It was announced on Facebook Wednesday, Feb. 1 that Skatelan of Wheelersburg would be closing its doors after 37 years of operation.
The Facebook announcement came as a shock to some people that a longtime community staple in Porter Township would be closing. The announcement reads, “It is with mixed emotions that after 37 years we announce the closing at Skatlan. In a whirlwind purchase with immediate possession required, our doors will close for good after this weekend. We have enjoyed decades of fun and laughter and will miss the atmosphere. We apologize for any inconvenience, as all scheduled parties after Sunday 2/5/17 will have to be canceled. Please come skate this Friday 7-10 PM, Saturday 1-4, 4-7, 7-10 and Sunday 1-4 for our final weekend at Skatelan.”
That Facebook message has as of Friday night received 1,736 shares and 349 comments. The comments were of mixed emotion with one person saying they had cried three times that day after seeing the announcement and that if they had ever won the lottery Skatelan would have been one of their first purchases.
Hope Villarreal, Owner of Skatelan was busy Friday greeting all that came to visit the business that evening.
When asked about the reality of closing the business she had been a part of for nearly 40 years she said, “it’s bittersweet. I’ve enjoyed the kids and the kids were why me and my (late) husband built this over 30 years ago.”
She said they built the business for area children to have a safe place to go.
“Now, we’ve come to the end and it’s so sad,” Villarreal said.
In closing the business Villarreal has plans to retire.
“I’ve seen generations come through here and it’s been nice. Some of them are here tonight (Friday night) and they brought their grandchildren. I hope they’ve all enjoyed it,” Villarreal said.
For several people Skatelan has meant a lot to them and served as a place were positive memories were made.
“I’ve had a lot of kids come back to tell me because of you I went back to school and I’m going on to the university. That’s a wonderful thing and it make you feel so good when someone is listening and went on with their life and enjoyed it,” Villarreal said.
When asked what she’s going to miss the most in retirement Villarreal said, “I’m going to miss the kids. I’m going to miss seeing their faces and when an eight-year-old comes up to the counter to return skates and says, ‘this is the best time I’ve had all day.’ That’s a wonderful feeling.”
She said also in retirement she hopes to visit family overseas and enjoy the rest of her life.
“I hope everyone has enjoyed it and has great memories,” Villarreal said as an unofficial last message to the community.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter