The Denver Bouldering Club (DBC) started in 2009 when three local climbers – Thomas Betterton, Lee Payne, and Kevin Brown – decided that Denver’s passion for climbing and the outdoors deserved a better indoor training facility.
What began as a dream to construct a small training center has now grown into one of the best climbing gyms in Colorado – a gathering place where climbers can learn, train and share their love of climbing. “It’s a place for strong climbers to push themselves and for passionate beginners to learn from the most experienced in the city,” says Payne.
Since its humble beginnings, the DBC has doubled in size and created eight jobs for local climbing enthusiasts. “Listening and responding to members has been a guiding principle for growth and has led to many valued and effective business and facility improvements,” Betterton says.
With incredible training opportunities including expert climbing instruction and classes, the top-notch DBC facility now features over 7,000 square feet of climbing space, 15-foot bouldering walls, a training area and workout equipment, 24/7 hour access for members, free Wi-Fi and a climbing media center.
The DBC has become a preferred place for local climbers to learn and hone their craft. And, the owners, employees and members all take pride in their space. Payne says, “Our members are amazing. They have lent a hand to everything from donated coffee pots and climbing holds to bringing in cupcakes and other baked goods! It’s their gym too, and they take pride in its well-being by giving back in special ways. Which is good, ‘cause none of the owners are very good at baking.”
Throughout the DBC’s journey, Betterton says the expert advice he received from the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has contributed to his growth and success. “We came into this with a lot of climbing-related knowledge and very little business expertise. [Jim Olp] is a great sounding board and has given me the best business advice I have ever received,” Betterton says.
Thomas says SBDC Business Consultant Jim Olp taught him “not to get discouraged when things don’t go as planned,” regardless of expenses, timing, and workload. Despite any challenges along the way, the DBC is a great example of a local business that was built from the ground up by local entrepreneurs who are passionate about their industry, their community and their energizing workspace.