Central Rock Gym Makes First Acquisition

image of stone summit atlanta
Stone Summit, a Georgia gym chain that opened its first location in xxx, was recently acquired by Central Rock Gym.
image of stone summit atlanta
Central Rock Gym continues to expand its climbing gym footprint in the Eastern U.S., this time by acquiring the four Stone Summit gyms in Georgia. (Pictured: Stone Summit Atlanta; photo by Stone Summit)

Stone Summit, a Georgia-based climbing gym chain with four locations around Atlanta, was recently acquired by Central Rock Gym (CRG). Previously owned by Daniel Luke, Daron Pair and Will Pair, the first Stone Summit location—Stone Summit Atlanta—was opened by Daniel and Daron in 2010. Since then, Stone Summit added a second full-service gym and two bouldering gyms in the area prior to the acquisition. According to an FAQ page on the business’s website, “all of Stone Summit staff will continue on with CRG”—including general managers, head setters, setters and desk staff, CBJ has been told—and an email to customers stated that Daniel’s “new role will be as the Director of Operations, Georgia at CRG.”

“When we began this sale process, it was important to Daniel, Will and me to find a company that would be a good cultural fit for our staff and customers,” Daron informed CBJ. “Central Rock Gym aligned with everything we were looking for in an acquisition. Joe and Ed [Hardy], along with their team, provided a seamless transition throughout the entire process. CRG was a pleasure to work with and we are excited for our staff and customers who are now a part of the CRG family.”

Elevate Climbing Walls

The acquisition is notably CRG’s first in the industry since the business opened its first climbing gym—CRG Worcester—in 2009. All of CRG’s other gyms were self-built projects, and CRG is the only climbing gym business in North America to have opened more than 20+ gyms entirely through self-builds, with four more expected to open in 2024 or 2025. In fact, CRG is the second largest climbing gym chain stateside to have now expanded in part through an acquisition, a list that includes Movement, Bouldering Project, Hangar 18, Rock Spot, VITAL and others.

“Central Rock Gym has been approached several times for acquisitions in the past. Our general approach is to stay completely focused on our existing communities or to find new markets,” said CRG co-owner Joe Hardy. “Stone Summit, however, felt different from the start because there were so many similarities in how they operate and how they value and grow their communities. After getting to know their team from several visits, we felt we could work with Daron, Will and Daniel for a smooth transition, and try to be the best stewards possible for their staff and community.”

Hardy said the CRG team is excited to make facility improvements at the former Stone Summit locations in the coming months, such as HVAC work in preparation for the summer. The management team also plans to update the hold inventory at these facilities.

Trango Holds Pardners

Originally developing climbing gyms in the Northeast, CRG completed two Florida gyms last year (Tampa and Orlando), opened a third one just this week (Citrus Park), and has two more gym projects underway in the state (including the recently announced Fort Myers project). The acquisition of the four Stone Summit gyms in Georgia expands CRG’s gym footprint in the Southern U.S. and brings the total number of open or planned CRG gyms to 30 across six states.

“We continue to be focused on serving our existing communities and building new gyms versus acquisitions,” Hardy reiterated, “but there is always the possibility that we find equally common footing with another operator.”

Stay tuned to CBJ for the latest news on gym projects and acquisitions around the industry.