OLD FRIENDS REUNITE … New Rolling Skate Rink owner Gary Hussey, on the left, is happy to be reunited with his childhood friend Ron Hanes. They have great memories of skating together at the Montpelier Skating Rink and are making new memories as Ron is jumping in to help Gary in any way he can to get this new Skating Center up and running. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
Rolling Skate Center has people talking as it is not the most normal way to name a Roller Skating Rink, but owner/operator, and U.S. Army Veteran, Gary Hussey, says he will be hosting lots of wheels, so Rolling is the word on which he wanted to focus.
“We have our Grand Opening scheduled for January 4, 2020, at 1:00 p.m., but I might slip in a few fun nights before that,” Hussey said with a smile. “People who love to skate should keep their eyes on rscskate20.wixsite.com during December because if at all possible, I would love to open it up during the week that the kids are off from school for Christmas vacation.”
The great reason for the interesting name is that Hussey plans to allow lots of different wheels out on the floor. Parents on skates will be welcome to take their little ones out in their stroller and people in wheelchairs are welcome either on their own or with someone pushing them, during Open Skate times.
He is also considering having an Extra Wheels Night when only folks pushing loved ones or clients in wheelchairs or strollers will have time without others zipping around them. When asked about the safety issue, Hussey said that during regular skate times, those with extra wheels will be asked to stay near the railing or in the center so that they do not pose a hazard to the other skaters.
Hussey, a Northwest Ohio native has been away for a few years, but with many years of working in the roller skating industry, he decided to stay in it, after moving back to Bryan, from Iowa. “I went into the military after I graduated from High School and was in the U.S. Army from 1987-2010.”
“From 1989 – 93 I was stationed in Germany and was an assistant manager at a skating rink there.” He is buying the old IGA building located at the west end of West Unity on U.S. Route 20A, and is working hard to turn it into a fun destination for Williams County residents. Of course the whole Tri-county area is welcome, but he hopes it will be a great addition especially to Williams County.
His reason for getting into the skating business in the first place is that he “grew up on skates in a family who all loved to skate.” He has worked in five skating rinks over the past 25 years, with two in South Carolina, one which he managed for nine years in Iowa and then leased for a year, and one in another Iowa town which he leased for two years.
“When the owner of the last one decided to sell the building, I decided to move home and be with my mom in Bryan. I started looking for a building about a year ago for this purpose and was happy to find this one for sale,” he said in an interview.
Hussey is well prepared to offer a great place full of entertainment for families, for teens to hang out together, and for anyone else who is looking for a cheerful and safe atmosphere. He owns over 600 pairs of skates, two pool tables, two air hockey tables, three foosball tables, and a ping pong table for those who feel like some action.
He also has a 50 inch block screen tv that will go in a separate room for Karaoke, a 10 foot drop down screen for live videos and music, and will have a lounge area set up for relaxation. The lounge will have a rack with books and newspapers as well as magazines, along with a Snack Bar.
He has already hired thirteen employees to staff the Center and plans to have around five of them there each time it is open. “I have hired some High School kids from Montpelier, West Unity,
Bryan and Pioneer, as well as a few adults for management purposes when I can’t be here,” Hussey said. He works at the city of Bryan recycling center full time, and the Rolling Skate Center will be his part time job, an effort to bless the community.
Entrance cost will be $5 per person, with no added rental cost for skates, and customers are welcome to bring their own or use his. He also has a few Roller Blades, for which their will be a $2 rental fee.
The planned schedule at this point, with the possibility of changes as he begins to see the needs of those who are coming, will be: Sundays 1-5 pm, Mondays 5-9 pm for Half-price Night, Wednesdays 6-10 pm, Fridays 6-11, Saturday’s 10 -12 am for Tiny Tots, 12-4 pm and 6-11 p.m. For those who love to Speed Skate, Hussey is planning to have the Center open on Tuesdays and Thursdays for speed skating practice only, with a $20 per month membership, normally from 5-7 or 6-8.
There will be a DJ at each skating session, either himself or Ron Hanes, a long lost friend who reconnected when Ron heard he was opening the Rolling Skate Center. “We skated together years ago, and now here we are reconnected because of skating,” Gary said. “I also re-found a friend who went into the marines and we lost touch. He is in a wheelchair now and he plans to come out and enjoy time on the floor in his wheelchair.”
Hussey has been surprised by some loving help that has shown up at the building when he is working on it. “One day a lady from the Church of Christ came by and asked if they could help. So a group of 16 teenagers and a few adults came and cleaned for two hours,” Hussey said.
When asked how that made him feel he said that he “felt awesome. It was breath-taking.” Other individuals have also dropped by to help in whatever way needed.
Gary Powell, a man from Bryan, who was his big brother from the Big Brother Big Sister program when Gary Hussey was 10, has been coming in once a week, to help clean and do whatever he needs help with that day. Kiria Law, a 2018 Hilltop Graduate, will be painting a mural on the west wall when it gets closer to opening day. All in all, he feels very blessed to have so many people stepping up to help.
So don’t forget to check it out sometime in January and get in on the newest fun spot in Williams County.
Rebecca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org