Sixty Foot discussed on The Opening Bell
A week from the union's strike fund and the clothing company forever twenty one is filing for bankruptcy the company is looking to continue operating as it restructures its business the fashion retailer says it will likely close most of its stores in Asia and Europe while there are reports that at least one hundred U. S. locations could also clothes shopping mall fixture is struggling as shoppers turned toward the internet to buy clothing. let's begin this morning with the Chicago start up its capitalizing on a new fitness trend of indoor climbing the co founder and business director of first ascent climbing and fitness is with this this morning John shepherd John good morning welcome to the opening bell Steve good morning thank you we're excited to have you in today because I think this is a story your story is about a business that comes from an idea that starts building in your right at the bottom floor of that are you yeah I'm a first descent is a new company and more from Chicago and we opened our doors at our first location which is first ascent Avondale in twenty fifteen. so talk to us a little bit about first descent where do you get the idea how did you get the idea from the from paper to the actual Jim the climbing gym sure well I think. you know so I if we if there's four co founders on the team I am I being one of them and my funders are Dan Joe Dave and and myself and I think we each have a little bit different story about how we all came together but I can give mine and that is actually Dan and I my co founder were really good friends in college we actually started climbing is engineers and the when we're an engineering school together and when we are at the climbing gym I remember you know back in two thousand three four thinking many times like this this week we start going to a climbing gym in an Arbor Michigan called planet rock can meet member talking about just having a ton of fun thing in this would be a fun business down so that's kind of the backstory years and years later I came to Chicago to work as an attorney and I was working at Kirkland and Ellis in their intellectual property group. the day I started my job I was like okay this this job is great but it's gonna be stressful I need an outlet so I got on Google to look for where is the nearest climbing gym and I saw there was none like there's just really no options in Chicago there is a few small ones here and there but they weren't open good hours or they're hard to get to so I I remember I immediately called up Dan and said remember how we used to joke about opening a climbing gym Chicago doesn't have one when you think about that and I remember that conversation very first one he was like let's do it I'm moving my family there he was living in New York at the time and they actually within a couple months picked up and moved here and we lived in an apartment together to work on first descents business plan nights and weekends while we were both working jobs full time so that's how it started so in the end so that is the business plan work you're sitting down you're working on this business plan what is the driving factor in moving forward with it well I we both saw the opportunity and I think the opportunity is that indoor rock climbing is one of the nation's fastest growing sports it's been proven to be like really popular all in the east and west coasts indoor climbing kind of evolve their first because it was a training mechanism for people who really did outdoor climbing but need a place to train maybe in the off season or like after work of the Midwest was kind of slower to get indoor climbing gyms and that in there for Chicago represented a great opportunity because you know we're cities like San Francisco or other season by Boston has like five six gyms and other west coast cities have a lesser coverage didn't have anything like a modern new large like really kind of like inspiring indoor climbing gym so we saw an opportunity and you asked about writing the business plan well you know we kind of saw some of the major obstacles were number one finding the right real estate you know we need a place where we could build a large thirty thousand square foot building with sixty foot tall height stood kind of replicate into the haven't indoor cliffs and we also need a place to get a parking needed to work financially and then we also need to find investors so those are two. the big obstacles to getting this thing started based on your experience with the did you sort of just know and have the sense that people would come if you build it or did you were there any kind of surveys involved how did you get going to gauge interest in this so yes we had the sense in that we knew we had to guide in saying this was going to do great in Chicago we had both lived in other markets cities where you know you eat a decade ago a lot of people were moving back to cities and kind of reinvigorating the urban scene yeah millennials and things are moving back and and kind of like relishing in I think all the experiences that cities had so we knew we had our customer here in Chicago that was it wasn't as understood very well by are the potential investors we're approaching so that took a long time we spent we met with like people in the real estate world we met with people my kind of the institutional investment world I think the one of the big hurdles was in the Midwest and Chicago in particular most people hadn't even thought of or even heard of rock climbing so we'd be talking about it and people would think what is this is this kind of like an indoor trampoline park for kids birthdays or something and you know we knew instinctively this is a it's a it's like a fitness gym it's a membership based thing it's something that adults too it's not just for kids birthdays to help people understand that who had never really seen it was that was a challenge so yeah that was that was something we ran into John shepherd with this this morning co founder and business director first ascent climbing and fitness John hang on we need to take a quick break we'll come back with more of our conversation about indoor climbing and first descents climb up from start up to a Chicago business now as we continue the opening bell but first at five eighteen we need to take a quick break to obey traffic in a couple of business headlines first to WGN traffic central merry band of all is there this morning morning merry Hey good morning traffic is sponsored by Amazon a very dense fog dealing with that this morning especially and cook to page Kane Kendall lake and McEnery county just to name a few so give yourself some extra time this morning especially for taking the CTA blue line this. happened Friday where it's not operate now between Rosemont and here this is going on until October seven some signal work there so shuttle buses are in place no major build up on most of the expressway.