New Mundelein roller rink aims to rekindle good times
Friends (l to r) Andrea Deifel, 11, Izzy Casper, 12 and Emily Barriencos , 12 all of Mundelein, skate together on opening night at Just for Fun 2. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 20, 2012 8:17AM
Toby Tagliapietra hopes to bring back the good times he had as a kid roller skating in Mundelein.
Tagliapietra and business partner Lisa Duncan have opened a new family roller skating rink, Just for Fun 2, in the former Hot Wheels Roller Rink at 139 N. Seymour Ave.
“To me, it’s giving back to my childhood because I have such good memories here,” said Tagliapietra, who lived in Mundelein and Vernon Hills during his youth in the 1970s and ‘80s and used to frequent the Village Skate roller rink.
The new roller skating rink opened on April 13, and the return of roller skating has generated much enthusiasm in the community.
“People are all talking about it,” said Duncan. “We’ve been wearing our T-shirts around town which say Just for Fun Roller Rink. People always ask ‘Where’s the roller rink?’”
For Tagliapietra and Duncan, this is their second roller rink venture. Since 2001, they have owned and operated the Just for Fun Roller Rink on Route 31 in McHenry.
Duncan said they first got the idea for opening a second location in Mundelein after visiting the former Hot Wheels Roller Rink, which closed in 2010, and noticed the old rink had fallen into serious disrepair.
“The community was pretty upset (when it closed),” she said.
New sound system
Tagliapietra and Duncan are leasing about 12,000 square feet of space in the old shopping center on Seymour Avenue, near Rogan Shoes. Over the last three months, they have substantially renovated the interior of the rink, including a new smoother painted skating surface, a new sound system, a concession area and small game room with air hockey and video games. The rink also offers skate rentals.
Duncan said they wanted to create a safe and fun environment for children and families to enjoy roller skating.
“Mundelein doesn’t have a lot of places for teens to go. It is great exercise too. You burn 900 calories an hour skating so it’s great for fitness,” Duncan said.
“Roller skating is so retro and it brings back fun traditions of being a regular kid,” she added. “Why does everything have to be video games? We want everything to be active. It’s better for the kids.”
Some youth who visited the new rink were impressed.
Aurora Knauf-Strom, 12, of Mundelein, said she used to skate at the former Hot Wheels rink and thinks the new rink “looks a lot better.”
“It turned out great,” she said. “It looks a lot cleaner.”
‘Caught my eye’
Emily Barrientos, 12, of Mundelein said she had never been roller skating in Mundelein before and looked forward to skating at the new rink.
“I like the disco ball in the middle of the rink,” she said. “It really caught my eye.”
While most of the customers of the rink are expected to be youth, it will also likely attract families and even some older people who remember roller skating as kids.
“We have people that are 70 and 80 skating at our rink in McHenry,” Tagliapietra said. “It’s hard to put an age on it.”
Tagliapietra, who used to be a member of the USA Roller Hockey team for more than 20 years, also plans to offer hour long instructional classes in roller hockey and if there is enough interest will begin roller hockey leagues.
The rink also proposes private parties, as well as school fund-raisers, church outings, DARE program events, Boy Scouts and Girl Scout events, and park district events. Is is also looking to host special events throughout the year such overnight lock-in skates when kids are out of school for spring break, winter break, summer vacation and New Year’s Eve.
Hours of operation of Just for Fun 2 are Wednesdays, 6:30 to 9 p.m.; Fridays, 6:30 to 9 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturdays 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., 3 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 9 p.m.; and Sundays, 12:30 to 3 p.m. The rink will also be available on other days for private parties and special events.
Persons who like more information can call the rink at (847) 949-7528 or visit www.justforfun2rollerrink.com.