Movement makes plans to add a third location
Mike and Anne-Worley Moelter are climbers. And climbers are always looking for ways to ascend higher, to reach new summits.
That mentality and relentless drive to climb higher has served this husband-and-wife team well in their business life as the owners of Movement Climbing + Fitness facilities, which are among the most respected and renowned climbing facilities in the country.
The first Movement Climbing + Fitness – which opened in Boulder, Colo., in 2009 – takes up 22,500 square feet of space. The second Movement location, in Denver, takes up 32,500 square feet. And the third Movement, set to be the second facility in Denver, will have 40,000 square feet.
Notice a trend?
“We’re getting bigger and bigger,” said Anne-Worley Moelter, who is the former Executive Director of USA Climbing, the national governing body of competitive climbing in the United States.
“We’ve run climbing competitions all around the country, and we took the U.S. team to international competitions, so we got to visit climbing gyms all over the country and all around the world. When we came back to Boulder, we both felt like we had a concept of combining climbing with really high-quality fitness offerings, such as yoga, cycling and fitness classes, that would take the existing facilities to the next level.”
Starting from the ground up
When the Moelters secured construction loans in 2007, it was First National Bank that won the couple’s business. In addition to a conventional business loan, Anne-Worley said, the bank also provided a “mini perm loan” (a short-term loan typically used during construction of commercial properties) that helped make sure the business got off the ground.
“If you recall, the economy was not doing so well,” she said. “The fact that First National Bank provided a mini perm loan really was, I believe, a lifesaver for the business because if we had had to go out and look for financing at that point, I don’t know what we would have done,” Anne-Worley said.
“From the very beginning First National stood behind us. Sometimes, when a recession happens, things can change, and they stood by us, and they’ve stood by us ever since with all the other facilities. It has been a great partnership.”
Movement Boulder features a combination of ample daylight, solar panels and solar thermal heaters that provide over 80 percent of Movement’s energy. Paired with high-quality, efficient building materials, Movement is considered one of the most environmentally friendly commercial buildings in the country.
“That was extremely important to us,” Anne-Worley said. “Not only to build a facility that was a nice space and felt good to go into, but we felt it was our responsibility to give back in as many ways as possible, and being energy efficient was one of them.
“We paid to have day lighting studies done so we could put in skylights so that on a sunny Colorado day, the facility can operate without any artificial lighting. Over the nearly eight years that we’ve been open, we have produced over 50 percent of the energy that we have needed to consume. For a building that size, we’re very proud of that.”
State-of-the-art climbing wall
As you might expect, considering the Moelters’ background in climbing, the climbing wall at Movement is cutting edge, thanks in part to Mike’s experience as a “route setter” – the person responsible for placing climbing holds for other climbers to follow. Mike, who is the former Operations Director of USA Climbing, is now one of four internationally certified route setters in the country.
“The holds in the climbing walls come on and off so you can change the routes,” Anne-Worley said. “Change the difficulty, the variety, the style. That really is the product.”
If you find a route you like at Movement, enjoy it while it lasts. New routes are created every six weeks.
“That has really given us a step up,” Anne-Worley said.
More than a climbing wall
With each Movement location employing about 60 people – many of whom are trainers in spin, yoga, weights, etc. – fitness is just as vital to the business’s success, Anne-Worley said.
“The wall is definitely the ‘wow factor,’ but we have strived to provide some of the highest quality classes in the Boulder and the Denver markets,” she said, “In Boulder, we offer between 45 and 55 classes a week, and in Denver we offer between 50 and 60. The idea is that we look at the whole person when they come into the facility. We want to offer complementary activities that they can do so they can come and do their climbing and then maybe the next day they’ll do a restorative yoga class and then the following day they’ll come and do a high intensity cardio workout. All of the features we offer complement each other well.”
Connecting with the community
Community, which includes the company’s extended family, is perhaps the most important of those solid cores. When a member of their team developed epilepsy late in life and needed financial help, Movement held a fundraiser. The first year, Movement raised $5,000. The second year, Movement partnered with the Boulder Climbing Community and raised $10,000. This year, $13,000 was raised for Mission Nepal. (There’s that aspiration to go higher and higher again.)
“The community aspect really speaks to the people that are part of Movement,” Anne-Worley said. “In the summertime, we have happy hours the first Friday of June, July and August. It’s just a chance for people to come hang out with the people that are in the Movement community.
“We also will do things with our youth teams, like trail cleanup days. We really enjoy getting personal with our community.”
It’s that same personalized attention that drew the Moelters to First National Bank.
“It’s First National’s capability to do what big banks can do, but they have the feel of a small bank,” Anne-Worley said. “The personalized attention – that’s just a perfect fit for Movement.”