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Roller Dance and Session Skating Forum Discussions about roller dancing, jamskating, rexing, rink session skating, dance circle skating, and similar types of recreational indoor and outdoor skate dancing .

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Old April 17th, 2007, 03:34 PM   #1
Kathie Fry
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Default The Decline of Roller Skating Rinks

This April 2007 article in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper discusses the decline in the number of roller skating rinks in New South Wales Australia. Acording to the article, five years ago the city of Sydney had 14 roller skating rinks and today they have only 2. "Fancy a Night Out at the Local Rink? Better Get Your Skates On"

The above article gives several reasons for the decline in the number of roller skating rinks, including:
  • Selling land is more profitable then running a rink
  • The advent of inline skates encouraged people to skate outdoors
  • Insurance and lawsuits are expensive
  • roller skating is no longer in style
Are these reasons also having an effect in other parts of the world?

- Kathie

Last edited by Kathie Fry; April 17th, 2007 at 06:35 PM.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #2
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Here in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, we've lost three roller rinks in the past couple of years--all of them well established, and at least one of them doing a decent volume of business. Rumor says the owner of all three is the same person or entity, and that the reason is primarily the greatly increased value of the land on which these rinks were built.

That said, the Rockville Roller Rink in Montgomery County, one of the three rinks closed, was a viable part of our community. Some rink regulars wondered why the county didn't step in to buy the land and facility, in order to preserve it. Now Montgomery County is without a rink: i.e., a roller-skating rink. It has ice-skating facilities. And therein lies the rub, as far I as I can see.

Roller-skating does not carry the same societal value as ice-skating. Put another way, the powers that be, and their prime constituency, do not perceive roller-skating to be in the same class as ice-skating. And that's what this may be about in the end--class.

Comments and rebuttals are welcomed!
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Old April 17th, 2007, 05:51 PM   #3
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There are three Rinks in this area that are also for sale. I have inquired about all of them. All three need extreme makeovers and the none of the current operators care if the business continues. All are located in high growth areas and the value of the land outweighs the value of the business.
I can buy my own land and build cheaper than purchasing one of these locations and doing the needed renovations.
One location is asking 1.5 million and I would have to gut the building and start over from scratch which would cost another 250,000. I can build something brand new for just over 1 mil.
Doesnt make any sense. I am currently looking for a piece of land.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #4
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There are three Rinks in this area that are also for sale. I have inquired about all of them. All three need extreme makeovers and the none of the current operators care if the business continues. All are located in high growth areas and the value of the land outweighs the value of the business.
I can buy my own land and build cheaper than purchasing one of these locations and doing the needed renovations.
One location is asking 1.5 million and I would have to gut the building and start over from scratch which would cost another 250,000. I can build something brand new for just over 1 mil.
Doesnt make any sense. I am currently looking for a piece of land.
Just curious to what rinks they are.

Rinks that are off the main travel area seem to stay in business longer. Land is not cheap, but build a rink off the main road the land is much cheaper. The two left in RI are both off the main road. One is for sale because it is visable from the main road.

Another reason I think that rinks don't do as well is that they no longer entertain the skaters. They just put music on and let it go. They also do not promote their business or are willing to "give away" skating.

People want to skate at rinks that are busy. If they go to a rink with only a few skaters they do not have a good time. I use to do "give away" skating in some of the following forms. Two for one passes, family passes (whole family for just $10), report card passes, school passes and ten friend pass for a birthday party. How the last two worked were simply at the biggining of the school year and at the end of the school year at different sessions where geared toward certain schools, ie, on a certain date those from a certain school would skate free and we would do the rink in the school colors. Even had members of the school decorate the rink. The seasons were packed and the skate rentals, snack bar and games did extremely well. The birthday pass was given to the birthday person good for a month to come back with ten of the persons friends. So now I had a lot of skaters coming back twice in a month, trying to make it a habit for them. I don't think many rinks do this now adays.

By "giving away" skating like this and giving them a good time the rink was always doing well.

If you ever decided to build a rink in the RI area I can show you a couple of spots that I believe a rink can do extremely well. Also if you need help in planning the rink let me know.

Dick Young
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Old April 17th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #5
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Default interesting topic

The rink I am at the owner currently owns 3 rinks. Keeps on top of them pretty good. Yes I have heard the insurance and lawsuits are expensive.

Our rink only has open skating on Friday afternoon and nights, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons until 5pm. That is 3 days of 7 that have open skating! Why you ask?? They have found they make more money with private rentals Whether it is for a school,church group,or any other private rental.

