GALLIPOLIS — Skatesville USA, the local Gallia skating rink, will be opening its doors to the community once more on an anticipated Sept. 11 date.
Patricia Philie, 53, of Gallipolis, owns and operates Skatesville USA. Her family first opened the business in February 1982. According to Philie, the rink served the community for 23 years before its doors closed in 2005 due to family complications. The building was then leased as a tumbling center.
“I have been bombarded with questions from people over the years asking about opening the rink again,” Philie said.
Philie said it was not a week after the previous tenant of the building had decided to give up his lease before she decided to open the rink up to the public once more. According to her, friends networked over Facebook about the news and soon a large number of users started to voice their public support of the decision.
“We ran the place strictly before and we’ll probably run it that way again. We want it to be a safe place,” Philie said. “We are going to make it nice.”
Currently, renovations are being made in the rink’s building, but a large part of the original business remains intact. Philie noted the floor is still in “great shape” and the presence of a glow-in-the-dark carpet.
Philie said a large number of the responses she received about the rink’s reopening came from individuals who had their own children and grandchildren. Those individuals, or “90s kids,” wanted to share the same memories of skating with their children as they had growing up. She said private parties had already been booked for birthday events. Philie also anticipates the rink to conduct quarterly late skates.
Philie said her father had traveled to various regions looking at skating rink styles before deciding to open his own.
“I was kind of the flunky back then. I cleaned and helped manage skate stock,” Philie said. “I have been up the ladders doing everything from concessions, to taking money, to ordering skates and organizing events.”
Philie noted she really became “hooked” when her fathered asked her to floor guard the rink one evening because more individuals had shown up to skate than normal. From that moment on, she said the skating rink life had her hooked.
Floor guarding is similar to life guarding at a public pool. Floor guards are responsible for the safety of people and their behavior on while skating.
“I left a little bit broken-hearted (when the rink closed) having put so much of my life there,” Philie said. “I felt like the community didn’t care about us. Then so many people were asking about the rink coming back. People didn’t realize they missed it until it was gone.”
Philie noted that several of her former employees were lending support as the rink gets back into operating status.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.