Parkour gymnasium expands in Boulder
Last Updated: 19:32 June 27, 2013
The parkour and free-running training company recently secured new digs to triple the size of its Boulder headquarters.
Parkour, a word derived from a French-style military obstacle course training "parcours du combatant," is a training discipline where people move quickly through a given environment, using only their bodies to propel themselves over and around obstacles in a fluid, efficient manner. In the simplest sense, it's all of the catapulting over stair railings and leaping off park benches that your parents scolded you for when you were 7 years old - just taken to another level.
Apex leased 10,705 square feet of space at 3850 Frontier Ave., Suite 250, in Boulder from Flax Pond LLC. Apex is in the process of moving from 5757 Arapahoe Ave. and is planning to be out of that space by July 1.
The new lease has a five-year term. The rate was not disclosed.
"Once this gym is built-out and finished ... I can confidently say it will be one of the top five, if not the best, parkour gym in the world," Apex founder Ryan Ford said this week. "You're going to see a ton of new parkour gyms opening up, and this one is kind of leading the way for that."
Ford, 26, founded Apex while a sophomore at the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2006 and began teaching the discipline. He opened his first gym two years later in Denver before moving that one to Englewood, and he is still the sole owner there. He has two co-owners in the Boulder gym, Justin Sikkema and Amos Rendao. There are also gyms in Loveland and Concord, California that license the Apex brand and curriculum, and new gyms will do the same in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins within the next 6-12 months.
The privately held Apex doesn't disclose revenue figures. Ford said the company typically employs three to five full-time staff in Boulder along with several other part-timers. Ford and his partners have grown the company organically, without investors or loans.
"People all over the country are starting to talk to us about opening another Apex Movement in other places," said Ford, who graduated from CU with a business degree in 2009. "But we're trying not to grow too quickly here, so they have to be the perfect fit."
Ford said Apex's new location will include obstacles built inside that replicate mini buildings and other structures, and will include about 12,000 or so square feet when built out. New coaching certifications and other national events will be run out of the location. Apex Movement also has a professional team that does performances.
While parkour at its core is about navigating the environment around you, Ford said the Apex gyms provide a place where people can learn the discipline in a safe environment rather than by the brutal trial and error he employed when he first got into it in high school.
"I don't see us as a workout facility," Ford said. "It's more like an educational facility ... so that (trainees) can apply this anywhere. That's the goal is to keep this safe and smart."
Nate Litsey and Chad Henry of The W.W. Reynolds Cos. Inc. represented the tenant in the lease on Frontier Avenue, negotiating directly with Flax Pond.
For a video of parkour and freerunning visit this link: http://apexmovementboulder.com/page.php?i=1.
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