Roller rink makes a comeback as RollXscape Skating Center

I began roller skating at the Grand Roller Rink in the mid-1980s, when my elementary school would host roller skating parties for the students every year.

This past November, I was there to document the rink’s reopening. Located at 12521 James St. in Holland Township, the venue has been a gathering place for Holland locals for decades.

After undergoing a major renovation, the new RollXscape Skating Center officially opened on Nov. 4. Nearly 200 skaters of all ages, from beginners to pro-level skating enthusiasts, came out for an evening of skating.

Some rented skates while many brought their own. Patrons enjoyed gliding around the rink, as well as enjoying the arcade, skate shop, food and drinks at the concession stand, the music, and great company.

“It is totally awesome,” says Mark Dicocco, of Allendale. “Everything has changed. Everyone should check it out.”

Competition drops off

Originally built as the Grand Roller Rink in the early 1970s, the venue competed against the Paramount Rollercade, built in the late 1950s along Lakewood Boulevard in Holland Township, and Rollarena, Holland’s original roller rink, built in the 1930s along South Washington Avenue. The Paramount closed in the mid-1970s, and Rollarena closed in the mid-1980s. 

As the sole remaining roller rink, the Grand became a popular attraction for skating enthusiasts of all ages in West Michigan throughout the end of the 20th century.

After 35 years in business, however, the Grand Roller Rink closed its doors in June 2007. The Edge Ice Arena, now Griff’s IceHouse West on Holland Avenue in Holland Township, hosted roller-skating events the following year.

Changing hands

In 2010, Pastors Tony and Crystal Nolans reopened the venue as HOME Roller Rink, named after their ministry Healing Outreach Ministries for Everyone.

The business reorganized itself as The Rink Community Event Center in 2015 but fell into financial hardship in 2020, during the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the rink to close.

Despite attention from the media, the owners weren’t able to save the business and put the building up for sale in early 2021. Ben Fogg, of Fogg Filler, a machine manufacturer in Holland Township, purchased the building with plans to convert it into a warehouse.

“After hearing about the sale of The Rink, I wanted to keep the roller skating tradition alive in Holland,” says Tim Price, a Holland resident. “I had found a place on the south side of town to open a skating rink.”

‘Everything has changed’

This past March, Price and his family connected with the Fogg family after numerous community members expressed their disappointment in the loss of the skating rink, which had been a Holland community staple for nearly a half-century. 

Price and his wife, Brenda, agreed to lease the building from Fogg to operate and run it as a skating rink. Renovation began in May and wrapped up at the end of October.

Their efforts were applauded by those at the reopening celebration.

“I like the way they rebuilt it,” says Joe Cruz, of Holland, at the reopening. “The rink is a lot bigger.”
Joe Cruz, of Holland, does a “shoot-the-duck” move while roller skating at RollXscape Skating Center’s grand opening in Holland Township, Nov. 4.
“This place is like a second home to me,” says Jamie Guilmett, of Holland, at the reopening. “I’ve been skating here since the 1980s. I love it.”

If you would like to check out the new RollXscape and take advantage of a roller-skating session, the new skating center is open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Public sessions are 6-8 p.m. Thursdays, 7-10 p.m. Fridays, and 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 3-5:30 p.m., and 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturdays. An adult session is held 8:30-11 p.m. every Thursday. 
Jamie Guilmett, of Holland, and her daughter Jayla, 8, glide together on one foot while roller skating at RollXscape Skating Center’s grand opening in Holland Township, Nov. 4.
Additional information about the new skating venue can be found on their website and Facebook page.

Read more articles by J.R. Valderas.