Press Releases

Outside the Office: Chris Hughes

Tuesday, 30 April, 2024

Chris Hughes found himself facing a challenge when he was looking to do something special for his son’s birthday. Determined to create a memorable experience, Chris set out to organize a celebration that would leave a lasting impact. Little did he know that this simple desire would lead him to an extraordinary encounter with Memphis Rox, a climbing gym and community center that was not yet open to the public. The journey would eventually have him leading as the chairman of the organization’s board of directors.CorporateClimb1The story began when Chris reached out to Jon Hawk, director of operations at Memphis Rox, asking if they could host the birthday party. Jon agreed, saying, “We can make something work for your son. It will be good training for our staff anyway!”

What started as a simple request for a birthday celebration evolved into a profound connection with Memphis Rox, an organization driven by inclusivity, community engagement, and empowerment. Through this encounter, Chris not only found a venue for his son’s birthday, but also discovered a community dedicated to making a difference in Memphis.

Chris Hughes is the founder and CEO of OsteoRemedies, a company focused on the revision of infections in orthopedics and spine by enhancing lives through innovative solutions. His involvement with Memphis Rox has highlighted the power of collaboration and shared values in creating meaningful experiences, particularly in the south Memphis community where it is located.Rox3

Memphis Rox is a unique climbing gym and community center that has become a symbol of hope and unity in Soulsville. Founded in 2018 by Hollywood director Tom Shadyac, Memphis Rox is not just a place for physical activity, but also a hub for social change, offering a wide range of programs and services aimed at fostering relationships across cultural, racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

Memphis Rox operates on an experimental pay-as-you-can admission model, the only gym of its kind in the country. This model ensures that no one is turned away due to an inability to pay, making climbing and fitness accessible to all, especially the underserved youth of Memphis. Volunteer hours can serve as “currency” for those who cannot afford memberships, allowing everyone the opportunity to climb and be part of the community.

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Under Chris’s leadership as board chair, Memphis Rox has provided:

  • Opportunities for young people to experience the outdoors with trips to Ecudaor, California, Colorado, Washington State and all over the south. Rox even had a team go to Kenya to climb Mt. Kenya as part of an upcoming Hulu docuseries following several members of the Memphis Rox community.
  • Free lunches through the in-house cafe Juice Almighty. 38106 is a USDA-designated food desert, and the free lunch initiative that started during Covid has continued to provide hundreds of free meals each week to residents.
  • Food education and clean eating through the Rox juice bar and low-cost staples through the sundry store.
  • Adaptive climbing opportunities, making the sport accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • Partnerships with key community stakeholders to meet essential needs, including a community closet where community members can purchase household items, clothes and food at an affordable cost.
  • A safe space for local youth, aiming to keep kids in school and provide them with positive options for social connections. A mentorship program pairs kids with staff members to promote personal growth and development.

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“Memphis Rox exemplifies how a climbing gym can become a hub for diversity, inclusivity and community,” said Chris. “Its innovative pay-what-you-can model and wide range of programs and services has made it a vital resource in Soulsville and beyond. I invite everyone to come and experience the vibrant community at Memphis Rox.”

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