BELLEVUE -- After over four decades in business, Bellevue Skate King is shutting its doors.
For the generations who made memories here, be it for birthday parties or just the occasional free skate, it's the end of an era. We laced up our skates one last time-- and you can, too! -- to learn more about how Skate King has been a staple for families over the years.
Returning to Skate King is like walking into a time capsule: nothing much has changed since it first opened in 1974. The shag carpeting, the brown skates with the bright orange wheels, the loud music- it's all still here. Heck, even the Kingdome mural is still intact! But the best part is the enthusiasm many of us likely remember having at the roller rink when WE were kids... is clearly being carried over by kids these days.
Yes, I just said "kids these days."
We chatted with kids and adults alike and the common thread we heard from all generations was how important it was to have a safe, relatively inexpensive place to get active and have fun with friends and family.
Madilyn "Maddie" Knox showed us some of her favorite skating moves, like "going really fast... and spinning!" as she told us.
Her mom, Lauren Knox, grew up coming here and wanted to share the experience with her daughter. "It's... a wonderful experience. There's so many activities she's done where, as a parent, you just kind of sit in the background and watch. This was the first event, or activity, we could do together!"
Now that Skate King is closing, many families are left looking for another place to do something together as a family.
General Manager Michael Louis starting working for the local Skate King franchise as a student back in 1982 (there were also roller rinks in Burien and Kent). By 1985 he was a manager, and he's been the GM of the Bellevue location for the last 12 years.
Still, selling the business was not his decision. "I would have liked to have kept it going," he said. But the owner of the business, along with the owner of the building, found a company (reportedly Harley Davidson) who can pay market value for the land. "Skating revenue can't generate what that market value dictates."
The closure of Bellevue Skate King (the only location of the original three to remain) means Louis, along with the help of fellow employees and members of the community, are actively looking for other potential locations. In addition, twenty employees are losing their jobs as a result of the closure.
Trish Alexander is one of the many people helping in the search. She's the founder of Skate Journeys, a roller skating school, and has run her classes here at the Bellevue Skate King for the last 16 years. For families missing their skating fix, consider this: Skate Journeys offers all different levels of roller skating classes for all ages, and will be offering these classes all summer at other rinks around the area. Click HERE for more information on their classes.
If you and your family want to celebrate Skate King once last time before it closes, there are a few opportunities in the coming days. Now through Friday June 26th, Skate King will operate from 1pm to 7pm; it's free for anyone who just wants to come in and look around one last time; or you can pay just $5 to skate.
The final Good Bye Skate King party is Saturday, June 27th, 6pm to 10pm all ages; 10pm to 1am for 18 and older, all with $5 admission and $2 skate rental. The last official day is June 30th, and Skate King will be open from 1-7 before Louis closes the doors for the last time. For more details, click HERE.