Categories
Top Rinks Trips

Epic Rollertainment, Murrieta, California

EPIC logoBuilt from a former furniture showroom, Shauna Grammatico and her husband, Joe opened Epic Rollertainment in December of 2013. What’s so epic about this particular roller rink? First, let’s start with the name. It’s a cool, hip, and original brand with a surfer beach theme that rolls throughout the venue. It’s a shining example of how roller rinks can serve today’s skaters. Second, it’s nothing like your parent’s skate center.

Entering the vast 28,000 square foot building you feel like you’re at the beach. The only thing missing is the smell of the salt water and suntan lotion. The front entry showcases surfboard advertising and a picket fence, along with a sign that reminds visitors to stop and pay.

EPIC Snack Bar EPIC Sk8 PlateA food truck hides the large kitchen in the back by the snack bar, and continues the beach theme. On the menu, there’s wraps, gourmet pizza, salads, craft beer, and wine! And the EPIC SK8 California license plate on the food truck adds another touch. 

Pro Shop GiftsThe beachfront pro shop, On Shore Wheels and Things is stocked with skates, parts, shirts, tools, laces, stickers, doo dads and everything a skater could want or need. I could have spent an hour in there and probably run up a huge bill as well, except it was closed during the session and I had to ask to be let in. I loved browsing through the fun merchandise. I felt like I was in Skate Paradise!

EPIC Party tablesThe party tables and games are located far from the skating floor but close to the snack bar. I love this! It keeps the pizzas and sticky soft drinks away from the skating floor and it keeps the parties in a quieter area for their greater enjoyment. And the regular skaters don’t have to be subjected to the party guests and food servers under foot.

The rental counter looks like the surf washing up on shore. They offer a sizing chart so no one has to guess what their skate size is. Riedell Sizing Guide

Then there’s the vintage roller skating photos, which also classes up the place. I couldn’t find a clown or kiddy theme anywhere in the building. 

EPIC Roller Fitness Epic also offers Roller Fitness classes. That’s a full-body workout on roller skates that uses the skates as weights, and also improves balance, flexibility, and cardio fitness. When exercise is fun, people can stick with it. Roller skating is fitness disguised as fun.

Bill CarlsonThere are several comfy couches for socializing throughout the building tucked away in corners that are noticeably upscale with no carpeting to speak of. After all, you wouldn’t see carpet at the beach. There are also no skate mate trainers anywhere in the building. You will notice however a photo of Bill Carlson on the wall. Bill was the consultant the Grammatico’s hired to help design and open Epic Rollertainment. It was Bill’s last rink before he passed away in 2014. He made amazing contributions to the roller skating industry and is sorely missed.

Comfy CouchesOne drawback at Epic Rollertainment that hard core skaters will notice is the lifeguard tower in the middle of the floor along with 2 poles. While the most preferred type of rink is an open span; converting an existing furniture store with poles is no easy feat. The guard tower not only helps hide one of the poles, it’s big enough to keep people from skating into it. And it allows for the DJ to keep a closer eye on what’s going on and double as a floor guard. Keep an eye out if you’re doing any backwards skating.

Average session admission: $5-$11

Website: EpicRollertainment.com

Location: 39809 Avenida Acacias, Murrieta, CA 92563 / between Exit 1 and Exit 2 off I-215 north of the I-15 interchange and on the east side of the highway.

Categories
Careers Featured

So You Want to Run a Roller Rink

 What are you thinking? No seriously, have you done your research? To help you out here are 10 things you must know about the industry before opening your doors.

There’s a lot of cleaning. It’s a grimy business, and dust collects quickly in your ceilings, corners, and walls. A dirty rin20160514_135115k will keep customers from coming back. Plan on keeping your employees busy with constant cleaning.

It’s not a steady business. Gorgeous outdoor weather will be your greatest competition. It’s a seasonal business where cold, wet, and extreme temperatures will boost attendance numbers. Some rinks report a slowdown in the summer when families all go on vacation. For other rink operators, the bulk of their business comes from summer camps. Results vary depending on your local weather conditions, seasons, or when the carnival is in town. You must be creative to keep the building full of customers.

Starlight SkatiumYou’ll be hiring and training a lot of teenagers. This is their first job and will need constant supervision and correction. Some are more reliable than others. Some don’t take criticism well. Learn how to conduct group interviews and spot the cream of the crop with a good attitude and work ethic.

