ROBIC APPLAUDS THE GENEROSITY AND INGENUITY OF ITS CLIENTS. HERE IS THE INSPIRING STORY OF NOMAD BLOC!
A passion shared by four engineers has resulted in a concept that is unique in Canada! Babacar Daoust-Cissé, one of the founders of NOMAD BLOC, explains that he and his compatriots, all of whom are climbing enthusiasts, noticed a gap in the accessibility of outdoor climbing walls. In operation since 2017, the small business has generated a lot of interest in municipal, recreational, tourist and school circles. As a result, the 31-year-old mechanical engineer and his partner, Frédérick Coallier, left their jobs as engineers to become entrepreneurs.
What does NOMAD BLOC do? The company specializes in the manufacturing of portable climbing walls that can be transported anywhere with or without the help of a trailer. It offers three distinct products specific to different niche markets.
One is a structure developed for a specific location, such as, for example, the Olympic Games which were held in the city of Richmond, Vancouver. The Olympic center is set up to receive visitors and allow fans to practice their favorite sport. The structure being mobile, the City of Richmond can move it if necessary. NOMAD BLOCK is also in negotiations for developing a similar partnership with the City of Montreal.
NOMAD BLOC also offers a different type of structure for event needs whereby, once the event is over, the structure can be returned to its usual location.
Finally, NOMAD BLOC has a self-supporting structure permanently based at the Angus Shops in Montreal for the entire climbing season which lasts from mid-May to mid-October. “We designed this first structure and assembled it on a large trailer that can be placed at the location of our choice. We operate like an indoor climbing center, but outdoors, which is not done anywhere else.” says Mr. Daoust-Cissé proudly. The company therefore makes its investments profitable through the sale of single tickets as well as the purchase of seasonal packages.
NOMAD BLOC’s products are 100% Quebec-made and are assembled at the company’s warehouse in L’Assomption. For the time being, three people are working full-time on the project, which is growing in popularity with climbers, but also with indoor climbing centers who see an opportunity to offer outdoor climbing walls to their clientele.
NOMAD BLOC is also grateful for the advice she was given as well as the warm welcome it received from the indoor climbing centers.
NOMAD BLOC uses Russian cherry wood, the finest wood from a mechanical point of view, and galvanized steel for its structure, which has an almost infinite lifespan. However, considering that the wooden panels will have to be replaced one day, the young team is evaluating the possibility of using recycled materials in the future, in addition to using solar energy rather than electricity as it currently does. “We are pleased with the popularity of our offer. Climbing is a growing discipline and it’s great to be able to combine our technical training with our passion. We’re looking to expand into other Canadian cities and eventually have several structures in the United States.” says the one who sees the future in a good light.
NOMAD BLOC aspires to further develop the American market once the pandemic is over.
“Our plan this year was to enter the U.S. market but because of COVID-19, we decided to market in Canada only. The climbing market is much more developed in the United States. We hope that next year we will be able to enter the U.S. market.” says Babacar Daoust-Cissé.
From 2012 to 2017, the average annual growth of the indoor climbing wall industry was 3.9% in the United States. That’s 39% more than the 2.8% growth for the fitness club industry over approximately the same period. It is estimated that between 1,000 and 1,500 people a day are trying climbing for the first time in the United States.
Mr. Daoust-Cissé adds that the indoor climbing industry in North America is set to surpass the $1 billion mark in 2021 and that the sport’s global visibility will certainly take a huge leap forward with its first appearance at the 2021 Olympic Games.
ROBIC is convinced that such a talented team has everything in hand to establish a success that matches its ambitions. Hold on tight to reach new heights!
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