Nearly three years after opening, owners and operators of Southside hostel The Crash Pad said they feel like they are firmly established in the community, but they joke that they haven’t had to close the doors yet.

“Our overall investment idea was to create this hostel that can be an amazing community spot,” co-owner Max Poppel said.

The plan was that the hostel would pay for itself. It was more of a “labor of love,” co-owner Dan Rose said. Phase two involved adding The Flying Squirrel, which is the bar next door to The Crash Pad.


The Flying Squirrel opened in May 2013 and is meant to be more of the revenue producer, Poppel said.

“Now, we are really starting to see it take off,” he said of the bar/restaurant. “Things are going well.”

Poppel and Rose are rock climbers turned entrepreneurs. They didn’t move to Chattanooga with plans to start a business. Like many others, they came here for the outdoor recreation.

Both went to Skidmore College in upstate New York and moved to Chattanooga about nine years ago.

Now, they are hosting people who come to Chattanooga, fall in love with the city and eventually move here. It’s a story that’s becoming more common.

John Ying, general manager of The Crash Pad,was one of the hostel’s first guests in 2011. He moved here the next month, he said. He had been looking for a job in Washington, D.C., as a financial analyst.

“[The Crash Pad] was a cool opportunity, a young company that met a lot of my values,” he said.

If you go

What: The Crash Pad’s three-year anniversary party

When: June 7, 12 p.m.-12 a.m.

Where: 29 Johnson St.

How much: Free, except for beer and food

The hostel and bar have developed along with the Southside in recent years.

Now, The Flying Squirrel and The Crash Pad complement each other. The bar helps the hostel and vice versa.

Compton Fields, the hostel’s event manager, said that locals tend to wander over to The Crash Pad to see what it’s about. And other Southside businesses send tourists looking for a place to stay to The Crash Pad.

The team is planning an anniversary celebration June 7. There will be events starting at about noon at The Flying Squirrel and The Crash Pad. For example, there will be open mic at the bar, and musicians with the Folk School will perform. There will also be free outdoor yoga and a DJ at night.

The team has modified the way they do parties a bit since they first opened, when they had dance parties that went into the early morning hours.

Ying said this event is about thanking the community. The team takes their roles as ambassadors for the city seriously, and they want to give back.

“It’s really for the city of Chattanooga and its people that … made us the steward of the climbing community and the outdoor community,” he said.

Honored by Haslam
Gov. Bill Haslam recently announced the winners of the 2014 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards.

The Crash Pad and The Flying Squirrel won in the category of Excellence in Building Green. Leaders noted several factors that influenced the win.

For example, The Crash Pad became the world’s first LEEDPlatinum hostel in 2012, according to a release from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Then, they partnered with the city of Chattanooga to help solve stormwater concerns onJohnson Street, a forgotten street in front of their businesses, also according to the news release.

Leaders noted public-private collaboration, the “innovated design” of the improvement to stormwater and flood management, and The Crash Pad’s 2012Precast Concrete Institute Award.