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Thinking of opening a new gym
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By joshuaPete
Sep 15, 2012

Hello all I am new to mountain project and first of all wanted to say HI! I recently got out of the navy and did a lot of climbing. Me and my wife love climbing and want to bring the climbing sport to Redlands/Yucaipa area. We are just seeing if there would be any interest for the folks on here to go if we were to open a gym. It will be a family freindly gym with and we are thinking of having a day care for all the parents that want to climb. We are currently building our business plan and just wanted everyoneís opinion on how you would want to see the gym to be set up. We have a lot of ideas but we want to tailor it for you guys not just what we want. Any ideas would be greatly welcomed and hope to hear from you guys and gals soon.


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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Sep 15, 2012
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me? Hint, its on Supercrack Buttress

Some thoughts to consider in this thread.... mountainproject.com/v/climbing-gym-membership-/107793424

And you definitely want to attend the 2013 version of this event
climbingwallassociation.com/index.php/events/summit/


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By joshuaPete
Sep 15, 2012

Awsome thanks for the information I will denfinatly look in to the climbing summit. thank you for the fast reply also! May I ask are you a gym owner/or have experiance like that im always looking for more advice or tips and tricks. thanks again.

Joshua Peterson


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By scott cooney
From La Casa Taco
Sep 15, 2012
11th hour of the Sundial

If you're really serious about a gym and have the money to back it I would contact Vertical Solutions

www.verticalsolns.com/whyverticalsolutions.php

John is a former pro climber and mastermind of building walls while Dustin is a Gym owner himself, owning 3 gyms and all are doing very well.


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Sep 16, 2012
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

If you're not set on the Redlands the area near Pasadena is in need of a good climbing gym. The ARC is pretty much just bouldering (and has seen better days) and the only other indoor options that I know of are Rockcreation and Hangar 18, both a haul, or the small Caltech climbing wall.


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By joshuaPete
Sep 16, 2012

We are definatly serious thinking about opening a gym. As former navy I can get the backing from the VA. I will definatly will be looking in to the wall builder thank you for the link!


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By RacerXK1
From Redlands, CA
Sep 16, 2012
Joe on the FA of Grape Nuts.

Do it! Build a gym in Redlands! I will come. I know lots of others climbers who currently drive out to Riverside for the gyms there. I'm sure they'd love to stay in town instead.


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By joshuaPete
Sep 16, 2012

RACER thanks for the support. If you have any ideas on what the gym layout or what you would like to see in it let me know!


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By Rob Gordon
From Hollywood, CA
Sep 16, 2012
Tough Mantle Problem.  Haven't sent yet...

If you get serious you should talk to the people at 5.10. Their factory is in Redlands and has been getting busier and busier over the years even with beginners. You could do some sort of cross promotion assuming they are interested. At the very least I would talk to them about using their shoes as rental shoes so that you don't piss off the only retailer in town.


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By joshuaPete
Sep 16, 2012

Rob I have talk to 5.10 and there new rental gear that is coming out. Once we get more ahead with the building and all that they were really interested in it. Almost have our business plan done its going to be a little bit to get all the kinks out. We are serious about this and hopefully expand the sport in our area.


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By Nick McInally
Sep 21, 2012

Great idea. Redlands is full of climbers getting sick of the commute to Riverside or Upland to climb...I know I am haha.


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By Legion
Sep 22, 2012

joshuaPete wrote:
It will be a family freindly gym with and we are thinking of having a day care for all the parents that want to climb.


Wish you did this 5 yrs ago! I dropped out of the climbing scene once I had multiple kids and have always wondered why gyms can't be a bit more friendly to parents-of-young-kids.

Not only are you retaining these parents as customers, but their kids could be future customers. And although the gym climbing population currently tends to be a younger crowd, those youngsters are gonna have kids soon!

As gyms continue to evolve and become more sophisticated businesses, I think a daycare would be great foresight. But I'd say you'd have to measure the value of it beyond just the finances. Hope you do it!


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By joshuaPete
Sep 22, 2012

dangle, I am the same way I hate driving to riverside or upland and when I do I make it a day.
lee, thats what I was hoping to do with families. I am 21 with 2 kids and its almost impossible for me and my wife to go to the gym let alone go climbing. Everything is still in the works but starting to make contacts and get the ball rolling so we all can have a gym in redlands.


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By The Freehlings
Oct 2, 2012
Profile pic

I was a member in Riverside for around two years with my two teenage sons. We climbed there about two or three times a week, and my sons were part of their youth climbing program. The main reason that we gave up our membership was the drive/gas...so I would be in if you opened a gym here in Redlands!

Here is my two cents: Growing up in Redlands and now raising my own kids in the area, I would focus part of your business plan on having a good mix/variety of youth programs; parents here are willing to spend serious $$ on their kids' activities.


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By joshuaPete
Oct 2, 2012

Freehlings,

thanks for the advise we will seriously take that into consideration. we have kids also and they want to climb also. just need to get to everything planned out with the wife and the VA.

Thanks,
Josh


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By Jon Lachelt
From Fort Collins, CO
Oct 2, 2012

joshuaPete wrote:
Any ideas would be greatly welcomed and hope to hear from you guys and gals soon.


Andy's pointer to the CWA is spot on. He's a very successful gym owner, and a regular presenter at the conference.

