Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, with over 36 million players last year. Coming to Denver in 2024, Camp Pickle gets in the game with its unique food and game experience.
Robert Thompson, CEO of Camp Pickleball Growth Co., has created a unique concept for pickleball fanatics and adults who want to return to the nostalgia of summer camp. “Pickleball has the widest demographic range we’ve ever seen in the entertainment category,” said Thompson. “I wanted to create a concept that appealed to 16-year-olds all the way to 90-year-olds, with many millennial parents and families mixed in between. So, I landed on a 1940s summer camp and national park culture theme.”
Inspired by old memorabilia, Thompson has been dreaming of this adult summer camp for years. “I own a small library of national park books and 1940s advertisements. I’ve wanted to develop a concept using park culture for most of my career and finally found the perfect fit with Camp Pickle,” said Thompson.
Over a 25-year career, Thompson has been an operator and concept man. He creates ideas that come to life with a team cultivated around him. Close friends and collaboration partners, FAM, founded by Architect Frank Mataipule and Interior Designer, Megan Freckelton, who worked in-house for the Punch Bowl Social concept, is also helping create Camp Pickle.
“Megan and Frank are my go-to collaborators,” exclaimed Thompson.
Get hyped, Denver, as Camp Pickle is coming to the DTC area in 2024. This business spans over five acres of land and 75,000 sq ft of activation space. Thompson focuses on creating an environment filled with food, beverage and a heap of fun. “We will also have eight duckpin bowling lanes, three private karaoke rooms and 10 dart lanes, there’s more to play than just pickleball,” said Thompson.
When it comes to playing pickleball at Camp Pickle, open play is available, but reservations will be available and strongly suggested once everything is a go on the technology side. There will be 14 courts to play on, with 11 indoor.
No need to arrange for that babysitter, Camp Pickle is casting its net for a wide customer range. Advertised as a camp for adults, Thompson is a family man himself, with three young boys. “I’ve created so many beverage-forward concepts over my career, and it has been nice developing something my wife and I can do with our kids at any hour we will be open,” said Thompson.
Without food and beverage, this place would just be a paddle club. What sets Camp Pickle apart from other courts is the incorporation of hospitality. “With Camp Pickle, we are the first to connect pickleball to a sophisticated culinary and beverage platform,” said Thompson. Plus, you can also expect to see its own merch line and paddles come in the future.
Not only will you see Thompon’s face out and about around the business, but you can also catch him on the court with his disgusting topspin hits and dinks all whilst using his Joola paddle.
Connect with Camp Pickle on Instagram and on Facebook. For general inquiries follow this link.
All photos provided from Camp Pickle.