An Interview with Daniel Mongrain, the owner of Clip ‘n Climb Laval
With over 200 locations worldwide, and plans to see the brand expand further into new countries and cities, it is fair to say that Clip ‘n Climb is gaining in popularity with both climbers and investors.
For aspiring Clip ‘n Climb investors, the one question we always get asked is, “What is it like to own a Clip ‘n Climb centre?” To give potential owners an insight, we’ve spoken to one of our top performing centres in the world.
In the beginning
Clip ‘n Climb Laval, Canada, is owned by Daniel Mongrain, whose journey to becoming an owner started in a similar way to many of our owners – by experiencing Clip ‘n Climb firsthand.
“We were first introduced to the Clip ‘n Climb concept as customers when we went to the Clip ‘n Climb in Gatineau as a family. We were flabbergasted by the concept. We have 3 kids of various ages and have always had a hard time finding a family activity where all of them, as well as us parents, can be challenged and have fun.”
From this moment, Daniel decided to take the next steps to becoming a Clip ‘n Climb owner, and while he faced some challenges to begin with, his choice of investing in Clip ‘n Climb was never in question.
“The quality of the structures and the innovation of the challenges are well beyond the competition and the me-too copycats. The main challenge was finding the right location. 35 foot high ceilings, with commercial zoning, good visibility, and affordable rent is very difficult to find.”
Becoming a Clip ‘n Climb owner
After overcoming the hurdle of finding the right location, Daniel opened the Laval site in 2014 and has welcomed over 250,000 climbers to his centre since. The Laval site has also been recognised by regional tourism awards.
This year, Daniel and his team won the Tourisme Excellence Award, their fourth since opening over four years ago.
“This one is special because of its scope and what it is for. The Tourisme Excellence Award selects attractions across the entire province of Quebec, so competition is fierce. The award is for accessibility of our attraction. This is a great validation of our recent efforts since we have recently developed ergotherapy sessions, in collaboration with local clinics, in order to help children with physical limitations develop their motor skills in a fun environment.”
At the heart of this success is Daniel’s 21 members of staff who are mostly part-time. While hiring and keeping part-time staff can sometimes be a challenge in the leisure and attractions industry, Daniel’s approach to this issue is reaping rewards.
“We do group interviews every 3 months and hire mostly based on personality and the ability to interact positively with people they’ve never met before. Staff need to be comfortable with heights, but not necessarily have climbing experience; which we can provide training for and for which they will progress quickly once hired.”
Future growth on the agenda
With a great facility, dedicated members of staff and recognition from the regional tourism and local community groups, Daniel is building on his success by opening a brand new site on Montreal’s South Shore.
“The next step is definitely to open a new site. We plan to open in early 2020 and have a combination offering which will include a Ninja Run as well as Clip ‘n Climb. We plan to have a much larger capacity, with a climbing gym of up to 40 challenges.”
“Our biggest challenge [again] in opening a new site is to find the best location. We’ve been looking for six months and we are still looking for a suitable site.”
Advice for aspiring Clip ‘n Climb owners
“I’m really proud to be part of a growing brand name that is rapidly gaining worldwide recognition. I’m really happy also about the safety aspect of the concept.”
“I would say to take your time in planning, finding the right site, of the right size for the population in your area, with plenty of space for birthday parties, which are a major revenue generator.”
“Once the doors are open, quiet moments are few and far in between.”