This month marks Climbing Business Journal’s three year anniversary for providing quality climbing industry news and analysis. In that time, CBJ has published original, unbiased and well-researched articles that are valuable to climbing gym professionals. But we do so much more than provide weekly news articles — here are a few other things you may not know about:
CBJ has compiled an extensive database of all the commercial climbing gyms in North America. We know a lot about these climbing gyms, and you can too! Check out our handy Gym Map where you can see the location of and useful metrics about every climbing gym in the USA and Canada.
With the map search tools you can find every gym with “Stone” in their name (answer: 30) or how many gyms were opened between 1990 and 2000 (answer: 138) or even how many gyms have ever opened in Boston (answer: 10) or closed in Boston (answer: 0). Plus you can filter by wall builder or by square feet of climbing space.
The gym map doesn’t just list gyms that are open. We also track facilities that are planned to open. When an operator announces a new location, they let us know and we add a shiny purple dot to the map to indicate a planned gym coming to town.
This helps gym owners plant their flag and it allows existing gym operators to keep track of the competition.
Gym operators also use the map to find the best market to expand into as well as prospective gym owners looking to build their dream gym; with the map it’s easy to see which markets are crowded and which are under served. For example, North and South Dakota as well as Mississippi do not have a single commercial climbing facility in their states. Or maybe you’re looking for something more urban: Baltimore, MD; Washington DC; Richmond, VA; and Orlando, FL do not have any climbing gyms within their city limits.
All of this tracking allows CBJ to have the only reliable metric on the growth of the indoor climbing gym industry. Knowing how many gyms open each year and how many close, we are able to share the only accurate growth rate statistic for the industry.
CBJ releases the growth rate in our annual year-end review we call the Gyms and Trends. This report is published right before the calendar ends and has a complete analysis of the growth rate along with current development and operational trends. We give a complete industry picture as well as a breakdown of certain aspects, like the number of new bouldering-only gyms and their particular growth rate and geographic distribution. Or you can find out how the major wall builders are doing and which one is doing the most jobs.
Before CBJ started keeping track, operators had no reliable metrics to base business decisions on. They simply guessed or went with their gut. Now, gym owners and operators have a solid number they can take to their banker or investors to prove that the climbing gym industry is a proven model with solid growth potential.
And just in case you’re curious, as of today, in the US we are calculating a growth rate of 15.94% over last year. However, by the time the year ends that number will most likely be closer to the 14% or 15% once we see exactly how many new facilities are able to open their doors before the new year.
Finding the right people for your team is always a challenge, and climbing gym operators do not want to waste their time posting jobs on Craigslist or even the local newspaper classifieds where they may not find qualified candidates. That’s why we created the CBJ Jobs Listings. This tool has become one of our most popular features and is the go-to source for finding a job in the climbing gym profession as well as providing operators with a targeted approach for finding the best employees.
On any given day, you’ll find over two dozen jobs for positions like front desk, team coach, routesetter and site manager. Wall builders even use it to find quality construction workers that have a climbing background.
And the best part, listing a job is completely free. Searching for jobs is also free. But if you want your job listing to stand out, you have the option to upgrade your job listing so it is pushed to the top of the page, or you have the option of having CBJ promote the listing through our email newsletter and Facebook page, where it can be targeted at thousands of our readers.
CBJ’s newest resource is our Marketplace. Here you can sell anything related to climbing gym operations; gear like autobelays, and climbing holds; fitness equipment and merchandising displays; you can even sell your entire climbing facility or look for partners to expand your brand.
With the climbing gym industry entering its third decade, operators need a place to sell used or unwanted gear as well as selling their entire operations.
Just like the jobs listing, posting in the Marketplace is now absolutely free (it also has options for upgrading and promoting your listing). Listings don’t last long, so make sure you check the Marketplace every week so you don’t miss out on any great deals.
The only walls we like are ones you can climb. That’s why we don’t have a pay wall like most other industry trade journals. We believe in providing the most accurate and up to date information possible to as many people as possible. All of our features plus our weekly articles are always free to our readers.
All this work does cost money. That’s why we offer a limited number of advertising opportunities to those companies that need to target directly to the climbing gym professional. Our advertisers find a lot of value in promoting through CBJ, and we often have a waiting list for the most prominent ad spots.
But we also offer our readers the opportunity to financially support CBJ by becoming a member. If you read CBJ every week and share our articles with your staff; if you can’t imagine running your business without CBJ then it’s time to become a supporter.
We offer membership levels from Friend ($24 a year) to Corporate ($250 a year). All members are listed on our website and receive thanks through our social media outlets, but there are no specific “perks” tied to each level. It’s really just a way for you to support us if you like what we are doing and want us to continue to provide original reporting and research on the indoor climbing industry.
The Next Three Years
CBJ started when the founders, Mike and Marlowe, hatched the idea of providing a single source for news and analysis specific to the business of indoor climbing. Since then we have added some great freelance writers and invested in some new technology, but at its core, CBJ is still a tiny operation with no employees but a lot of passion. We are committed to continue evolving CBJ and, as always, would love your feedback on how we can do things better and what we should focus on next. Thank you!
Climbing Business Journal is an independent news outlet dedicated to covering the indoor climbing industry. Here you will find the latest coverage of climbing industry news, gym developments, industry best practices, risk management, climbing competitions, youth coaching and routesetting. Have an article idea? CBJ loves to hear from readers like you!