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New climbing gym in SLC?
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By Tim Golden
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 26, 2012
Top roping Bad Case of Gingervitus

I was wondering if I could get some input from Salt Lake area climbers. Now that winter has me stuck climbing in the gym again, I have been throwing around the idea with some friends of opening a new climbing gym in SLC. I know that there are already three gyms in the area, but I'm wondering if there is a market for a nice big gym with lead, top rope, and bouldering in downtown or very close to downtown since currently that does not exist.

Rockreation is fun, but way too small, The Front is limited to just bouldering, and Momentum is about a 25 minute (or more with traffic) drive from downtown. I think it would be great to have something around the size of Momentum (or bigger even!) close to downtown for all of us Salt Lake climbers. It would be nice to have it Trax accessible for students at the U as well.

So what do all you Salt Lake climbers think? Would you climb at a place like this? Do you think the market could support another gym in the area? Any locations or existing structures that would work well? What would you look for in a new gym to make you want to switch from your current one?

Thanks everyone!


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Dec 26, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

Great idea!

When I was living in SLC, I always climbed at Rockreation, but it could get pretty cramped in there and isn't super close to the downtown district. I didn't like Momentum. Toooo far and felt too much like a globo-gym to me.

If you can somehow combine the feel of rockreation with the size of Momentum somewhere NW of Liberty Park, I bet you would get a ton of business and make a lot of SLC climbers very happy.

But it's been like 5 years, so maybe that isn't a great location anymore.

I'll send good vibes your way and come check it out once it's open!!!


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By Mark Lewis
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Dec 26, 2012

Funny, I've thought about the possibility of a new gym as well.

Rockreation is great, but way too small and always crowded during opportune climbing times. Momentum has a terrible vibe to it.

I'd love to see a new gym with the atmosphere of Rockreation, but with a much bigger lead area and a top-out boulder area.

I'd be interested in helping out however I can.


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By Eric Bonin
Dec 26, 2012
my dog

Ditto to the above two.


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By BackAtItAgain
Dec 26, 2012

Mark Lewis wrote:
Momentum has a terrible vibe to it. I'd love to see a new gym with the atmosphere of Rockreation, but with a much bigger lead area and a top-out boulder area.


I think the above mentioned vibe is one reason Momentum can be the size they are, in order to pay for a great facility like that, you must attract somewhat of a non-traditional climbing crowd to pay the bills.


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By milesholland
Dec 26, 2012

I would be on a decent climbing gym near sugarhouse/downtown like white on rice


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By zenetopia
Dec 26, 2012

I agree with all the comments on this thread...i too would be willing to help out in anyway possible to get a gym with the feel of rockreation but bigger...the top out bouldering would be great...


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By Austin Baird
From SLC, Utah
Dec 26, 2012
Me scaring years off my mom's life

I think you'd get a lot of traffic from Holladay area too. I'd much rather go downtown than to Sandy. Keep us updated - I'll gladly throw whatever time and sweat I can into making this happen!


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Dec 26, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

Here are them good vibes I promised



Also, Sugarhouse is the neighborhood I was trying to remember, thanks Miles.

Liberty Park is northish of there, right? I liked running there. Good times.


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By CareBear
From SLC, UT
Dec 26, 2012

Yes, do it!

A while ago now, I heard a rumor about momentum putting in a second gym in the foothill area, but I don't think that ever came to anything more then a rumor that I continued to pass along. Whoops.

And I vote for one along Foothill preferably walking distance from my house.


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By pthomas
Dec 26, 2012
Pine Mountain

I'd love to see a good all around gym go into the sugarhouse/downtown area. I like going to the Front, but would love to see a gym with the vibes of rockreation, but larger and having cracks. If you were into making this a co-op type operation or just willing to enlist the help of slc climbers. I think there would be a good turnout. I know I miss working with tools and getting my hands dirty. If ya need any help, just ask and I'd do my best to help.


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By Spencer Daniels
From Sandy,utah
Dec 27, 2012
leading the first pitch

West minny has its own little
gym?


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By krbuckingham
Dec 27, 2012

Yes please! I know plenty of people around the liberty park area that would join... Maybe find an old church or something east of liberty park? Probably a bit pricey for a decent building though.


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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 27, 2012
Andrew Gram

There are lots of climbers downtown, in the avenues, Sugarhouse, Liberty Park, the U, etc. I've got a membership at the Front even though I don't love bouldering purely because of the distance to other gyms. There is a lot of underutilized warehouse space a block or two west of the north/south trax line that would be a great location. I'd join in a heartbeat.


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By milesholland
Dec 27, 2012

Spencer Daniels wrote:
West minny has its own little gym?


Yea westmini has a gym, but its really small and very centered around bouldering. Also, I'm fairly certain that you need to be a student to get it, but I could be wrong


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By kevinhansen
From Albion Idaho
Dec 27, 2012
Why I do it...

BackAtItAgain wrote:
I think the above mentioned vibe is one reason Momentum can be the size they are, in order to pay for a great facility like that, you must attract somewhat of a non-traditional climbing crowd to pay the bills.


HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD.
There are 2 kinds of climbers in this world. One that shops at REI and the other buys used gear in the parking lot. On road trips one sleeps in a motel/hotel the other in their car or a tent. On road trips one eats at the bar while the other eats ramen and PB&J. When its winter time one goes to the gym to be seen, look good, feel good, and get the blood pumping. The other tries to sudo-work at the place to get his vertical fix (climb for free).
Momentum has a sticker price of over $10M, it has many investors, (some of which don't know how to climb) and the REI set are their price point demographic. (not a coincidence they share a building. Coffee shop too?!)
All this being said, follow your dream! If you offer something no other place can offer, you stand a chance for staying power.
I helped build a gym in Idaho Falls back in 1995. Its still there, still open. (Its taken on half a dozen bail out investors over the years, but its still there.) This gym was built poorly, on a low budget, and in an old cheese factory. (Literally stinks) We tried everything to keep the bills paid, even bringing in high school P.E. classes. Where there is a will, there is a way..
Here are some tough questions to ask.
What business experience do I have? What management will I have? What market research have I done? Will I need to still stay afloat in spring, summer, and fall? How? What kind of person will I market to? Will that kind of person pay my bills? If the overhead is too high how can I lower it, how can I increase income?
This is America! If you build it, you'll hope they come. I for one will come at least once. Even if I DO live over two hours away.
Good Luck!
Go get'em!


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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 27, 2012
Andrew Gram

Oh dear - i'm not sure which kind of climber I am. I buy gear at stores like IME - not in a parking lot or at REI. I stay in a tent on road trips, but I definitely eat at the bar or at least grill a steak. Haven't touched PB&J since 6th grade and ramen since graduating from college. I go to the gym year round since my job is demanding enough that I can't get outside every day, and I like to stay fit enough to put up new routes in the desert on weekends.

However, i'm not the main gym profit demographic, which is a couple of minivans full of kids going to a birthday party.


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Dec 27, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

kevinhansen wrote:
look good, feel good, and get the blood pumping.


What's wrong with this?


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By SMR
Dec 27, 2012

Given the size of SLC and the surrounding areas, SLC would be able to support another gym. The big questions are location and money. As nice as some areas are, I would bet you will find much cheaper real estate in the industrial areas of SLC.

Do you have funding? A smaller type gym will require 500,000. A larger gym will require 1.5-2M and if you want high end like Atlanta's gym that is 8-10M.

Also, something to consider is a small private climbing facility. Get together with a group of your friends and build yourself a deluxe home gym.


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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Dec 27, 2012

As Andrew correctly remarked, eating at a bar does not qualify you as an REI climber. Neither does shopping at REI btw, as long as they carry the shoe you want and the discount you like... On the other hand eating ramen at camp screams unprepared douche who will most likely bitch and moan that the approach is too long and the bolts too far apart.
+1 for another gym in SLC with leading capability. I'll stay at Rockreation until the place falls to the ground but bleeding a few people out couldn't hurt.


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By cdec
From SLC and Moab, ut
Dec 27, 2012

Does every thread on MP have to devolve into stereotyping, name calling and finger pointing? Oh wait yeah it does.
Momentum north......more than just a rumor me thinks.


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By Bretterick Briggs
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 27, 2012
Drinking breakfast before climbing the elephant perch

Speaking of rumors, it's worth mentioning The Front's big expansion project.


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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 27, 2012
Andrew Gram

Anybody able to expand on the rumors, especially a Front expansion rumor? I haven't heard anything about it.


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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Dec 27, 2012

Dustin's hair must be graying fast if he's tackling and expansion project in SLC after opening the Ogden site.
+1 on the need to hear more about these expansions/Momentum North rumors.


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By BackCountry
From West Point, UT
Dec 27, 2012
Whaaaat?

I've also heard the rumor that Front-SLC was expanding into an adjacent building to offer lead/TR climbing.


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By Tim Golden
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 27, 2012
Top roping Bad Case of Gingervitus

I've heard the rumor about Momentum building a second gym in SLC, but I thought it was going to be bouldering only. I haven't heard anything about the Front though.

I've never started a business before, and obviously the biggest hurdle would be to get investors and/or loans to build something nice. I was thinking around $3 million, but a lot of that depends on the building/location. I was thinking somewhere on the west side that is still close to downtown, but cheaper would be the way to go. There seems to be a lot of old warehouses and such available for sale or lease. My other idea was the old DI building in Sugarhouse. That thing would be huge if you could take out the floors. I'm sure that place isn't cheap though.

I would love to do some kind of co-op that people could buy into ownership and volunteer to run it, set routes, and that kind of stuff. Again though, the initial cost would be extremely high, and I don't see a bank giving a loan for a co-op. Maybe this would be good to start on a small scale though and expand in the future.

As far as the clientele at the different gyms, I don't think it's ever going to be all people that you like or relate to. I fully understand that birthday parties, family fun nights, and beginners getting day passes and renting gear (while annoying to seasoned climbers)is where a large gym would have to make most of it's money. I love this sport and I think it would be great to have a part in introducing new people to it in a safe, fun environment. At the same time, I would want to have plenty of harder routes to keep the pros happy. I think people need to lighten up and just enjoy themselves. I would love to have a nice gear shop too to offset costs.

I'm happy to see that this idea is getting a good response on here though. I'm wondering if anyone on here (maybe with some more business experience than me) would be interested in partnering up?


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