Local skate center celebrates 35 years of business

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Young children show off their skills.
Photo by Shawn Nowlin
Camille Leonard and Emily Winters ready to roll to some fun.
Chris Conner (middle) and some of his co-workers.

Leslie McNeal knew for weeks that she was going to take her family to the Skate Center of Roanoke Valley on Monday, May 1. Growing up as a Salem resident with four siblings, McNeal says she often spent her weekends at the skate center. “I have so many great memories in this place,” she said with a huge smile. “I wanted my children to be here today because any business that can reach 35 years is something to celebrate.”

Celebrants of all ages showed up and enjoyed free cupcakes, participated in friendly races and of course showed off their skating skills. When kids come here, I would say that 90 percent of them now expect us to run a sock race,” said Chris Conner, General Manager of Skate Center. “There is no such thing as an average week for me. One morning I may be cleaning gutters while I can be laying carpet tiles the next. I have a wonderful team who help me do all of this stuff, I’m just the person who gets projects started.”

Chris added, “I was 12 when my parents purchased this skate center. When people say ‘Lee Hi Skate Center’ I just roll with it. But actually, we are the Skate Center of Roanoke Valley.”

Attendee Lisa Jordan said she considers the skate center a true gem. “From as far back as I can remember, this place has always been somewhere to come and have a good time,” she said. “So much has changed since I was a child and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they are going to do in the future.”

The Skate Center of Roanoke Valley is much more than just a place to purchase some rentals and skate around a rink. Additional services include: private parties, a skate shop, team banquets, a Play zone and more.

“I’d like to thank the community for supporting us all of these years,” Chris said. “As much fun as we’ve had over these last 35 years, we look more forward to what we are doing the future.”

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