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Old October 16th, 2007, 10:39 PM   #1
Champak
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Default Thinking About Opening a Roller Rink - Need Help and Info

Hi, I'm new here. I'm thinking about opening a new rink. I know nothing about this particular business and would love to speak to some owners or manager who may be here from around the country so I can get some info (mostly number$). Any and all help and info would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 10:52 PM   #2
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No info, but good luck!

What area are you located?
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Old October 18th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #3
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This will be in NYC. One of the other things I'm really interested/concerned about is why the other spots shut down around NYC.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 06:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Champak View Post
This will be in NYC. One of the other things I'm really interested/concerned about is why the other spots shut down around NYC.


I have a friend who opened a rink about two years ago near Bay City Michigan. If you contact Don at Sonic Skate he could give you some helpful advice I'm sure.

sonicskate.com

sonicsuzie122@aol.com

Tell him Bill from Skatelog sent you...I'm not sure he knows me as Skaterdog. It was probably a lot more difficult than he thought starting out. He is a very friendly guy...(for a rink owner).
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Old October 18th, 2007, 10:34 PM   #5
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At least one rink owner posts over at racereports.net. You might try posting there.

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Old October 19th, 2007, 12:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Champak View Post
This will be in NYC. One of the other things I'm really interested/concerned about is why the other spots shut down around NYC.

i am going to say cost of rent or ownership for property in nyc.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 04:44 AM   #7
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It needs to be more than a skating rink. It needs to be a recreation facility.
A person could put in retracting basketball goals, run soccer clinics, cheer, volleyball, and many other activities. Skate on the weekends and do other activities during the week. You could even put in a small fitness center. Or a kids soft play area like Chuck E Cheese.
Skating is not the most popular activity, so to get a good return on your investment, you need to diversify.
These are just a few ideas. I'm not a rink owner but I do run a business. The biggest problems with rinks is all the time they are not used.
Good luck.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 07:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldnslow View Post
It needs to be more than a skating rink. It needs to be a recreation facility.
A person could put in retracting basketball goals, run soccer clinics, cheer, volleyball, and many other activities. Skate on the weekends and do other activities during the week. You could even put in a small fitness center. Or a kids soft play area like Chuck E Cheese.
Skating is not the most popular activity, so to get a good return on your investment, you need to diversify.
These are just a few ideas. I'm not a rink owner but I do run a business. The biggest problems with rinks is all the time they are not used.
Good luck.

he is right, our family sold our rink in 2004 because buisness jsut was not as good as in the past...
you have to have more than just skating, make the customers(all ages) WANT to come in more than just once every 6 months. it is hard to keep a rink running, but if you work your tail off, you should be able to do it!
one thing also, dont make it a traditional rink, make it MODERN looking!!!
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Old October 31st, 2007, 07:49 PM   #9
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Another thing to consider is your timing. The skating business is like all others. It runs in cycles. I think 7 years. But rink business also picks up when the economy slows down. Mostly due to the fact that it's still affordable, and families are wanting to do activities together.
Put a business plan together. You can pick up software at any electronics store. The plan will make you think of everything, and help realize what it will take to be successful.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 09:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldnslow View Post
Another thing to consider is your timing. The skating business is like all others. It runs in cycles. I think 7 years. But rink business also picks up when the economy slows down. Mostly due to the fact that it's still affordable, and families are wanting to do activities together.
Put a business plan together. You can pick up software at any electronics store. The plan will make you think of everything, and help realize what it will take to be successful.
That's true. The idea about diversifying is what is keeping my friend afloat. He has area bands in for concerts about once a month. He has had dances too. Hopefully the cycle will swing back and we'll get another skating boom.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 01:15 PM   #11
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This is something I'm definately going to have to reevaluate. I already drew up a business plan, proposal and financials, but the thing that hit me is how much rent/lease of a place the size I---assume---I need will cost. The average cost for facilities/warehouse in NYC is $7 per square foot per month...I didn't have any specific expectations, but I definately wasn't expecting that. If I go to buy, the MIN. would be around $4Mil. plus renovations if I'm lucky. To bring in other things is a great idea, I was thinking of incorporating other things.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #12
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There are many warehouses in the Gowanus Canal section in Brooklyn which have closed. Maybe you can get a good deal over there. For these warehouses the main problem was that many delivery and trucking companies don't want to make NYC a hub since of traffic problems and a lot of tickets. Many have opened up in New Jersey.

The main problem is defiently rent. Even though the area looks run down, I would guess anything in this city is going to be very expensive, but it doesn't hurt to take a look.