Our rink also burned down 3 years ago. WHen they rebuilt they shortened the rink by a few feet to accomodate more arcades and games. They have also added a moonbounce for certain occasions!

Food anymore just isn't pizza or hotdogs. WINGS,nuggets,mozzarela sticks,and other different goodies are offered.

These small add ons have become very profitable for the rink. 15 years ago if you came with friends to a rink and you were not a skater there was'nt much to do except play the same arcade over and over. Population declined. So they went and changed it with a more of an entertainment center rink then just a "roller rink". Business picked up.

One thing I have noticed is the increase of parents coming back to the rink they skated at when they were kids. I have been watching a lot of families all with new carreras on that they got a Christmas time and now many are putting new wheels on. I think it is great.

Skating here in the Delaware Valley is pretty strong right now and RINK RAT we actually had someone from DC come up 2 weeks ago for our adult skate session.

I hope it continues to pick up here.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 06:40 PM   #6
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Dick I think you and I are on the same page.
Our rink offers free rental fee to schools during the spring time. Meaning they get the rink floor time for free. They money they make is snack bar,games,etc. Rental skates I am sure if they are included. Pretty much like your rink?
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Old April 17th, 2007, 07:07 PM   #7
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Dick I will be contacting you more about planning. I would love to her what ever advise you have to give. I have also talked to Richard about getting into the business.
I am in Nashville. Two of the Rinks are in suburban areas that are going through some real growth and the real estate is getting very valuable. The third is in Bowling Green and it is less than a mile from the Interstate and right off the main drag through town. All three are very good locations for new growth business. I can easily understand why they are asking the high prices. Its just sad from my perspective to see the Rinks close.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 07:19 PM   #8
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Dick I will be contacting you more about planning. I would love to her what ever advise you have to give. I have also talked to Richard about getting into the business.
I am in Nashville. Two of the Rinks are in suburban areas that are going through some real growth and the real estate is getting very valuable. The third is in Bowling Green and it is less than a mile from the Interstate and right off the main drag through town. All three are very good locations for new growth business. I can easily understand why they are asking the high prices. Its just sad from my perspective to see the Rinks close.
I used to live in the Nashville area (M'boro)... If you build it, I will come to opening night!
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Old April 18th, 2007, 03:35 AM   #9
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Has anyone ever heard of an outdoor rink? I can't say that I've ever seen one, but it would be neat if there were a rink with just a roof overhang and screens around to keep the bugs out. It might attract more "outdoor" types. I know I prefer outdoor....
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Old April 18th, 2007, 12:03 PM   #10
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Yes, there's an outdoor rink here in Washington, D.C. that gets a lot of use in the summer...

http://www.film.dc.gov/film/cwp/view,A,3,Q,630682.asp
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Old April 18th, 2007, 02:56 PM   #11
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Hi Kathie, RGYoung, , ,Logrs'

In this area as in the past area I skated, a decline in skate rinks and adult attendance has been occuring for quite sometime. Many rinks in this area do not maintain their floors and they get quite bad. Skateland(Bradford) via Marc the owner is great and does the floor each year and recently upgraded the light and sound systems. Taunton,MA I understand is also good yet I haven't been to it to compare. Roll-On America Lancaster, MA was probably my next best place for floor quality although they have circled the floor with other entertainments that make the floor a little too open.

A few years ago, maybe 7 according to life time Boston area skaters, adult night at a rink in Tyngsboro, MA would have a crowd of about 100plus adult skaters. They closed Adult Sunday night, the first time I came, because there were under 60 skaters in attendance. BTW the floor at Tyngsboro isn't very well maintained.

As for rinks closing I know of at least two and others have told me about larger rinks closing since the 80's craze with John Travolta type skating.

----------------
Hopefully Greenetuckian will enter and he can tell us about Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois etc since out in the midwest I have seen skating participation by adults as better and more a family thing. Yet the floor I skated on in Jasper, IN was no better for maintenance.
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We also have some FL and GA inside skaters and I understand that they have some good crowds.
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Yours in Skating, MA/NY Dave
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Old April 18th, 2007, 09:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rink Rat View Post
Here in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, we've lost three roller rinks in the past couple of years--all of them well established, and at least one of them doing a decent volume of business. Rumor says the owner of all three is the same person or entity, and that the reason is primarily the greatly increased value of the land on which these rinks were built.