It’s not a weekend hobby. Don’t think you can open your doors Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and stay shut the rest of the week. Someone needs to be in the office to receive deliveries, answer phones and complete many tasks such as insurance forms, music licensing, hiring, firing, selling, painting, repairing, purchasing, scheduling, party planning, group sales, payroll, tax filing, banking, food server certification, accident reports, surveillance video, lighting, sound, POS system oversight, cleaning, training, capital improvements, office management, publicity, graphic design, and marketing. HVAC systems need regular service, rental skates need to be serviced, the parking lot needs cleaning, the list goes on and on.

Lessons PhotoLessons are essential. If you want to cultivate a loyal group of customers, you’ll need to get them rolling in the right direction with a lessons program. Good skaters are great for business. They bring their friends. They grow up and have skater kids of their own. Plant the seeds early and often. When they love to skate, they will come back and support your rink.

Skate Rentals NeonRental skates matter. When customers have a good experience at your rink, they will come back and eventually buy their own from your pro shop. If customers are expected to skate in old broken down rental skates they will have a horrible time and never come back. The brownies (or peanut butters as they are referred to) are manufactured by Sure Grip, Golden Horse, Riedell, and Crazy Skates. They average about $150 a pair and you can keep them well-tuned with replacement parts (including boots) for years to come.

RSA LogoJoin the Roller Skating Association (RollerSkating.com) International for about a buck a day as a “future operator.” You’ll get their magazine – Roller Skating Business, a weekly digital newsletter, invitations to all their trade shows and section meetings, volume discounts, exclusive marketing programs, access to vendors who serve the rink industry, and social forums when you can ask questions of other rink operators. You’ll save thousands of dollars learning from the mistakes of others.

Subscribe to RINKSIDER magazine. For full disclosure, I am the Editor of The RINKSIDER. Our advice columns range from IT issues, music licensing, floor maintenance, snack bar profits, novelties, and redemption, parties, and anything relevant to the successful operation of a skate center. You can also get a glimpse of previous articles at RINKSIDER.com free of charge, and follow us on Facebook. 

Plan on having a lot of fun! Owning a rink means meeting new friends and spreading your passion for roller skating. Rink operations is not for everyone, but for the right person it’s a life changing experience where you’ll work in a fascinating industry full of helpful people who want you to succeed.

Categories
Recreational / Session Rink Life

Roller Skating Rocks

Were you a rink rat in high school? Did you hang out at your local roller rink week after week? If so, then you understand why roller skating rocks. Most of us gave up skating for other interests and are starting to recall how much fun it is. Perhaps it’s attending a skating party for your child’s or grandchild’s birthday. Or you want to improve your fitness level without all the danger involved.

Here are my Top 10 reasons why roller skating rocks it at any age.

  1. It’s safe. Yes, it really is. Especially if you roller skate indoors. There are no rocks to roll over, cars to dodge, rough pavement, or the possibility of getting stranded 2 miles from your car with a thundercloud overhead. The Roller Skating Association asserts that roller skating is 5x safer than bicycling.
  2. It burns calories. Depending on how fast you skate and what you weigh, you can burn about 500 calories an hour.
  3. It’s low impact. The gliding movement is a lot easier on your joints as opposed to running or tennis. Your ankles, hips, and knees will thank you.
  4. It tones muscles. Those are weights strapped to your feet, so it’s like you’re doing cardio and weight lifting at the same time. Your butt will begin to lift.
  5. Improves balance. Can you stand on one foot for very long? This is what keeps us upright and prevents falling in later years. Skating is the perfect activity to maintain posture and balance through the senior years.
  6. It feels good doing it. Feeling the wind in your hair makes you feel like you’re flying. Remembering how to skate backwards and do tricks: priceless.
  7. It improves your mood. An increased heart rate and fitness program boosts endorphin and serotonin levels.
  8. It’s an enjoyable activity you can stick with. When you look forward to skating every week, it becomes a fitness and social routine.
  9. You can skate at any age. I have skated alongside 80 year olds and 2 year olds. Roller skating is one of the few activities that can be shared across generations as a family activity you can all do together. Not only that, you can impress your kids because you may be a better skater than them.
  10. It’s a great value. Skating prices are a bargain when you compare it to snow skiing or a monthly gym pass. With roller skating, you only pay for the sessions you attend.

