FALLON, Nev. — Brad Armstrong first learned to roller skate at a rink in Sacramento when he was 5 years old.
His love for skating grew over the years and by the time he was in high school he was working at that same rink he learned to skate in.
Today, he owns that rink (as well as Roller Kingdom Family Fun Center in Reno) and in March, he opened up Top Gun Skate Center in Fallon.
“We took it over fully around mid-November, and a lot needed to be fixed,” said Armstrong. “We added new carpet, more seating, redid the snack bar with new machinery and new cabinetry, changed most of the lighting to LED, brought in all new roller skates, painted the floor – we've done a lot.”
All in all, Armstrong has put in about $100,000 in upgrades and repairs with the ultimate goal of bringing smiles to kids' faces and giving families memories.
“That's what roller skating is all about,” added Armstrong. “I've had people come up to me shaking my hand, telling me the kids needed this.
Some adults have mentioned it's like the old days and they‘re excited to share with their kids what it was like then they were growing up.”
The idea of taking over the rink in Fallon wasn't something that happened overnight.
According to Armstrong, back when the rink was Uncle Bruce's, he would stop in to see what was going on and had several conversations over the years about the possibility.
Once the rink closed, he thought it was the perfect time to do it and felt there was a good possibility of success.
Armstrong added, “I want it to still have that same feel of the old business, but I want to have a quality product for the town.”
What does some of that quality look like?
For starters, one thing that was particularly awkward was that a person could essentially be walking past the bathrooms and be able to see directly in to them.
The addition of a wall was made to give restroom goers a little more privacy.
Armstrong also makes a point to let parents know that this is a safe place for families and children.
“We have a great staff that want to give kids a good time. Rather than staying at home playing video games, they can come here and know it's OK to be loud and enjoy themselves.”
However, it's not all about the kids. One thing that Armstrong is trying is an adult skate night on Wednesdays from 7:30-10 p.m.
This time is for adults 18 and over and meant to give them a window to leave their kids at home and be a little bit of a kid themselves.
Whether you're a fan of the cha-cha slide or the cupid shuffle, Armstrong is hoping that the community can find their favorite reason for coming to the rink, even if it's after church on Sundays.
“I always felt like Sunday afternoons were a good time to be open,” said Armstrong. “A lot of places are closed in Fallon during that time, so if we're able to give them that option, it's good for everyone.”
“Giving” seems to be theme with the rink. Armstrong feels strongly about giving back and supporting the local schools.
Knowing that schools are always looking for supplies, doing fundraisers is something that he does often at his other locations and something he's looking forward to doing in Fallon.
Coming into this adventure, Armstrong felt like taking over the rink would work out well for everyone. So far, that feeling seems to be resonating.
Top Gun Skate Center is located at 125 Garand Ave., in Fallon. For information, go to www.topgunskatecenter.com or call 775-867-3535.