Cornerstone Rock Gym
Glen St. Mary, Florida
Specs: After climbing recreationally as a family for years and wanting to build a gym in their small town of less than 500 residents, Jered and Kristy Bearden opened Cornerstone Rock Gym in December of 2020. Built ground-up in Glen St. Mary, Florida, the 7,000-square-foot, mixed-discipline climbing facility was designed with a family focus from the get-go. “We have a passion for families in this community,” Jered said. “Our community was worth investing in.”
In 2017, the owners bought out an old climbing gym in Louisiana that had closed, which provided them with a base of repurposed materials to work with. The following year, a property that fit their vision became available in their town just west of Jacksonville. “All things aligned perfectly [in a way] that I could not orchestrate even on my best day,” explained Jered. In 2019 they began construction, and in 2020 the gym quietly opened with social distancing measures.
“We opened Cornerstone Rock Gym with the purpose of promoting a place where families could come live more active and healthy lives,” Jered summarized. As such, Cornerstone hosts camps throughout the summer, partnerships and events with local churches, and Parents Night Out events which “give parents a chance to go out while we entertain the kids at the gym,” continued Jered. The gym also hosts birthday parties and group outings, but with a twist for older participants that was added this summer: “There were a lot of people who came to those [birthday] parties who were not climbers, so we opened up the axe throwing to give those who were not climbers another option to do something fun and active,” said Jered. The gym’s outdoor space now includes cornhole and outdoor games to complement the axe throwing lanes, which are also used for team building events.
In addition to 6,000 square feet of climbing surface, a Moonboard, and fitness equipment, Cornerstone has a ninja warrior setup that includes floating boards, rings, ropes, spinning wheels, a sea of poles, a cargo net, swinging monkey bars, and a warped wall. They also host top rope and lead belay classes. According to Jered, Glen St. Mary “is still a very young climbing community,” without much demand for more advanced climbing classes yet, but the gym is “constantly adding and changing things” as that community grows.
Walls: Treadstone Climbing
Flooring: Treadstone Climbing
CRM Software: Rock Gym Pro
In Their Words: “So much of what we do is very family centric. That probably makes us a little different than most gyms…Really know your market. Things turned out very different than we thought they would, but we are happy with the result.” – Jered Bearden, co-owner and co-founder
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