If you skated when you were younger, and then took a 20 year break, you’re not alone! We launched RollerSk8r.com to keep you in the know about recreational roller skating.

Categories
Rink Life Rink Meetups Trips

Meet the Roll Dawgz of Florida

If you’ve been to the Sunshine State anytime in the past 3 years, and ventured into one of its many roller rinks, chances are you may have seen the Roll Dawgz, a group that is growing enthusiastic roller skaters of all ages.

Roll Dawgz of Florida is the brainchild of co-founders Sammy Glover, Stephanie Castillo, and Bruce Walther. It’s not a skate crew or competitive club, but a flock of like-minded skaters and their families dressed in blue shirts. They meet up at rinks across the Sunshine State on a monthly basis to promote roller skating and celebrate milestones, like their annual anniversary.

Glover was a national speed champion and former employee of the Ocala rink in Florida. He told The RollerSk8r he initially got the idea 10 years ago to start a social skating club but couldn’t find the right people to join him. About 3 years ago he thought it would be an awesome idea to form a “family-based” club rather than all adults or all one type of skating style. “I started this club because I have kids, and I wanted them to know what skating is all about,” he admitted. The Roll Dawgz welcome jam, speed, derby, art, freestyle, shuffle, and recreational skaters of all stripes. Members are racially diverse and there are no dues to pay. Just express interest, show up at a future event, and buy a t-shirt. And if you really want to go all out, you can purchase matching LED lights and attach them to your skates.

Because Roll Dawgz Florida is made up of families, skaters range in age from 3 to 60 years old. And they only skate at public sessions. Some rinks offer a dollar discount for group members who wear their blue shirt, because session skaters will obviously notice a group of skaters all dressed the same. “It’s one of the ways we keep growing,” said Kenny McNabb, a member who started skating 6 years ago. “We meet other skaters at the rink who are really excited about skating and want to join the family.” McNabb stipulates it is a family rather than a crew. “We’re not out to get into turf wars with other rinks.” The Roll Dawgz make the rounds at rinks such as Skate Reflections (Kissimmee), Skate World (Tampa), Skateland of Brandon, Skate and Shake (Ormond Beach) SkateMania (Ocala) and Spinnations (Port Richey), as well as the Astro Skating rinks in the Tampa area. They’ve also made the road trip to Jacksonville.

Typically the Roll Dawgz convene once a month and at some rinks host a clinic 30-45 minutes ahead of the session to exchange tips on skating skills.

Both McNabb and Glover stated there is no drama among the Roll Dawgz skaters. In order to join the group, interested skaters are asked to come back for a road trip to another rink, meet the “family” and purchase a shirt. Glover stipulates that all Roll Dawgz must respect the shirt. “I don’t want to see you on the local news that you just robbed the Jiffy Mart while wearing a blue Roll Dawgz shirt,” he said. “You have to be 100% respectful to others. No fights. We keep the respect level up and the drama out.” In the 3 years since the club started, only one member was asked to leave because of a disrespectful attitude.

Also, a visit to the Roll Dawgz of Florida Facebook page shows Blue Alerts calling out birthday and anniversary wishes to members of the team. With 675 Facebook friends and growing, there’s also lots of photos and pictures of the 160 group members in their blue Roll Dawg Shirts and matching LED lights mounted on their skates.

“It’s magical,” said Glover. “When we come in … 40 people with the same shirts and blue LED’s on the skates, people stop and talk to us. They ask, ‘where are you from?’ and we get a conversation going.” At an event 3 years ago, we had 30 people with us. The rink owner got phone calls all week after that asking “how do we join the Roll Dawgz?”

Since then the Roll Dawgz have taken several road trips across Florida, bringing along 50 to 60 skaters to each rink they visit. While they teach skills to each other as well as the session skaters while they are there, they are not a competition group. They just like to travel and skate together. With 160 regular members throughout Florida wearing blue shirts promoting roller skating, the rinks like having them in the building.

Glover and his group members are appreciative of rink operators. “Our biggest thing is to promote the rinks, because without the rinks, there would be no us.” He adds, “you have to create skaters. And they only way to create skaters is to expose them to it.”

Find the Roll Dawgz Florida on Facebook to discover more about the Funky Blue Crew and where they will appear next.