Moundsville Roller Rink finds new life under new ownership

In late February, the Moundsville Roller Derby announced that it would be closing its doors for good; after serving the community for some 14 years of operation, the facility was done in by the economic woes pushed onto so many beloved local businesses by the COVID-19 pandemic. While still hosting skating sessions throughout March and throwing one last grand hurrah during their last ‘Celebration Skate’ weekend, the roller rink served a great portion of the Ohio Valley as a place of entertainment – and the home to many memories.

While this closure was obviously disheartening for many, a local small business in Moundsville, the Bonar Boutique, saw it as a great chance for expansion. Naturally, this stirred some controversy within the community and led to some choice words being shared on social media and lobbed at the boutique’s owner, Amanda Bonar. In an interview with WTRF, Bonar shares that as soon as the announcement was made, she, and her family of four children and husband, were already receiving hate mail. Bonar said, “‘You’re ruining childhoods!’ There are snapchats going around that my kids see on their feeds. Things are happening at the schools that shouldn’t be happening. It’s just really sad and unfortunate that that’s where everyone goes.”

Bonar also stated in this same interview that the owners of the roller rink, Tonia and Calvin Landis, approached her early on before any announcements of an impending closure were made public. Bonar said, “We didn’t buy the Roller Derby out from under them. The former owners, who have been a huge pillar in the community for so many years, came to us privately before they decided to put it up for sale.”

As a roller skater herself, Bonar shared that, of course, she was sad to see the derby go. She sympathized with other parents about this venue being taken away from the community, as she’s a mother herself. However, along with many others in the community, she’s excited to expand her growing business and create even more jobs for the surrounding area and greater Ohio Valley.

Personally, I share the feelings of sadness and grief over the loss of the roller rink, especially as a member of the greater Moundsville community, I spent many a birthday party and weekend there with my family and friends; but I’m excited to see a small business of the community to be granted with such an opportunity. The Ohio Valley has a bit of a problem with old, unused buildings, especially when they’re simply left to sit and rot and become a hazard for future generations – so to see members of the community working together like this to achieve success is extremely promising, inspiring, even. The creation of more jobs for the area is something I imagine no one’s getting upset about.

While the loss of the roller derby will be sad for some time, the children and adults of Moundsville, W.Va. alike will always have the memories of the rink to cherish. Soon, there will be new memories to make as we all watch as our community grows and flourishes through the magic of small business growth and opportunity.