Specifically to your request for ideas, you should check out the notes from the keynote at the summit this year: www.climbingwallindustry.org/images/uploads/cws_2012_the_per>>>

Grab it soon, as it may not be available on the site once they start advertising the 2013 summit.


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By joshuaPete
Oct 3, 2012

Lachelt,
Thank you i have downloaded and will read through it ASAP.

Very Respectfully,
Joshua Peterson


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By jon Kates
From Palm Springs
Oct 8, 2012

Looking for investors,


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By joshuaPete
Oct 10, 2012

Jon,
Sorry for the late reply. Right now we are just getting everything priced and where it can be. Working with the VA and CA small business to see what grants and loans we can get. Slowly but surly it's getting done just want to do it right and not half assed ( excuses my language ). Just a question why do you ask?

Very Respectfully,
Joshua Peterson


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By kennoyce
From Layton, UT
Oct 10, 2012
Climbing at the Gallery in Red Rocks

This is awesome, My wife and I'll certainly join. Also, as a father of two kids (and soon to be three) the day care idea is amazing. Good luck!


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By joshuaPete
Oct 10, 2012

kennoyce,
thats the idea is to help out parents and get the kids involved with climbing! i have 2 kids and my son loves it daughter is still alittle to small lol. if you have any ideas or what you want to see anything in the gym just let me know.

Very Respectfully,
Joshua Peterson


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By Rolf R
From BC
Oct 11, 2012

A few opinions from an older climber, an avid gym user, who also runs a successful business. 40 years outdoor climbing and continuous original member at our local gym, for 15 years.

I realize that there are a lot of parents out there who are looking to introduce their kids to climbing, but targeting that group does not necessarily make a gym successful.
Like all business plans, you should identify your consumer and evaluate what brings long term profitability to your business. Focusing on one user group will only limit your market and profitability, I would suggest targeting a broad spectrum of climbers and focus on providing a great resource . The successful gyms I have frequented, attract climbers from beginners to world ranked athletes and incorporate that talent pool to run a successful junior team program.

IMO a day care gives up critical climbing space for a minimum of return on investment, rather encourage parents to participate with children and spend the day care budget on the actual climbing facility. Developing a junior program attracts parents eager to fund an activity they enjoy. Dedicate Saturday and Sunday morning and afternoons to children activities, and have a specific area in your gym with easier climbs for the kids.

The least enjoyable gyms I have visited, are the kiddy romper rooms where adult climbers with serious disposable income, are turned off by the unruly mass of excitable children. One suggestion would be to limit junior and kids gym hours to 7:00 PM on school nights.

Don't forget the evening adult technique and training programs on various levels, everyone loves to learn how to excel! At my local gym, a very large group of us adults gladly shell out serious money for professional training from a qualified coach.

My last few comment, a great large bouldering area and good route setting. Route setting is a learned art skill and can make or break a gym, make the gym desirable to the local climbing community and trade membership hours for route setting by qualified experienced people. With good bouldering and route setting, local and regional competitions should be another natural progression to increase your income.

Profit isnít a dirty word! Selling widgets or climbing memberships, both require a marketing strategy that will yield the greatest sustainable competitive advantage. If you are going to make a serious financial and lifestyle commitment, please donít limit yourself to a narrow user group.


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By Ben Gordon
From La Canada, CA
Oct 11, 2012

Rolf,

Excellent points for potential gym owners. I am a climber but also work in finance. Some of the challenges for opening a gym can be daunting, but they are surmountable.

One of the things I am always surprised at is that gyms dont tap in to the "active mom" lifestyle category. I feel like if you pitched climbing as a "vertical yoga" you could really bring in some traffic, especially on weekday mornings when the gym is emptyyy. To the degree that your climbing wall space is perishable inventory, you want to be driving revenue from it every hour you are open- not just at peak traffic hours. Finding a diverse but time-distinct customer base is key to that goall I think.

An ideal business plan would be one that targeted discrete user segments at specific time blocks- IE mid morning=moms, after school=junior bouldering team, after work=disposable income adults. You wouldn't have to actually charge or otherwise restrict people that way; you could just target those segments with your marketing to get smooth utilization all day.


  • **EDIT: I definitely have never owned a gym so I could be way off base here. As a 23 year old after work climber, those are just my (off the cuff, unsubstantiated guesses***


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By Mason G
From Anacortes, WA
Oct 11, 2012
Me working on Saffron Spider

I think your idea of providing childcare is great. The gym I go to(regular, not climbing) offers childcare for 3 hours hours every weekday morning and evening, and a few hours Saturday morning. I assume the limited time keeps their payroll cost down, but it's still enough to allow my wife and I to get in and get a workout. It's not the nicest gym in town but we needed childcare so we choose that gym. Best of luck, I wish you were opening this gym in my area!


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By claudio ricardez
From ESCONDIDO
Oct 11, 2012
Mt. Woodson

This may interest you as well.
Great way to set up cracks at a gym

www.cracksystems.com/


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By joshuaPete
Oct 11, 2012

Thank you all,

Itís not just going to be focused around childcare. Itís going to have a time and side area for the kids as not to disrupt the rest of the gym. The plan is to have a full gym with cracks as noted by Claudio. Thank you for the finical information we basically have the same idea for the focus times for the different demographics. The route setting is the only thing we are kind of worried about but we are talking to a few wall builders and getting recommendations for people. Slowly but surely we will get it done.

Very Respectfully,
Joshua Peterson


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