ChutingStar began as 11 Shooting Stars Rigging Services in 1999.
Mike Gruwell apprenticed under Senior Rigger Ben Butler in 1998 as well as learning from Terry Thibideau, Danny Page and Eric Johnson before attending DPRE Tom Dolphin’s senior rigger course at Missouri River Valley Skydivers. At the course, Mike earned his Back, Seat and Chest ratings. Immediately upon his return to Georgia, 11 Shooting Stars Rigging Services was born.
11 Shooting Stars Rigging Service initially serviced the area’s aerobatic pilots as well as jumpers at Atlanta Skydiving Center and Skydive Atlanta.
The “11 Shooting Stars” name came from the night Stephanie and Mike spent laying out on the tarmac of the Cornelius-Moore Airport after a day of jumping. The future couple talked, flirted and dreamt as they watched the sky, counting 11 shooting stars that night. It later became the theme of their wedding: “11 Shooting Stars ago…they met, became friends and fell in love.”
As the business grew and later became a full-time rigging loft at Atlanta Skydiving Center in Cedartown, Ga., the couple’s friend and Mike’s rigging mentor Danny Page suggested shortening the name and combining parachuting into the name. Chuting Star Rigging Loft came on the scene and soon opened up rigging lofts in Pennsylvania at Skydive Pennridge and in Alabama at Alabama Skydiving Center.
Mike attended the Master Rigger course at Rigging Innovations in 2004 and earned his FAA Master Rigger certificate during a course with Sandy Reid and Wayne Snyder. Mike passed the Master Rigger test given by Tony Frost. Mike would later become a DPRE for the Atlanta area in 2007.
In 2005, Mike closed all three of those rigging lofts by moving and consolidating to a single larger location at Skydive The Farm in Rockmart, Georgia, as ChutingStar had outgrown the smaller space at Atlanta Skydiving Center. Mike had worked alongside Hans Paulsen as an instructor for several years until Hans opened up Skydive The Farm. A year after watching Skydive The Farm grow and flourish, Mike decided to join with Hans to help build that location as it was growing into a huge haven for experienced jumpers on 55 acres of private property owned by Greg Dowdy.
As ChutingStar became established at Skydive The Farm, the business added skydiving gear sales to its years of rigging services and parts. With the help of Georgia Tech Sport Parachuting Club President Ben Lee, an online skydiving shop was integrated with ChutingStar’s rigging and educational web site. The shop quickly spread like wildfire due to Mike's reputation in the industry, a priority on customer service and the unbiased educational advice provided.
ChutingStar incorporated in 2008 as ChutingStar Enterprises Inc. and operated a 1200-square-foot Rigging Loft & Gear Shop at Skydive The Farm. This location was closed and consolidated with our Marietta location in 2014 as we expanded our on-site Rigging Loft.
ChutingStar was headquartered in Dallas, Georgia, in 2009 where the online shop offices, phone support, shipping/receiving and stock items were housed inside a 3000-square-foot warehouse/office space.
In 2011, ChutingStar opened its 3rd location with the 1500-square-foot ChutingStar Rigging Loft & Gear Shop in DeLand, Florida. This walk-in skydiving gear and rigging shop next door to Aerodyne and SkySystems USA unveiled the next generation in what skydivers should expect from a skydiving store. This shop in the heart of the skydiving businesses located in DeLand (such as Performance Designs, Aerodyne, SkySystems USA, UPT, Pittz Suits, Alti-2 and Mirage) has allowed ChutingStar to ship out stock items to customers quicker, improving our overall order efficiency and customer service. We have since added skate and photo/video sections to this shop.
In 2012, ChutingStar moved from its Dallas, GA, headquarters to a 11,000 square-foot location in Marietta, GA, and started serving skaters as well skydivers. The new headquarters includes 4,000 feet of warehouse space, 1,000 square feet for an on-site rigging loft, 2,000 feet of office space and 1,000 square feet for it's newest showroom/retail shop. We also started construction on a 3,000-square-foot indoor skate park.
In 2013, we opened up the ChutingStar Skate Park & Shop to the public on the backside of our Marietta location. We also did full makeovers of our skydiving retail shops on the frontside of our Marietta location and at our ChutingStar-DeLand shop in DeLand, Florida.
In 2013 & 2014, ChutingStar began manufacturing more skydiving products such as main risers, slider keepers, GoPro mounts, pullup cords, gear bags and helmet bags in addition the rigging tools and replacement parts we've been manufacturing for several years. These items are manufactured either in-house, or with partnerships through companies such as Aerotech. ChutingStar also manufacturers several skate items, such as skateboard decks, skate wheels, grip tape and shoelaces. These items bring our skydivers and skaters quality gear and lower prices than available from other manufacturers, giving our customers the best value for their money with quality we stand behind and products we use ourselves every day.
In 2014, ChutingStar hosted its first skydiving boogie: ChutingStar University 2014. We focused on educating low-experience jumpers on safety, gear and skills, with the 4-Day Boogie at Skydive The Farm. ChutingStar also travels to several boogies each year throughout the U.S. to provide gear and knowledge to jumpers who attend these events from all over the world.
ChutingStar Skate Park & Shop started the Best Trick Sunday contest series in 2014 that is held every Sunday at 1 p.m. at our skate park. We did this to foster competition and skill-building while helping those that excel to get free gear. The winner of each week's competition gets a free ChutingStar Skateboard Deck and free grip tape.
Our customer service, experience and product offerings are matched by no other in either industry. ChutingStar is known for serving skydivers, skaters, skate filmers and skydiving videographers world-wide!
We continue to provide high-quality rigging services, unbiased gear advice, a large stock inventory for immediate pickups or shipments and an unmatched catalog of tutorial articles/videos for both skydivers and skaters.
ChutingStar is your Skydiving, Skate and Photo/Video Superstore! Let us know how we can help you today.