Do people actually rollerskate anymore? It’s a question Gareth Grasso of Perth’s Rollerzone – the largest roller rink in the city – gets asked all the time.
And thanks to the rising popularity of sports such as roller derby and a resurgent interest in all activities deemed retro, it’s easy to answer.
Yes, they do. In fact, demand is higher than it’s ever been since he first established the business in 2013.
That’s why Mr Grasso hopes that when a new buyer is found for his Malaga-based rink, they will continue on with the business, rather than using the space as cheap warehouse stock.
In an unusual coincidence, Rollerzone is one of two skating-related opportunities on offer in Perth. The other is the building that once housed the Cockburn Ice Skating Arena in Bibra Lake.
Mr Grasso, who has worked in rinks for most of his life, created the business in 2013 and spent close to double the current price of $460,000 in establishing the business.
Special features include a sprung timber sports floor, a specialised, Canadian-built barrier system, five themed party rooms and a spectator grandstand with seating for 90.
File photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Mr Grasso has put Rollerzone on the market after finding out he will need ongoing medical treatment, prohibiting him from running the business.
“If I wasn’t unwell, I most certainly would not have put the business on the market,” he said. “I have put a lot of work and money into the business and it is achieving steady success and growth.
“It is unfortunate I am having to sell, but my health and family comes first.”
He remembers the time when he first opened where he could stand at the door all day waiting for a customer to arrive. Now the rink has around 42,000 customers per year – many of them families or sports team members.
“It’s not just about skating, but there is a strong social aspect with Rollerzone,” he said. “Families come for social time and bonding, exercise, and even roller sports. We have many clubs and activities operating out of the venue.”
A strong social media presence, primarily through a Facebook page with more than 12,000 fans, has also helped the business expand.
“We have a huge following of loyal customers and regulars. Some customers skate at Rollerzone three times a week,” Mr Grasso said.
The Rollerzone rink hosts a variety of sports, including roller derby. Photo: Supplied
He is offering to stay on and assist any new owner with learning the ropes of the roller rink trade.
“It is a specialised business so it’s best to know what you’re doing but from our point of view, we would be involved in training the person until they are satisfied – and we are satisfied – to take over,” he said.
The business has a staff of 20, with one rink manager.
The premises – at 299 Victoria Road, Malaga – are on a 10-year lease which began in 2013 and include offices and administration areas.
Other recreational uses for the space include futsol, indoor soccer, bubble soccer, an inflatable obstacle course, badminton, martial arts, gymnastics and inline hockey.
South of Perth in Bibra Lake, the property which housed the former Cockburn Ice Skating Arena for 20 years has been listed for sale for $2.5 million-plus after the business relocated to new premises nearby.
The listing from Knight Frank describes the site as being suitable for “multiple business scenarios, including recreation or industrial.”
The former Cockburn Ice Skating Arena in Bibra Lake. Photo: Supplied
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