, the landmark attraction that has stood on Bradshaw Road for nearly 40 years, will close its doors this month, co-owner Dan King said Wednesday.
The roller skating rink at 2900 Bradshaw Rd. will hold its last day of skating on Feb. 26.
“I’m getting too old to run it anymore,” said King, 67. “It’s been a tough business climate for the past two years.”
King said the decision wasn’t based on rent prices, which increase a set amount every year.
“Skating has its highs and its lows,” he said, adding that the last major popularity boom he can remember was in the 1980s.
The Bradshaw Road location was the King family’s second skating rink. The original King’s Skate Country, located on Franklin Boulevard in Elk Grove and opened in 1948 by King’s father, Lester, will remain open.
The closure of the Rosemont location will cost most of the rink’s 25 employees their jobs, but Dan King said almost all of them are part-time employees.
The rink has many loyal customers, including competitive skaters who come to practice up to five times a week, Dan King said.
He said the hardest part about the decision to shutter the business was, “knowing that it’s going to be closed and we’re not going to see those people anymore.”
Dan King recalled the story of a woman who came to King’s Skate Country earlier Wednesday to book a party for March. He said she was visibly saddened by the news, and moved up the date of her party.
“She said, ‘I grew up here. I want to cry,’ ” Dan King said.
Dan King grew up around skating, too. When he was only 3, he earned a nickel for each pair of roller skates he clamped onto customer’s shoes at the family’s Elk Grove roller rink. His parents ran the business and his grandparents worked in the snack bar. Today, Dan’s son helps him and his wife at the Bradshaw Road location.
The roller rink’s customers have also grown up with the Kings.
“We have people coming out as grandparents who used to come in as kids,” Dan King said.
Dan King, who lives in Elk Grove, said now he’s “pretty much going to be retired.”
Dan King acknowledged the roller rink has played a major part in giving local children a safe activity, and said that role is probably more important today than it was when the rink opened in the 1970s.
“We’ve occupied hundreds of thousands of hours of kids’ time,” he said.
Rosemont resident Kathy Sanchez said she’s hoping the rink will stay open for just that reason.
“One of my major concerns is that this is the only place that the kids can go and be in a safe environment,” Sanchez said in an e-mail. “Not only is it a fun, family place, but a healthy activity for the children and parents as well.”
Dan King said his family would be open to the possibility of someone else buying the Bradshaw Road roller rink.