Two of the largest climbing gym operators have decided to merge and create what amounts to the first national network of climbing gyms in the US. Maryland-based Earth Treks and California-based Planet Granite announced in a joint press release today that the two companies will merge.
With nine climbing and fitness centers in operation and two more under construction (including what will be the largest climbing facility in the US), the combined company has more than 700 employees and serves more than 2,000,000 customers each year.
According to the CBJ database, the merger will create the largest climbing gym operator in the US with 257,000 square feet of climbing surface. By comparison, Touchstone Climbing, with their 11 facilities, was the previous largest with just over 152,000 square feet of climbing surface.
The complementary business models allow for operational scale in key regions – the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Baltimore, Washington DC and Portland. The company will also be expanding into major markets throughout the United States. All gyms will keep their current names and continue to serve their communities at a local level.
“Independently we built companies that we are extremely proud of. As the climbing gym industry has evolved, we’ve pushed ourselves to improve in every operational and design aspect. With this shared belief in pushing our limits, we are now leveraging our powerful company cultures to have a national impact. Our goal is to bring even more opportunities to those we employ, serve and climb with,” states Micky Lloyd, who founded Planet Granite in 1994.
This past spring, Earth Treks partnered with Tengram Capital Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in consumer brands. The goal behind these partnerships is to create a brand with a truly national footprint. “Our combined teams have the hard-earned wisdom, clarity of vision and drive needed to bring the transformative power of climbing to millions of people. And we are committed to doing so in a way that honors all that is great about our sport: the infectiousness of a climber’s passion, the trust and caring essential to a climbing partnership and the very way climbing helps us see the world,” states Chris Warner, who founded Earth Treks in 1990.
Matthew Eby, cofounder and Managing Partner of Tengram Capital Partners, commented, “We are very excited to partner with Chris and Micky and the amazing teams at Earth Treks and Planet Granite. They have built a truly amazing and authentic customer service culture for their members. We are excited to build upon this great foundation.”