Climbing gyms, indoor rec facilities retaining foothold despite plunging economy

By Kay Nolan,  August 19, 2010

Kay Nolan is a contributing writer for This article ran in the August 19, 2010 issue.

With so many businesses closing or hanging on by a thread during the recession, Adventure Rock, an indoor rock climbing gym in suburban Milwaukee that opened in 1991, just had its best year ever. It and other indoor sports facilities in Wisconsin are doing things like hiring and planning new construction — activities that for other luxury businesses are well out of reach these days.

“We added a lot of staff,” said Adventure Rock manager Eric Olson. “Some areas of our business are down, but overall revenue is up double digits. Kids’ birthday parties are down, but membership is way up. We had by far our best year ever as of the end of October. “