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Owners of Triangle Rock Club 2014 SBA NC Small Business Persons of the Year

Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Release Number: 
Advisory Number: 
Mike Ernandes 704-344-6588

CHARLOTTE – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has named the owners of Triangle Rock Club (TRC) in Morrisville, North Carolina Small Business Persons of the Year for 2014. The winners are Managing Partners Andrew Kratz and Joel Graybeal.

TRC is an indoor rock climbing gym with two locations, Morrisville and North Raleigh. Managing Partner, Andrew Kratz said “It’s a great honor to win this award. Our success is a testament to the work of our staff who shares our passion for climbing with our members and guests.”

The criteria for the award include: Staying power – a substantiated history as an established business, growth in number of employees, innovativeness of product/service offered and contributions to community-oriented projects.

Kratz, a former Marine, and Graybeal, an ex-mortgage banker, both share a passion for rock climbing. Kratz was the High Adventure Instructor at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia before opening TRC’s Morrisville location in 2007. Graybeal met Kratz as a client when the business opened and joined the firm as a managing partner in 2012.

The SBA has assisted Kratz and Graybeal in their climb to success with funding through the SBA 504 and 7(a) loan programs. In three rounds of funding totaling over $5.5 million dollars, the pair has quickly grown their business and has plans for even more growth. Funding was provided by SBA 504 Lenders Self-Help Ventures Fund, BEFCOR in addition to VantageSouth and SunTrust Bank.

The Morrisville expansion project will fund construction of an additional building, and will be adding 17,000 square feet of climbing terrain to the existing 9000 square feet in the original facility. Upon completion, the Morrisville facility will be the largest and tallest climbing gym in five states. The owners attribute their success to their focus on the customer experience and the quality of the staff.

Since 2010, TRC has grown from 21 employees in 2010 to a staff of over 50. In addition to staff growth, revenues have also steadily increased from $330,000 in 2009 to over $1.5 million in 2013. Graybeal added “we would not have been able to grow our business at the pace we have without the great lending terms we have gotten thru the three rounds of SBA financing to purchase real estate and equipment.”

The award will be presented locally at the 2014 Small Business Week Luncheon hosted by The Support Center on Thursday May 8, 2014 at the North Raleigh Hilton.

TRC also holds a strong commitment to give back to the community. TRC actively supports public and private schools plus a whole host of charities. TRC supports the Durham Ronald McDonald House (RMH) through its new fund raising event called the Climbathon, where teams of climbers climbed overnight from 8pm until 8am the next day. In two events, TRC raised over $100,000 for the Durham RMH. Kratz and Graybeal will head to Washington DC with winners from 50 other states, Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam during the annual celebration of National Small Business Week, May 12-16. One business will be selected as National Small Business Person of the Year.

For more information contact Mike Ernandes at mike.ernandes@sba.gov or Joel Graybeal of TRC at joel@trianglerockclub.com or 919-280-7732.


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