FROM FRIENDS TO FAMILY.
In answer to the limited local climbing opportunities, SLO-OP (a loosely formed co-operative bouldering gym) was established in a Self Storage unit in 2002 by founding members Paul Hatalsky, Julie Workman, and Yishai Horowitz (now all investors in the new entity). Horowitz conceived of the idea after a trip to New Zealand where he saw something similar.
Despite the odds against it: small size – only 400 square feet and ten feet tall, the very overhanging, bouldering-specific homemade walls, financially broke even within its first month of operation, and no advertising budget, SLO-Op continued to grow and attract new climbers until the loss of its lease in July 2005.
Finally, in March 2006, Horowitz found a new location and galvanized the community into action, using volunteers to construct a steel-framed building using money on loan from interested climbers. The result? SLO-Op II. We filed as an LLC and a non-profit and became the country’s official first non-profit bouldering gym.
And then it got bigger and we got better. We built a bigger facility again for SLO Op III in 2009.
The idea has spawned a huge movement toward smaller co-op-type bouldering gyms all over the world and we couldn’t be more honored. We opened a second location in Santa Maria in 2015 – and called it The Pad - a 10,000 square foot facility with expanded kids’ program and social outreach.
And then, for good measure, we tore down SLO Op III, became a for-profit so we could take on bank loans and investors, and are now The Pad Climbing - SLO, circa 2017, with 14,000 square feet or roped climbing, bouldering, weights, and yoga studios.
It's our goal to be the best at all the things. Let us know how we're doing and . . .
THANKS FOR JOINING US ON THIS JOURNEY.