That said, the Rockville Roller Rink in Montgomery County, one of the three rinks closed, was a viable part of our community. Some rink regulars wondered why the county didn't step in to buy the land and facility, in order to preserve it. Now Montgomery County is without a rink: i.e., a roller-skating rink. It has ice-skating facilities. And therein lies the rub, as far I as I can see.

Roller-skating does not carry the same societal value as ice-skating. Put another way, the powers that be, and their prime constituency, do not perceive roller-skating to be in the same class as ice-skating. And that's what this may be about in the end--class.

Comments and rebuttals are welcomed!
Here in Hawaii we have the same problem about land prices and since we are just islands in the Pacific, we have no where to go and the biggest reason is that we have what is know as leasehold land where rental for the properties are increasing every year. I personally do not know of any "real" skating rinks in Hawaii, only trail and outdoor rinks. If there are any people out there that knows otherwise, please contact me personally.
Thank you.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 10:54 PM   #13
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Well, I'm one of the ones that lives in Montgomery County and is without a rink! But I drive 45 minutes to my rink. I LOVE it though! Its well worth the trip. But I have NO idea why roller skating isnt popular, especially not here. I dont know anyone outside the roller rink and the Internet that roller skates. I went roller skating outside the first time last month. I'm the first and only roller skater on the streets. I've never honestly seen a roller skater outside. I hope that people will see me having soooo much fun that they will want to join in the fun.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 01:09 AM   #14
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Fortunately, I have not been hit with the pains of losing beloved rinks. Where I am located in NC, we have a large number of rinks within a 50 mile radius. 11 to be exact! Most have EXCELLENT floors and good maintenance.

We have some decent speed teams here (Piedmont & High Point) with a high level of interest and talent. The interest has just exploded since Joey Cheek went to the Olympics.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 01:19 AM   #15
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Bethany do you know how far back the high point team goes back. I skated against skaters from High Point in Atlanta in 1975.
These kids were the Fresman 4 Mixed relay champions in 1977.



Melinda Currie, Chris Davis, Allen Reese, Wesley Whitman
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Old April 19th, 2007, 01:37 AM   #16
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We were at Linton's rink last evening. We like to go on Tues. because the rink is usually really light on skaters. I was by far the oldest at 42, Sheri was next oldest at 28 and Ash was by far the youngest at 6. We did have a lot of space on the floor though. We usually avoid Fri and Sat evenings because it is much more crowded though Sat afternoon is not too bad. The rink will close in May and not reopen until after Halloween as the skaters really drop off in the summer and it doubles as a super haunted house that takes a long time to set up.

I also should add that if you ask the owner Bob he will tell you he makes a lot more off the b-day parties, snack bar and arcade games than skating.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 01:42 AM   #17
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Bethany do you know how far back the high point team goes back. I skated against skaters from High Point in Atlanta in 1975.
These kids were the Fresman 4 Mixed relay champions in 1977.

Melinda Currie, Chris Davis, Allen Reese, Wesley Whitman
yep. They have been around for a LONG (lol) time. I think it is one of the reasons that we still have such a high interest of skating in the area.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 11:46 AM   #18
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This April 2007 article in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper discusses the decline in the number of roller skating rinks in New South Wales Australia.

Are these reasons also having an effect in other parts of the world?
Melbourne is doing OK; a couple of rinks have closed over the past 10 years (err - Noble Park, Mornington), but at least 14 survive (Frankston, Mordialloc, Dandenong, Bayswater, Lilydale, Eltham, Campbellfield, Sunshine, Laverton, Rosebud, Reservoir, Geelong, Bendigo, Moe).

Skating is undergoing a bit of a mini revival in Melbourne, with quite good turn-outs to public sessions, increased numbers in speed, hockey and artistic competitions, introduction of a ladies roller derby league, and support at the government level.

http://www.skatevictoria.com.au/ for more info.

I don't know quite what the difference is between us and Sydney, but we're certainly headed up, not down!
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Old April 19th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #19
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Bayswater needs resurfacing though its damn terrible and feels like your skating on a sponge.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 12:28 PM   #20
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Bayswater needs resurfacing though its damn terrible and feels like your skating on a sponge.
It's being done this week or very soon - or so a little birdie who trains there tells me.

To the casual reader, Bayswater is the only rink in Melbourne not to use the "blue paint on concrete" type floor finish - they use a clear "plastic" type finish, that goes on THICK remains slightly flexible - the downside is it ages badly, and eventually chunks get torn out of it, so it has to be re-done every 6 to 12 months. Go at the 'end' of it's life and it's a bad experience; conversely when freshly laid, it's *magic*.
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