BRADENTON -- When it comes to milestones in the Florida roller-skating industry, June 6, 2015, likely ranks as a red-letter day.
Over the course of 26 hours, the operator of Bradenton's only roller skate rink not only set permanent roots in the community by exercising a purchase option on the rink property itself, but also bought into one of the biggest potential skate markets in Florida: Orlando.
Astro Skate Family Fun Centers, a 34-year-old Tarpon Springs company, paid $1.05 million for its 19,000-square-foot rink across the street from DeSoto Square mall at 3611 Third St. W. Hours later, the company bought the former Universal Skating Center in Orlando for $1.7 million to open its fourth location in the state.
According to Manatee County property records, the center's former owner, H&B Corp. of St. Petersburg, purchased the skate center in 1994 for $800,000.
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Known for their pink-based color theme, booming sound systems and themed skate events, the Astro facilities draw customers from all walks of life. Chris Maganias, Astro's owner, said he likes owning his properties outright so he can customize them into destinations that make skating fun for all ages.
He also does it to keep roll
er skating alive in Florida.
"Actually they would all be gone, except the one up here in Tarpon," Maganias told the Bradenton Herald. "Our roller skating rinks get everybody."
The local rink hosts numerous themed activities, including adult skating events, Christian skates, birthday parties, school functions and competitive events for short-track speed skaters. Astro's new Orlando facility is slated to hold a regional qualifying meet for speed skaters looking to move on to national prominence.
Since opening in Bradenton five years ago, Astro has made improvements to a skate center that has been operating since 1979. Upgrades include new paint, additional sound system bass, new carpeting and additional lighting. This year, the company plans to repave the parking lot at the 2-acre site.
Maganias said he is investing more than $325,000 in improvements at his Orlando property as well.
Astro's other two facilities are in Tarpon Springs and Pinellas Park.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.