The Pad Climbing HQ team

2021 Wrap Up Post

I think the biggest thing about this post is that I’m writing it. After 20 years of running this community – we’re finally on the planning side of operating the climbing gyms and not just on the reactionary/learning side.

2020 had me absolutely wondering if it was time to just wind up and give up – we aren’t an essential or commodified service, and if there was going to be a pandemic, we were absolutely vulnerable. This time last year, we were closed again for a third time, having had to lose all of our beloved part time staff and limping by, wondering if we’d be running out of money before aid arrived.

2021 vindicated our choices to keep our amazing team employed throughout 2020. It’s the reason that we’re here today. We not only were able to keep the lights on, but we found all the holes in our organization and diligently worked to fill them. We are so grateful to those who choose to sustain us through 2020 so we could get to 2021, and now, while expenses have soared, we’re able to look forward to a prosperous 2022.

Which, by the way, is the 20th anniversary of the community in San Luis Obispo. It’s hard to say 20th Anniversary of the Pad, because it was SLO Op first, but it’s been the same basic people running it, so we’re calling it good.

Thanks to a lot of government aid, local grants, tax incentives, insurance refunds, hardworking local and national advocates, and the support of our community – we are set up to make 2022 something worthy of a company having its 20th anniversary. 

20 years is a lot of learning and growing. It’s a lot of mistakes and a lot of disappointment. This thing started as a passion project in a storage unit and it remains a passion project today for everyone involved. One thing I’m really proud of my team for is our ability to support one another – we’re showing every day that if you trust, collaborate, and pitch in as needed while giving space to be human absolutely works if you don’t just pay it lip service. 

We are here, not because of dollar signs, power, or connections – we’re here because of people – because of a much broader community than ourselves. It’s always been this way and we aim to keep it that way.

Here’s some things to look forward to:

  • Two new locations opening up – we’re still working hard on the Santa Barbara project and are in the early stages of bringing back climbing to the Santa Maria community thanks to a partner. We’ll be able to reach underserved markets as well as expand career opportunities for those who want to grow with us.
  • We’re committed to putting on some really amazing events, starting with a Grand Reopening for the Henderson location (we never got a chance to properly introduce ourselves) and a 20th Anniversary party in SLO.
  • Our new Climbing Director has a beautiful vision to help our members and interested parties get more deeply rooted into our community and continue to grow it.
  • Our more robust marketing team is committed to making sure we never hear “we don’t know what’s going on” ever again. Not only that, but we’re committed to sharing our values as much as we can, and leveraging our audience for the good of our community.
  • Internally, our relations and HR team is working hard to produce the best training material, resources, and support both for work and regular life that we can.
  • We’ll be putting merchandise online and focusing on producing more cool stuff you’ll love in order to rep your community and its values.
  • Our outreach team is working to revamp our Climb4Community program to make it easier and more accessible for all members in our community while partnering to expand the programs to other gyms, bring on more community partners, get us Green certified in Henderson, and develop accountability to you to show you what we do for the community throughout the year.
We have committed to our people and are proud to be an employee-owned and -led business. There’s lots of good to look forward to in 2022, and I hope you’re excited for the ride along with us!
The Pad Climbing