Sisters have remade rink in two years of ownership

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FARMINGTON — In January 2014, Shelley Rhames saw the Rock N Roller Rink brimming with untouched potential as she envisioned the bling and bright lights of New York City's downtown nightlife.

At that time, her vision for the roller rink in southeast Farmington was just that: a vision. The rink had become rather bland in the preceding years, not exactly making for a lively scene.

"It was a dead rink. You walk in, and it was just 'blah,' " Rhames said. "Everyone stopped going. The skating rink just went."

It was far from what it could be. And once Rhames  took over alongside her sister and co-owner Linda Burgett on April 1, 2016, the pair made good on the promise of adding more bling to the establishment.

A new look

Music video screens hang from the walls surrounding the rink now. Recently upgraded motion lights flicker around the new plywood flooring.

"We just wanted to bring a freshness to it, a new excitement," Burgett said. "We're innovative with how we use the screens and the lighting."

Rhames said that vision was never seen at the Rock N Roller Rink before. But that new look didn't stop there.

The walls around the common area are painted with New York-theme sights such as Central Park. Extra arcade games were added, as was a children's play area. Pizza is made from scratch and served to patrons, and there's also an ice cream parlor.

The building expanded from being just a roller skating rink to a family entertainment center.

"It's been totally renovated from the ceiling to the floor," Burgett said.

Major health benefit

Because of frightening childhood obesity rates, combined with the city's efforts to be more of a recreational activities mecca in the Four Corners region, the Rock N Roller Rink is now turning into a physical fitness destination for locals, both young and old.

According to webmd.com, it's possible to burn more than 600 calories from one hour of roller skating.

Rhames said she's seeing more people bring along additional family members to skate because of the health benefits.

"It's not just mom bringing their kids, it's mom bringing the dads and the families," Rhames said.

Burgett said the venue even became a place that helped a young boy lose weight just from skating alone, and it also became a hot spot for an 84-year-old man to stroll around the rink.

"They're having fun and getting fit, and they don't realize it," Burgett said.

Both Rhames and Burgett said the more appealing atmosphere has drawn more and more people.

"My son, he loves to come skating. So, I'd love to see the younger generation doing what we used to do. It's progressing to where they're loving to come skating again," said local parent Jessica Swatsenbarg. "It's great exercise. When I'm done skating, my legs hurt for the rest of the day."

Just the beginning

Already approaching the two-year mark since they took over the rink, Rhames and Burgett are planning additional features to ensure the business keeps evolving.

They plan to install a glow-in-the-dark lighting feature for the rink in the next couple of months. They also are looking to start activities such as a speed skating club.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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