Specs: Blocworks Climbing Community, a bouldering-focused gym, opened its doors in Edmond, Oklahoma, in February 2020. Evan and Mariah Small, couple and owners of Blocworks, have been avid climbers since meeting at Rocktown, a local climbing gym built in a grain silo in Oklahoma City. The Smalls had “an underlying desire to give back” what climbing had given them, said Evan, a goal which helped them get through the gym’s pandemic-related temporary closure three weeks after opening. “People were our focus from the beginning, and it was people that got us through the building process,” Evan said. “The planning stages took a lot of hard work and rejection early on. But there was something bigger happening, and we knew we were on the right track.”
After looking into the data of households within a five, ten and fifteen-mile radius from the planned gym, the owners solidified their choice in location. “Edmond consists of two colleges, three high schools, six middle schools and seventeen elementary schools,” explained Evan. Housed in a building downtown, the gym is also located near several “modern urban living opportunities, co-working spaces, breweries, restaurants, parks and more, all within a 3-block radius,” said Evan, who described how “special” it is to watch groups of Blocworks members climb together and then “walk across the street” to grab some food together. “Not to mention the partnerships we have for member meetups and events,” he added.
Some events at the gym have included Ladies Climb & Wine night, Pay What You Can night and bouldering competitions. Other programming consists of competitive and recreational youth programs, non-instructed youth climb times and instruction classes for adults. With 2,600 square feet of climbing surface and a Kilter Board, the owners designed their gym to be “small but efficient.” According to Evan, they did this by “curating an amazing hold selection, having plants in the gym to make it feel warm, providing a patio where college students and young adults can co-work or just hang with friends, and training staff to mingle with customers while they’re climbing.”
Walls: EP Climbing
CRM Software: MindBody
In Their Words: “Ever since those initial visits, climbing sank its teeth into us. It was the friends we hung out with and the trips we went on that eventually gave me a desire to work in the outdoor industry. After years of bringing us an insane amount of joy, friendships and experiences, those passions began to turn outward and became more about introducing people to the sport. Why the heck was not everyone doing this rock climbing thing!?!?” – Evan Small, co-owner
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