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Old November 7th, 2007, 02:11 AM   #13
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I was thinking about a skate park (aggressive and skateboard) with a rink. I was also thinking about adding a speed course. Maybe around the rink. I would separate the park from the rink to dampen the noise. Additionally I was thinking about renting space to a skateboard vendor and provide inline and quads for sale in addition. I am guessing people would skate speed and recreational if they had a quiet place to do it year round.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 04:47 PM   #14
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The Roxy in NYC was a regular club, but on Tuesday and Wednesday they had roller skating, it was a great place to go I think Tuesday night was gay night and Wednesday was all skate. I am not really sure why they shut down, but it was open for many years. I loved going there. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 03:55 PM   #15
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If you continue with this venture, after you are open, have rules and strictly enforce them. Stress to your floorguards that the rules must be enforced. Their jobs depend on it. and then follow through.

There is nothing more irritating to a skater than for the rink to have rules and floorguards take the time to read the rules, but not the time to enforce them. New skaters won't stick around if the kids are doing whatever they want neither will the dedicated skaters. The new skaters are too afraid to learn and the dedicated skaters can't get a groove going without getting cut off.

You can have all the side business you want, but if you want people to be there for skating, make sure the floor is safe.

Remember, whether you have insurance or a sign that says skate at your own risk, we live in the USA and anybody can sue anybody anytime for any reason. That's why my original rink is out of business, two lawsuits in two years and it was a new building so the floor, etc. was in great shape. He chose to settle because the amount they were suing him for would have put him out of business instantly in the off chance they won. His floorguards weren't strict enough and he wouldn't fire them so he chose his path. He used up his reserves on lawsuits so when skating dipped for a few months and prices went up, he wound up going out of business anyway.

If I had a choice between a rink that enforces rules and one that doesn't, I'd pick the one that does every time. I'm only one person with kids and friends who skate and I spend $50-$100 every week at my current rink (admission and food and drinks). Multiply that by 10 other people spending the same and you can see how much it can hurt you if you don't have deep pockets.

You might irritate some people, but the dedicated skaters who are there week after week will respect you for it and bring you their money and spread the word that yours is a safe rink. Be consistent and kick people off the floor or out of the building if necessary. Kids will push until you push back. Let them know right off the bat that you have the power, not them and they will skate safe and your business will boom.

Oh and if you sell skates, be willing to negotiate prices to repeat buyers. That's a biggie especially if the person is already spending big bucks there every week.

There are a couple of threads where you can see what I'm talking about above. One is called rink rules unleashed and the other is support your local rink. Read those and head the advice contained in them.

If I ever win the lottery, I will have the biggest, safest rink in all of Arizona. It will be my way or the highway for both employees and customers. I just have to win enough money that it won't matter if no one ever comes back because I'm too strict.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 03:46 PM   #16
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Most of the rinks in NYC closed because of insurance and leasing costs. Id be careful with a rink venture in that area. Especially if you have never ran a skating facility before.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 05:01 PM   #17
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Well, it's been a couple of years since he posted his question, so he's probably either broke, or doing great.
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Old October 28th, 2009, 07:36 AM   #18
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Just a couple of thoughts from someone that grew up in a big city...with no rinks. look at the demos of the area your planning on. How are ppl gonna get there? public trans? or do you have a big enough parking lot? big cities have parking problems.

Also look around at the schools, can you offer to do fundraisers? the rinks in the Denver and Colorado Springs area do them all summer long!!!and there packed. Also is there other cross-sports they need room for...you might be able to get a school to use your rink for floor hockey...or other gym activities. There could be a lot of other revenue streams like ymca boys and girls clubs etc. in a big city people need space and it's better to make a couple bucks sitting on your ass or that big floor be empty!

Make sure your floor meets the size requirements for speed skating competition as well as well as figure skating. the rinks in Nebraska and Kansas Make their entire year revenue on one national event! Have a good proper floor installed...don't cheap out! Lotsa people like wood, but there are others. I might be able to put you in touch with someone that could help you out with some other questions. His family has owned a rink for 3 generations, and another one in the Pacific NW that is about the same.

I might think of other things but if ya want more ask away...pm me tho. lol
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Old October 28th, 2009, 08:40 AM   #19
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Your floor type can also effect who skates at your rink.
Insurance and a shift away from skating has closed a lot of rinks world wide. However with the increased interest in slalom and derby there seems to be a new market opening up.
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Old October 31st, 2009, 03:47 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Just a couple of thoughts from someone that grew up in a big city...with no rinks. look at the demos of the area your planning on. How are ppl gonna get there? public trans? or do you have a big enough parking lot? big cities have parking problems.
Everyone in NYC who doesn't drive for a living pretty much uses public transportation. If they have a car for whatever reason, they're used to finding a parking spot on their own.

But uh yeah. As other people have said, NYC is probably the wrong place to open up a skating rink and the question was asked two years ago.
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