Galaxy Roller Rink celebrates 30th year

Published 11:36 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Galaxy Roller Rink in Niles is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a party and open skate on Dec. 12. (Photo submitted)

When Jim and Sandy Kidwell first opened Galaxy Roller Rink in December 1980, they had their daughters in mind.

And now 30 years later, thousands of children have also benefitted from it.

“When we first opened it up, we had our two daughters. We wanted a place for the kids of the township to go and have a good time and have a safe place to be at,” said Jim, who also serves as the Niles Township supervisor.

In honor of the 30-year anniversary, the Niles roller rink is hosting a party and open skate Sunday, Dec. 12 from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Galaxy was a popular hangout for children in the 1980s and 1990s.

“When we first started up, we’d have 300 to 400 kids in there on a good Friday or Saturday night,” Kidwell said. “It was a pretty good hotspot.”

The popularity has decreased in recent years, although Kidwell said a good night will bring in as many as 150 people.

Kidwell said the popularity of skating comes in waves but the longevity of the roller rink has proved it’s not just a fad.

“Over the years skating comes in highs and lows,” Kidwell said. “A new generation always seems to come up. Being here 30 years speaks for itself.”

Currently the roller rink is getting pretty good business.

“People tend to stay home when the economy is bad,” Kidwell said. “This has helped us out. When the economy is slow, people know we’re a neighborhood place to come to.”

The key to the business’ success has been knowing their customers — the children.

“We show an interest in the kids and what they have to say when they come in,” Kidwell said. “We try to communicate with the kids and what they want with the music and so forth.”

While the music has changed over the years, many of the faces have remained the same.

“One of the funniest things is we’re seeing the kids from the very beginning bring their kids into the rink now,” Kidwell said. “It’s gratifying to see they liked it so much that they bring their kids back.”

Kidwell said the party will be a reunion of sorts, as many past customers will be in attendance.

“We’ve had people call us from North Carolina to find out more information on it,” Kidwell said. “We’re excited to see some of the old faces come back to the rink and share some of the experiences that they had.”

The anniversary party is free and open to the community.

The Galaxy Roller Rink, located at 1120 Ontario Rd. in Niles, has open skates Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. The rink can also be booked for private parties any day of the week.

For more information, visit or call (269) 684-8197.