2021 concluded with a significant business deal within the climbing industry, as prominent hold-maker Aragon―one of the largest climbing hold manufacturers in the world―was purchased in December by Tennessee-based PlayCore, a family of brands primarily in the playground, fitness and water-recreational spheres.
Prior to the sale, Aragon Elastomers was owned by The Hanson Group, a chemical manufacturing LLC that had operated the company for more than a decade and substantially grew its production volume. (Aragon began making holds around 2002 under Chuck Demarest.) At the time of this writing, all indications are that those who were previously employed at Aragon under its Hanson Group ownership will be given the option of remaining with the company under its new PlayCore iteration. Additionally, Aragon’s manufacturing will remain headquartered in Colorado, as will Aragon’s workforce.
Outgoing owners Lee and Erin Hanson (of The Hanson Group) “felt that it was time to partner with a company who could take Aragon to the next level and further grow the great sport of climbing,” they informed CBJ. On LinkedIn Hanson posted: “I expect great things from this union and good group of people.”
Tim Sudeith, Senior Vice President at PlayCore, said the two big factors in the acquisition were Aragon’s “history of exceptional manufacturing,” and exceptional management team. “As we became more familiar with the company it quickly became apparent that Aragon is a natural fit with PlayCore’s current brands in the categories of play, aquatics, fitness, surfacing and site amenities,” Sudeith explained.
Roger Posacki, CEO of PlayCore, echoed those sentiments, saying: “Aragon’s outstanding team and reputation in the climbing industry was a major factor in the acquisition. Also, adding them to the PlayCore brand family will help us expand our climbing and fitness offering and further the corporate mission of building healthy communities through play and recreation.”
In the category of climbing companies, PlayCore already possessed several brands, including Everlast (makers of Groperz holds) and Kumiki, as well as GameTime, a designer of climbable equipment more in the playground and play-structures style. When asked about PlayCore’s future plans for Aragon, Senior VP Sudeith told CBJ, “At this point, we are still getting to know the team and determining how to best support their business, so I don’t have all the answers yet…We feel that PlayCore’s manufacturing expertise coupled with Aragon’s history of manufacturing hand holds will enable us to expand Aragon’s capacity over the next six months to a year. We are really excited to be working with Aragon.”
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