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Pickleball food-and-drink spot set to open in Colorado in 2024

The first two locations will be in Colorado and Alabama, with 10 planned by the second quarter of 2026.
Credit: Courtesy of Camp Pickle
Camp Pickle indoor/outdoor facilities are based on the concept of 1940s-era national park camping facilities and will feature fire pits, picnic areas and tent cabana, along with 10 to 14 pickleball courts.

DENVER — Believing that the timing is prescient, Punch Bowl Social founder Robert Thompson is getting back into the “eatertainment” sector and launching a chain of food-and-drink-based pickleball facilities, with one of the first two spots set to open in Colorado in the summer of 2024.

Camp Pickle aims to take America’s fastest-growing sport beyond the realm of tennis-club-like facilities and merge it with campfire-themed food, scratch-made cocktails and multiuse spaces where friends can play games and then gather around picnic tables to socialize.

Thompson told Denver Business Journal that he has lined up an investment group to fund 10 locations that he expects to open by the second quarter of 2026 and already is looking to franchise the concept for quick expansion to take advantage of the sport’s current popularity.

Pickleball, for the uninitiated, combines aspects of tennis, badminton and ping pong by having players hit Wiffle balls over lowered tennis nets on badminton-sized courts with rackets that approximate a larger version of table-tennis paddles. About 5 million people nationally play the sport now, but Thompson said his research showed that number could reach 40 million by 2030 — an audience that equals the combined size of tennis and golf in the United States.

> Read the rest of the story at Denver Business Journal.

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