Oct 28, 2022 - Business

New roller skating rink opening in Camp North End, and another hopes to open in Charlotte shortly after

Rollin CLT

About 250 people attended Rollin' CLT's skate-a-thon and fundraiser in October. Photo courtesy of Brandi Fox/Rollin CLT

Roller skating has surged in popularity, and several Black-owned businesses are behind the movement here in Charlotte.

Driving the news: Dream Culture is a temporary roller skating rink opening in Camp North End’s Ford Building (400 Camp Rd.) on Saturday, Nov. 5. 

  • It’s Black-owned and presented by You vs. Yourself, Charlotte Free Skate and Screamin’ Wheels and Blades
  • The activation will run through the month of November with the possibility of being extended, according to David Simmons, founder of CLT Free Skate. 
  • Their goal is to eventually open a permanent skating rink in Charlotte.

Simultaneously, three women behind the pop-up skating company Rollin’ CLT are also trying to open a permanent skating rink in Charlotte. They’re crowdsourcing to help put a down payment on a building.

Why it matters: Charlotte hasn’t had a permanent indoor skating rink in nearly two years. Now we’re looking at the possibility of having two.

Details: At 2,400 square feet, the Dream Culture rink will feature artwork by local artists, a concession stand and a DJ. 

  • It’ll have sessions for different age groups — all ages from 11am-2pm, 18+ from 6-8:30pm and 21+ from 8:30-11pm.
  • Price: General admission is $20 for adults and $30 for entry with skate rentals. General admission for kids ages 18 and under is $10 and $15 for admission with skate rentals.

The big picture: Skating became wildly popular during the pandemic. Google searches for “roller skating” more than doubled between March and May of 2020, WCNC reported.

  • Simmons was one of those people who picked roller skating back up during the pandemic. “The streets were empty, so I used South Tryon as my daily skate commute and my playground so to speak,” he told me. 
  • Brandi Fox, co-founder of Rollin’CLT, grew up in Charlotte and noticed a similar trend and a need for places for people to just show up and skate.

“The last time I went to a skating rink [in Charlotte] was about two years ago when I was in eighth grade,” Brandi Fox, co-founder of Rollin’ CLT, tells me.

Context: For about a year now, Rollin’ CLT has been hosting pop-up roller skating and lounge experiences.

  • With their truck, they set up skating rinks for businesses and events — offering skates, hookah rentals and a mobile bar with their services.
  • Now Fox, and co-founders Kendria Holmes and Sh’Niqua Ussery, are trying to secure a permanent location by 2023.
rollin clt rendering
Fox tells me their permanent location will look a little something like this. Rendering courtesy of Brandi Fox/Rollin CLT
  • “So if you want to come and skate and drink, you can do that. But if you just want to come and enjoy the lounge, we want to be able to offer that as well,” Fox said.

Zoom in: The Rollin’ CLT girls also started a nonprofit called Rollin’ Homies, which is geared toward kids between the ages of 10 and 17. “We teach them everything they don’t learn in school about real life,” Fox said.

  • Aside from skating lessons, Rollin’ Homies learn about financial literacy, budgeting, investing, entrepreneurship and leadership skills.
  • They meet once a month on the third Sunday of every month from 3-5pm at the Keith Family YMCA.

What’s next: Rollin’ CLT is having a “Sweetheart skate party” for Valentine’s day at the Park Expo & Conference Center.

  • To support their dreams of opening a permanent skating rink, you can donate to their GoFundMe here.

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