FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — North central West Virginia got just a bit more rad on Friday as Retro Skate held its grand opening.
Owner Lawrence Nelson is a retired veteran who came up with the idea and presented it to the Chamber of Commerce a year ago.
“When I retired my sense of purpose and public service kind of went away because I wasn’t doing that anymore and I was kind of lost without that purpose,” Nelson said. “‘What’s next? Why am I here?’ And when I moved down here I saw that there really wasn’t much for children to do. I come from outside the Pittsburgh area there’s plenty to do up there but nothing here and so I said I’m gonna jump off the ledge and open something up.”
Nelson said that he was also inspired by people reminiscing about the now-closed Valley World of Fun and wanted to bring back family fun with a spin. One of the unique elements at Retro Skate is the skating floor which is cement with an epoxy cover, making it one of a kind and able to give more grip to your skates than wood flooring according to co-owner Angie Long.
Retro Skate will also have seven inflatables available to children up to 14 years of age coming soon. A birthday party room and café are also available and Nelson said that there’s a lot more to come in the upcoming months and in the next year.
There was one twist that Nelson wanted to incorporate that got a lot of attention: serving alcoholic drinks to non-skating adults. He said the intention was never to have it be a club scene or where people could potentially be harmed.
“The goal was to, you know, dad comes home from work and wants to have a beer so mom takes the kids to the local place. We wanted Dad to be able to potentially have that beer here and still be with his family rather than the family separation,” Nelson said.
For now, due to community concerns, the plan to serve alcohol is on hold.
Currently, Retro Skate has hundreds of pairs of skates available in all different sizes, including a size eight for the tiniest of skaters. Nelson said they will bring some in-line rollerblades soon for those who prefer them over the skates. Another addition to the Retro Skate fun will be SkateMate roller skate trainers that will help beginner skaters feel more confident.
People of all ages and skill levels are welcome to skate. For more guidelines and a skating schedule, you can go here.