After Chouinard Equipment filed for bankruptcy in December, 1989, its former staff decided to create the first employee-owned company in the climbing industry and Black Diamond Equipment was born.
With only a few employees and revenues of less than $5 million, the company continued the founder’s passion for the sports. What bound the employees together was their enthusiasm for climbing, skiing, and exploring the environments where these sports take place.
Realizing it made sense to relocate the company’s headquarters from southern California to be near world-class rock climbing, ice climbing and back country skiing, the company used an $800,000 SBA-guaranteed loan and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.
In 1995, in response to rapid growth, Black Diamond received a second $807,000 SBA-backed loan to fund further expansion. Since then, annual revenues have reached $90 million and the company has added nearly 200 new employees to create a staff of more than 400 people.