ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A popular skating rink is celebrating its 25th anniversary in the Key City.
May 7th, 1996 Jeff and Terry Groban opened ‘The Skatin Place‘ in Abilene, and Friday nights were never the same again.
“Friday nights the Skatin Place was the place to go. We used to have late skates, all night skates, things like that to give Abilene kids something to do.” Says co-owner of the Skatin Place Jeff Groban.
Groban says it had always been a dream of his to own a roller rink since the first time he laced up his skates at 16 years old.
“Here I am 25 years later, 63 years old, and I still love coming to work,” said Groban.
Though he loves what he does, the work is still hard. He and his wife regularly attend national conferences to stay up to date on the latest in roller rink trends.
“We always try to add something new to the rink every year to keep it lively, anything we need to try to stay up on top,” said Groban.
Hard work and passion aside, Groban says there are three things that make for a good skating rink.
“It’s the lights, the sound system, and a good floor. That’s your start to having a good skating rink and we have all three here,” he says.
But as the changes came, they made sure to keep that iconic ‘Skatin’ atmosphere at the heart of the operation — a retro scene that seems to be coming back in style.
“We do adult nights every once in a while and all they wanna hear is old school music, 70s and 80s. Well, with the younger crowd they wanna hear old school music. So it’s all coming back,” says Groban.
The staff that have come and gone in the past 25 years have moved up to loftier heights, never forgetting where they got their start.
“My first manager in ’96 is one of the big wigs for Adidas right now. One of our others? She’s a nurse in the NICU right now,” said Groban.
Even when they move on, Jeff and Terry stay, because as he sees it, doing anything less than what you love just wouldn’t be the same.
“As long as I can still do it I’ll be here. I still love it, it’s still a passion of mine, and I’m going to keep this place up and running as long as I can,” says Groban.
25th Anniversary shirts are available for $15 at the ‘Stuff Shop’ inside the Skatin Place, located at 1930 South Clack Street in Abilene.