by COO – Kristin Horowitz
Yishai and I are the kind to go public as soon as we can but growing up from a loosely organized wall in a storage unit to a world-class rope gym has caused some major changes for how we’re used to operating. We get inquiries weekly or more from different locations about expanding and rumors (mostly because, again, we like to make sure our staff knows what’s up, and our friends) – and we want to get ahead of things:
Is The Pad coming to Goleta/Santa Barbara?
Yes. Yishai has been looking for an adequate building in the area for ten years, but none seemed to play out. In the meantime, we built the Santa Maria location (partly to stop anyone else from coming in – partly to support a totally underserved community with the Paddie love), and then expanding into our new digs in SLO. It was a good thing. We’ve learned a lot and stressed a ton and are now in a good place, with a good team, to bring the love to Santa Barbara. We do not intend on putting anyone out of business, nor killing what good has come from existing programs there – but there is a market that’s not being served, and that includes all of our friends, the original climbing area founders, and more. We’re not about money; we’re about community, and we’re locals – believe it or not, friends and family teem in SB. And we’re damn lucky because they’re the ones who are backing this expansion, too.
What’s the timeline?
We accidentally had the new project leaked when a reporter put it in Noozhawk. This also prompted us to make a Facebook page to communicate news as it came. Yes, it’s been kinda quiet – because we had a lease agreement nailed down, but then the landlord changed his minute when it came to pen on paper and we were looking again.
Good news is that the city of Goleta, the climbers, and even the construction firm we are looking at is pulling for us and we’re looking at a few places – just need to nail down the best location. Goleta/SB is a HARD market for a climbing gym to come into – that’s why we’ve been looking for 10 years. We probably wouldn’t keep going with this as aggressively if the community wasn’t coming out of the woodwork to support us. That’s what motivates us, you. That’s what made us get this far.
So, once a lease is signed (we’ll post on that Facebook page) – the MINIMUM opening date will be about 9 months from then as that’s how long it takes Walltopia and team to come together. It takes a long time to permit, engineer, and build a gym – luckily we’re great at pushing things.
Are there investments available?
We are still working on this – there are other locations in the works both immediately and in the future, so structuring things right, and making sure we take care of everyone the right way is important. We are looking at moving away from a community of small investors to larger ones who are scaling-minded and can help us there. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for you to be involved if you’re not that. We’re still – at heart, at least – the people that brought you the country’s first non-profit bouldering gym.
The point is, yes, there will be investments available in the form of shares. If you are interested, get on our notification list and we’ll email you info.