo, which ultimately went private late last year and now has two locations and a full size facility. Originally it was in a storage shed in town- totally home grown and alot of the gyms mentioned used them as a model.

The owners of what is now The Pad (renamed when it went private) have always been pretty great about helping those wanting to do what they did with information and such. Probably worth reaching out to them.

s.price · · the deck of Rover or Pagosa… · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 1,346

One just opened in Pagosa Springs. Our entire county is only 14,000. Time will tell if it is successful. Pagosa Climbing Initiative. We call it PBR for Pagosa bouldering room. You can check it out on Facebook. Started by a county commissioner.

Oreamnos · · Owen Sound, ON · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 0

These are great examples! Thanks for everyone's input!

Ross Goldberg · · San Luis Obispo · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0
John Wilder wrote: The original successful co-op was SLO-OP in San Luis Obispo, which ultimately went private late last year and now has two locations and a full size facility. Originally it was in a storage shed in town- totally home grown and alot of the gyms mentioned used them as a model.

The owners of what is now The Pad (renamed when it went private) have always been pretty great about helping those wanting to do what they did with information and such. Probably worth reaching out to them.

+1 on talking to them. Loved climbing at the last warehouse before they went private. Great facility with great volunteers and route setting.


The new facility is nice but just doesn’t have the same feel to it.
NRobl · · Hyrum, UT · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 1
Dylan Stuart · · Juneau, AK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 15
JohnnyG wrote: There is something kind of like this in Juneau AK. The local for-profit gym was closing, so a few of the local climbers with other jobs bought the place so they would have a place to climb. My understanding is that they are not really out to make a money, just have a place to climb.
 

Woah. People know about us.


http://www.rockdump.com/
David Taft · · mostly Colorado · Joined May 2011 · Points: 5

Very interested to see what kind of info comes of this, we’ve been talking about doing the same in Moab for the last couple years.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

General Climbing
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