Stone Co. Climbing has planned to open this fall and the staff are excited to bring new activity and open up more opportunities for students.
The gymnasium is a 12,000 square foot facility that will provide bouldering and areas for yoga, weight training and fitness, a lounge area and retail space for customers to purchase equipment climbing.
John Pritchard, owner of Stone Co. and Class of 2008, said he was thrilled to be back at College Station. After meeting his business partner Stewart Slack, the two made business plans for more than two years, Slack said the surprise of the COVID-19 pandemic made them consider various locations, ultimately choosing College. Station.
“When COVID[-19] hit, it paused what we were working on,” Pritchard said. “We really dove into the locations even more, because we had a bit more time to do that.”
Located off Graham Road, Pritchard said South College Station’s accessibility and growth environment was the main reason they settled on the site. The people helping to construct the building are climbers and have the same values as the company, Pritchard said.
“Our mission is to build a strong community through indoor climbing,” Pritchard said. “It’s really about getting together with friends or making friends.”
After brainstorming different names, Pritchard said they wanted the company to have a name with character. The Co. in the company’s name signifies business, but also community, Pritchard said. Their logo, a mountain goat, or ibex, highlights the values that the company wants to encourage such as adventure, courage, daring and fun through great climbing.
“It almost mirrors our mission — to build a strong community through rock climbing,” Pritchard said.
Co-owner Stewart Slack said he started spending more time at available climbing gyms in Dallas after graduating from college. While on a climbing trip with a friend, Slack started talking about the growing popularity over the years in climbing gyms and started his own business plan. When he met Pritchard at church, Slack said they had a chat about what he was working on and the two met the next day to start the start of Stone Co.
About 75% of the gym will be bouldering space, Slack said. The gym will only offer bouldering, not rope climbing, Slack said. The bouldering area will explore the different levels on the v-scale, and routes will be rotated every month or so, Slack said.
“If you’re coming for the first time, you’re going to climb V0, but each level is a big step up, which keeps you coming back,” Slack said. “It keeps you motivated to take it to the next level, and that’s a really good thing when you’ve been working on a problem for like two weeks and you finally get it.”
The gym will offer both rock climbing and yoga classes, and the staff will all be climbers with varying levels of experience, Slack said.
“For a lot of people, I feel like they’re missing life and connecting with other people, and this is an opportunity to do that,” Slack said. “People come to climb but they stay for this community and for the people they meet.”
Maritza Bailey, events coordinator, said she worked at Stone Co. in addition to her job in the admissions office for Texas A&M because of her passion for climbing and people. Bailey said she plans to establish a presence for Stone Co. through the business instagram, Facebook and the website newsletter.
For the grand opening, Stone Co. plans to partner with other local businesses as well as host rock climbing giveaways and demonstrations, Bailey said. The company plans to hold theme nights for the various programs in the future, Bailey said.
“[Pritchard and Slack] have invested their lives in this business,” Bailey said. “Their passion to contribute something to the community is great.”