The Golden Skate will permanently close in spring 2022

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Jennifer Sheng

People of all ages enjoy roller skating under the disco lights accompanied by retro-pop music.

Owner Hassan Sharifi announced on Oct. 17, 2021 that The Golden Skate, one of the last remaining roller skating rinks in the Bay Area, is set to shut down in spring 2022 due to financial losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Golden Skate is one of the largest rinks in the Bay Area and has attracted skaters from all over Northern California. “From Gilroy in the south, Vacaville in the north, Sacramento in the east, Richmond and San Francisco in the west. The Golden Skate has become the most diverse multicultural, multiracial and multigenerational sport entertainment in the area,” Sharifi said in a public letter addressed to employees and avid lovers of The Golden Skate.

The Bay Area has seen numerous roller rinks that opened in the ‘70s and ‘80s close down due to financial issues and overall lack of popularity. Similarly, The Golden Skate was on its last days in 1995 before the current owner, Hassan Sharifi, purchased it and brought back its colorful glory. Ever since, the rink has been helping people create memories for nearly 50 years. 

“This place has been around for so long that people will come here in their 70s [and] used to come when they were in their 20s. It has a lot of memories in it,” Raven Roy, an employee at The Golden Skate, said.

Local and small businesses are known to be the most vulnerable to economic setbacks due to COVID-19, and just like many others nationwide so was The Golden Skate. Once COVID restrictions loosened in May of 2021, Sharifi and the staffers hoped that opening the doors again would bring back the energized customers it once had. Unfortunately, they quickly realized that skating didn’t have the same popularity it once had. Although there is no set date for the closing of The Golden Skate, it will most likely be shutting down between March and May of 2022.

“The city has been trying to buy this property … for a long time,” Spencer Kiernan, assistant manager at The Golden Skate, said. The large size of the property is a major contributor to its popular demand. Due to financial losses from the pandemic and the owner being unable to maintain the property, the rink is unable to stay open. 

A DVHS student guest at the Golden Skate, Ethan Hisatomi, reacts to the news with a sense of melancholy, “I think it’s a shame that this is like one of the last roller skating places in our area and it’s closing so we won’t have any more of these places around.”

The Golden Skate temporarily closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and had only re-opened in May of 2021 after the county gave permission for more businesses to re-open. This made it difficult for The Golden Skate to stay on top of business financially when most of the budget and finances went to paying the rent of the place on their own for over a year. 

I think it’s a shame that this is like one of the last roller skating places in our area and it’s closing so we won’t have any more of these places around.”

 “[The owners] were paying for like just an empty building at that point,” Kiernan said. “They were even planning to sell [this land] about a month before we re-opened.”

COVID vaccines is an ongoing controversy, but as people continue to battle with it, businesses like these are truly receiving the unfortunate side of it. The requirement of vaccination cards caused a deeper decline in customers, especially in adults. 

“On Wednesday nights, we have 18 years or older [skating times] and it’s a lot of that crowd that just does not want to get vaccinated,” Kiernan said. 

Also, something that The Golden Skate has offered since it opened is birthday parties. Pre-pandemic, the birthday parties made up a good part of the contributions to The Golden Skate’s profits.

“We [host] about three or four [birthday parties] a weekend, but before it was about eight to ten a weekend. So the number has really dropped,” Kiernan said.

The challenges that this business faced were too much to recover from.

“It makes me sad to close a business that I have enjoyed running and worked so hard to revive. … My hope is that the memories created over the decades of the Golden Skate will live on,” Sharifi said.