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New climbing gym in SLC?
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By kevinhansen
From Albion Idaho
Dec 27, 2012
Why I do it...

>>> I'm wondering if anyone on here (maybe with some more business experience than me) would be interested in partnering up>>

"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.) ... Where there is a will, there is a way."

Hey Tim, if I was younger, I'd be all over it. Would I do it again? You bet.

>>>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.>>>

You may try talking with the City. Not a bad idea having a S.L.C. Climbing Gym in the business district. I know the City of Ogden has really gone all out to make their downtown more outdoors oriented. The gym in Idaho Falls eventually sold to the YMCA who runs it now. Maybe you could approach a city rec. center about an addition. If so I'm sure there are grants you can ask for.

>>>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.>>>

This is the right attitude that will take your business far.
Good luck!

If these rumors or expansions and new buildings are true, sounds like other gyms are trying to figure out a way to get a bigger slice of the pie.

For the others,
Who ever said there is something wrong with PB&J, shopping at REI, eating at a bar, sleeping in a tent or Motel? I personally have done everything I mentioned. Some of us are dirt bags (Low income), some of us have well paying jobs (High income). Some of us have internet, some don't have an address. Who said one was better?

If you were offended, you need to think about why.


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By OldManRiver
From Cottonwood Heights, UT
Dec 27, 2012
Red Rock, Cannibal crag

There are two types of climbers in the world.. those that enjoy the sport and don't worry about sophomoric popularity contests and those that are butthurt for whatever reason so they decide to pick apart other climbers based on perceived flaws.

OP: Momentum draws from a wide range because of the quality of the facility. You have everything from pros training to newbies working on their first 5.9. The staff is helpful generally speaking and people are courteous. You can climb off-widths, dihedrals, finger cracks, hand cracks, steep cracks, vertical cracks, slab, steep, aretes, boulder.. so many options. Free yoga, strength training classes are available for members along with other benefits. It's a good operation in terms of the product provided and customer service.

If you want to draw a crowd in a market with three existing climbing gyms you'll need some solid market intel on where the threshold is for abandoning an existing option in favor of your gym. I haven't been to the Front or Rockreation but understand they each have their strengths.


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

Tim, you should check out Denver Bouldering Club. Their business model is set up a lot like a coop and seems to be going quite well.

Denverboulderingclub@gmail.com


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

OldManRiver wrote:
There are two types of climbers in the world...


There are two types of people in the world; those who categorize people, and those who don't.


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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Dec 27, 2012

OldManRiver wrote:
newbies working on their first 5.9

Burly noobs!
Here's to hoping another gym or 12 pop up. I wonder how Rockreation would fare, it seems like the crowds have been thinning over the years. It might be my hours that have changed... I'd hate to see the place go down if a brand new gym opens nearby. Guess that's what business is about.


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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Dec 27, 2012
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me? Hint, its on Supercrack Buttress

Gyms draw their business and members from a 20 minute drive radius. Just draw a 20 minute radius on any target location and see where it intersects with another gym's 20 minute radius. Where the areas overlap the customers will have a choice and then they will go to the gym that better appeals to them.

Bouldering gyms appeal to 18-30 year old males. You can typically count on one hand the number of >40 year olds in a bouldering gym (I speak as a 40+ year old :). Once both men and women get over 30, they tend to prefer roped climbing gyms over bouldering gyms. Given the choice, these demographics will migrate to roped climbing if available.

Good gyms in busy markets (Denver, Boulder, SLC, Seattle, SF, etc.) tend to be limited by the amount of climbing surface area more than any other aspect... i.e. good gyms in busy markets will get as many climbers as their facility can support... but once it gets crowded that will limit their growth.

Why are bouldering gyms seemingly so popular now? Because they are radically cheaper to build and operate. In particular, you don't need a 30+ foot building. 15' buildings are a dime a dozen. Not so much in the 30+ foot size which can really limit the possibilities and drive up the initial investment cost.

But as stated above, bouldering gyms only capture a portion of the market.

I'm just stating the facts. Don't shoot the messenger.


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

.wisdom.
+1


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By Matt Wolski
From Salt Lake City
Dec 27, 2012
...took a 20 ft'er about five minutes after this pic was snapped : )

Considering the number of fucking haunted houses in SLC, one would think we climber could support another climbing gym. If Fear Factory can pay the bills, there must be other abandoned/underused industrial property that could be put to good use.


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

So Andy, want to come start a gym near downtown over here? I promise to keep you supplied with full strength homebrew on tap for as long as it takes to get it up and running.


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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Dec 27, 2012
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me? Hint, its on Supercrack Buttress

Andrew Gram wrote:
So Andy, want to come start a gym near downtown over here? I promise to keep you supplied with full strength homebrew on tap for as long as it takes to get it up and running.


One gym in my portfolio is plenty. And I live in Bend now... and last I checked SLC is outside my 20 minute drive radius :)

But I appreciate the homebrew offer! I'd like to sample your creations next time I am in SLC.


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

Drat. Oh well - come on over for homebrew anytime. I also made 16 gallons of apricot wine this summer from the tree in the backyard. It is actually pretty good!


