Help!!! Climbing Gym - George

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Thermophage
Posts: 376
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:03 am
Real Name: Cuan Lohrentz
Location: Cape Town

Help!!! Climbing Gym - George

Postby Thermophage » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:35 pm

Hey all,

I'm a member at the climbing gym in George (Fearless).
They've been open a bit over a year now and are really struggling...no members, people don't seem to be super keen, or they think it's too dangerous/etc.
Anyhoo, long story short is thatr I don't hitn k they are going to be able to stay open much longer if things continue like this, so I am writing here to ask for suggestions/help.
What can we try/do/etc to get people involved?
As climbers I think we're pretty concerned over things like this, even if it is in other towns.

I used to live in PE and there I had always wanted to climb, but never got the opportunity as I could never manage to find anyone who knew anyone in the community.
If there had been a wall there (that I or people in general knew about), there'd be place for people to meet and climb and make plans to bugger off onto rock.

It just makes me kinda sad to see the owners put in sooooo much time, money and effort and it just is not really working.
Any suggestions would be great.
If anyone has family down here, please please please try to get them involved.
The rates are stupidly low in the first place as well.

Thanks all,
Cuan

Nic Le Maitre
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Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
Location: Stellenbosch

Re: Help!!! Climbing Gym - George

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:01 pm

Hi

There is a section of the MCSA in your area, lots of them climb, try to get them involved.

http://mcsasc.wordpress.com/
Happy climbing
Nic

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Thermophage
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Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:03 am
Real Name: Cuan Lohrentz
Location: Cape Town

Re: Help!!! Climbing Gym - George

Postby Thermophage » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:11 pm

Thanks Nic,

will do. We were in contact with them last year, but there was VERY little apparent interest...

We'll give it a try again and see how it goes.

Cheers,
Cuan

joshpickering
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Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 10:37 am
Real Name: Josh Pickering

Re: Help!!! Climbing Gym - George

Postby joshpickering » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:54 am

Getting any business off the ground is not easy and a climbing gym is no exception, especially if one's trying to do it on a small budget. My gym in Pietermaritzburg has been open for nearly two years and is only now feeling like it is gaining some momentum, it has been hard work!

Most of the climbers that climb at my gym are people that I (the gym) have introduced to the sport. Not a great deal of existing climbers or MCSA members come that regularly. So marketing the sport is your biggest job! Word of mouth is the best advertising, which is why things take time to get going. But other things that have really helped are :

Run regular events. This has been my best advertising. Fun-days, competitions (can be very laid back fun competitions), movie evenings, braais, free open days for kids, outdoor climbing days, member evenings etc.

Visit schools. This is a horrible job! But you need to get kids into the sport and get them competing. And don't just visit a school once, keep going back, find teachers that are keen to climb and to help, but keep trying.

Get your brand visible. My car is completely covered in vinyl, with climbing brands all over. It looks like a rally car, turns heads and looks cool but it also advertises my business. Also, put up banners to advertise events. Find a busy intersection and put one there (they tend to get taken down if you don't have permission, so either get permission or make the banners yourself and count your loss when they disappear!). Find creative ways of exposing your business. This can be expensive, so you'll have to be creative!

You need to offer more than just a climbing wall... you want to get people in to climb but you need to get them to keep coming back. Get some other games (pool, table tennis etc.), make it a cool place for teenagers to hang out. Invest in a projector and show climbing videos. Anything to keep guys excited.

And always think of other avenues for your business to take. Sell gear, drinks, snacks etc. Whatever will just bring in an extra few rand a month. But don't limit things to just climbing. Perhaps you're in the right area for retail, then get something going. But always look for new opportunities.

Use social media.... I'm hopeless in this area, so find someone else to help. But it does work. (it means you'll have to use FB which SUCKS)

Find a friend that is a good business man and pick his brain for ideas.

Anyway, hopefully something here helps!
Good luck! Stick it out... we need more gyms in this country!

Josh

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Thermophage
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Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:03 am
Real Name: Cuan Lohrentz
Location: Cape Town

Re: Help!!! Climbing Gym - George

Postby Thermophage » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:31 am

Hey Josh,

Thanks for all the detailed info man, I appreciate it and I will take it through to the owners and see what we can bash together.
A lot of those things we already have done. We have swings, jumping castels, there was a projector on which we were showing movies all the time, etc.
Also, there's been a lot of advertising (although tbh, not that much lately I think due to budget) and we try to often go away to climb with members/etc, which we advertise via Facebook and an email list.
We've approached schools and offered special rates and open days for kids and stuff.
But it is weird that foor traffic is so stupidly low! :(

Anyway, perhaps we/they must just get more aggressive with the marketing...I guess you can't make money without spending money.

Cheers,
Cuan

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Faffy001
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Real Name: JuliHeps
Location: South Africa, Garden Route

Re: Help!!! Climbing Gym - George

Postby Faffy001 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:23 pm

unfortunately not much survives in George area Q :(
Most are a tad lazy and even "stupidly cheap" is too much.

I hope more people start climbing there man...it's an AWESOME gym!! flippen fabulous :)
Miss it there with the guys and pregger.


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