As part of our March/April issue we spoke to six businesses with a Sheffield base who moved to the city because of the great outdoors.
Sam Whittaker – Climbing Works
What made you start your business?
The Climbing Works opened in December of 2006 but before myself and my now business partner were working for other companies. We both loved bouldering and saw a gap in the market to bring the outdoors, indoors. We wanted to create a friendly environment that people of all ages and abilities could use. In 2013 we expanded the business with the introduction of the ‘Mini Works’ our child focused centre which has done really well.
How would you describe your business?
Bouldering is basically climbing without ropes and harnesses above a soft-matted area. It’s really growing in popularity with it becoming an Olympic sport in 2020 meaning the number of centres in the UK has grown. I think what makes The Climbing Works unique is our experience. We have been open for 12 years and were the world’s largest bouldering centre for many years. I would also say that our bouldering experience has allowed us to create walls that make a really fun climb and we reset them every few months to change things up.
Why set up in Sheffield?
I have lived in Sheffield for 15 years now. I originally lived in Manchester and then Leeds for a little bit before moving here. I was really drawn to Sheffield because of the climbing and its close proximity to the Peak District which means I can get out whenever I like. Sheffield has a great sense of community and it’s been a fantastic place to set up the business.
Do you have any plans to expand further in the future?
Yes, since starting in 2006, things have really taken off. We have become a world-renowned bouldering centre and in 2014 we were the first UK bouldering centre to be awarded National Performance Centre status. We currently have about 15,000 sqft of bouldering space with the main centre and Mini Works but we are looking at taking over another 10,000 sqft unit within the business park we are currently in.