Five years ago, Dan Rose and Max Poppel were out of towners from the northeast who loved Chattanooga for its lively, outdoor recreation scene. It was the Triple Crown Bouldering Series that first introduced them to southern climbing and got them hooked. Since then, they have moved to Chattanooga, tapped into the community, and discovered a missing niche, a downtown hub for climbers and adventure travelers. Their mission: fill this niche with their uncommon hostel, The Crash Pad on Main Street. Having broken ground in 2011, Dan and Max are now on their way to realizing this mission and further establishing Chattanooga as a premiere destination for outdoor recreation.
From an outsider perspective, Chattanooga lacked a base camp for climbers and outdoor enthusiasts. The Red River Gorge has Miguel’s, Yosemite Valley has Camp 4, and now Chattanooga will have The Crash Pad. Dan and Max’s original idea, to build a climber campground in the Suck Creek area has evolved into creating an urban hostel. This evolution occurred as Dan and Max built their business model and fell in love with a downtown Chatt location that will offer them a broader user base than just climbers and adventure travelers. They chose their Main Street location for several reasons. They loved the energy, flavor, and limitless potential of Main Street as it undergoes a storybook period of revitalization. The Crashpad will now have its own chapter in that story. Dan and Max have enjoyed support and encouragement from other Main St. businesses, and the two have already partnered with Niedlov’s bakery to provide breakfast for their guests.
Besides their choice of location, these two have done their homework on American hostels. Why will the Crash Pad be an uncommon hostel? The two flew to the west coast and visited fifteen plus urban hostels from San Diego to Seattle. They want to avoid the common criticisms of cheap hostels: squeaky bunks, thin walls, and dirty bathrooms. The Crash Pad will be clean, LEED certified, and encourage a communal vibe on the inside while providing plenty of attractive nuisances like free wifi, a patio area for grilling and picnicking, a slack line, and a hangboard.
Dan and Max jokingly admitted to me the biggest challenge to starting their own business was choosing a name. Dan tells me that he had a eureka moment when he came up with the name for The Crash Pad. The two chuckle, and they admit they have overcome their challenges because they had prepared for the worst and rolled with the punches. It’s all about attitude for these two. Honestly, they say, starting the Crash Pad has taken more work than they had anticipated, but it also allows them more free time to purse their passion, climbing. By the looks and attitude of these two, that probably won’t change much once The Crash Pad is open for business. In the future, they hope to open a full service restaurant and bar associated with the hostel, but that’s an idea for another day. When I ask if they have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, they tell me, if you are young, blissfully unencumbered, then go for it.
Come to Main Street right now and check it out as the Crash Pad literally raises its roof! Or check follow their progress online at www.crashpadchattanooga.com.