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By Alex Quitiquit
From Salt Lake City
Dec 28, 2012
meow

If somebody wants to start a gym in downtown SLC, PM me. I have info on logistics


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By Alex Quitiquit
From Salt Lake City
Dec 28, 2012
meow

oh and +1 for Rockreation being the only place to climb with a furnace in the winter.

and +1 for good vibes. vibeeeesssss mannn

dubb reggae


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By markmaguire
Dec 30, 2012

build a tall steep lead wall and they will come.


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By steve santora
Jan 1, 2013

All good thoughts. HOW ABOUT getting Jeff at Rockreation to expand into the parking lot.
probably cheaper than starting over. just a thought. ss


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By Tyler King
From Salt Lake, UT
Jan 2, 2013
Touch Up

Jon Zucco wrote:
There are two types of people in the world; those who categorize people, and those who don't.


There are two types of people in the world; those who categorize people and those who say they don't.


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By Spencer Weiler
From SLC, UT
Mar 21, 2013
adf

new gym announcement. millcreek location near REI

www.momentumclimbing.com/


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By Tim Golden
From Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 26, 2013
Top roping Bad Case of Gingervitus

Yeah Spencer, I started hearing info about this a couple months ago and gave up on the idea after I heard this. I meant to post something on here, but I forgot.

This new Momentum location sounds awesome though. 50' lead walls, co-designed by Sharma, membership works at both locations for the same price, and most importantly so much closer to my house. I can't believe it took this long for SLC to get something like this. About freakin time. Fall can't come soon enough.


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By Kyle Blase
From Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 26, 2013
hardcore unicycle!

I've heard multiple times that the Front is adding a lead area. I would place an emphasis on having nice non-climbing amenities such as free yoga, a good workout room, (maybe a bar ha), etc.


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By sevrdhed
Mar 27, 2013

Tim Golden wrote:
Fall can't come soon enough.


I hope you mean "Fall can't come soon enough because that's the best time to climb in the amazing wasatch, and then afterwards during wintertime there's also going to be new plastic to climb."

That's what I'm going to assume you meant.

I think a bar would be awesome in a gym, although I bring my own beer most of the time anyway. I wonder what impact that would have on insurance rates.


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By paintrain
Mar 27, 2013
Chuck Norris can Divide by Zero

I wouldn't worry about the insurance. Getting a liquor license will be more daunting.

PT


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By Jack Maberry
Mar 27, 2013

Seems like the new Momentum location rumors have now been substantiated, and I too have heard rumors of the Front expanding. I've heard from a couple people that it'll be something in the ballpark of a 90' lead wall, which would be pretty crazy. Also, I am an employee at the U of U Outdoor Recreation Program, and I can add that the U will be opening a new student life center in a couple years that will include a climbing wall. I've seen the blue prints for it, and the wall will be very nice for a University but probably a little smaller than your average gym. They're breaking ground next month, and it's set to open fall of 2014. Just a consideration that you may lose part of that "U students" market if you choose to open a new gym.

That being said, I'd be psyched to help you out in any way (I have a bit of routesetting experience), and it sounds like you have the right vision in mind!


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By Tim Golden
From Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 28, 2013
Top roping Bad Case of Gingervitus

sevrdhed, of course being outside > plastic. That's a given.

Does anyone have any more info on The Front's expansion rumors? 90' lead walls doesn't sound right. That would be an extremely tall building. Would it be at their current location? I don't really see where they can expand in that building.


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By Greg G
From SLC, UT
Mar 28, 2013
The route in it's entirety.

They're procured the building to the south so the two will become one.


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By Tanner Wixom
From Grand Junction, CO
Mar 28, 2013
Sending Millennium Falcon

If the gym were significantly closer to downtown SLC than Momentum and of a similar quality to the climbing in Momentum, I think you would do well. I have friends up in the downtown area who don't gym climb because Momentum is too far away and the other options aren't that great. If you could get real estate just downhill from U of U, I think you'd do really well. I think you could cut out the northern-valley portion of Momentum's membership if you're gym is nice.

I think there is a huge market for college students who want to save on gas and time. If a gym is less than 10 minutes away, that could be the difference between getting a pass or not. Plus, college kids love to do climbing gyms for dates--at least in Utah.

At least that's the sense I get at the Quarry down in Provo. It's situated right between UVU and BYU and I think quite a bit of their business comes from college-age kids living in college-type housing.

I think the real key is that the gym would be in the same ballpark as momentum for diversity of terrain and quality, otherwise you wouldn't be differentiating yourself enough from the other option.

Also, I would cut out the workout/weight-lifting stuff that Momentum has. You could cut down on your capital investment and overhead by focusing on just climbing-related training and terrain. Maybe that way you could offer membership at a lower--but still profitable--price-point, attract more college-budget people, and take some of the other gyms current market share. No workout/weight area means less square footage of overhead and less upfront cost. Plus you're not trying to straddle two markets that don't necessarily have a ton of overlap; i.e., when I've been at Momentum, I've never seen more than a couple people in the workout area. To me the lifting/treadmill crowd seems to have a pretty distinct culture from the climbing crowd, enough that people who want to lift and run in gyms will probably get a membership to 24 or Golds.

Anyway, just kinda shooting from the hip here. If you're really serious, you might want to think about doing some basic market research to get answers based on data rather than speculation--surveys, etc.


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