Bridging & Empowering Communities Through Skating

Rolling Soul will bridge and connect communities to create more cohesive neighborhoods. Our mission is to be the premier skate rink destination in New York and a cultural hub that bridges and connects New Yorkers.

Jim St. Germain
Rolling Soul will create economic opportunities for the borough that has given me so much. It will serve as a cultural hub and bridge to connect newcomers to the Brooklyn I know and love.

Why Rolling Soul & Why NOw

Bridging Communities

As gentrification is rampant, Black and Latino families make up the bulk of those being pushed out of the neighborhood. Weaving and tightening the social fabric while creating sustainable, long- term economic opportunities that support our community.

02.

Renewed Interest In Skating

Over the past few years, and with the help of social media influencers, a new generation of skaters from all backgrounds has emerged. But they have few places to skate, to shop and nohome to regularly meet up where they can find a modern brandthat reflect their needs and style.

Business Opportunities

Over the past few years, and with the help of social mediainfluencers, a new generation of skaters from all backgrounds isemerging. But they have few places to skate, to shop and nohome to regularly meet up where they can find a modern brandthat reflect their needs and style.

I was a young Haitian boy when my family moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I saw poverty, failing schools, gun violence and high unemployment all around me. But my surroundings changed when I was introduced to the Empire Roller Skating Rink, the birthplace of roller disco.
Jim St. Germain
Rolling Soul
Rolling Soul, Brooklyn

It's All About The Culture

Roller skating has been part of black culture in Brooklyn for generations.

Roller skating figured into the Civil Rights movement, as skaters protested for desegregated rinks back in the 1960s. Hip-Hop, Reggae, house music, soul, Jazz, R&B and disco have all seemingly integrated with roller skating culture.

In the 70’s and 80’s, the epicenter of the roller skating universe was the Empire Skating Rink in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

It was there that the art form known as roller disco was born.

Renowned singer, Cher, graced the rink’s famous “magic maple” floors (she wrote a song about it called “Hell on Wheels”), as did a pantheon of skating greats with nicknames like Virgo Black and Ultra Freak and Miss Mean Wheels.

But in 2007 Empire Skating Rink closed. It was a casualty of the tide of gentrification that had wiped out countless other rinks around the country. Now one of Black Brooklyn’s most iconic cultural hubs was gone.

Today a new generation of skaters are bringing back this phenomenon, helped by the emergence of the social media platform, TikTok.

Bridging & Empowering

Our Services

Skate Rink

Over the past few years, and with the help of social media and social media influencers, a new generation of skaters from all backgrounds has emerged. However, they have few places to skate, to shop and no home to regularly meet up where they can find a modern brand that reflects their needs and style.

Rolling Soul is that brand that will reflect the image, needs and style of this new generation of skaters.

Food & Drinks

We will serve plant-based foods that reflect flavors and cultures of Crown Heights. Our menu will focus on Caribbean dishes with its native plants such as calaloo, yams, patties, and healthy fruit shakes like mango, papaya, and sea moss.

The menu will reflect the different cultures of Central Brooklyn: from Haitian legumes, Black rice, ackee and salt-fish, to soul food, the Spanish influenced cuisines of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as well as the Indian influences, Trinidad and Guyana.

We will have a full bar with some of the finest Rum from every Caribbean producing island.

Retail

The retail component will be key to build brand awareness and create an additional revenue stream. T Shirts, skates, skating accessories, stickers, badges, jackets and with the 70’s and 80’s feel. will be made by Black designers such as Haitian fashion designer Davidson Petit Frere.

Currently, there are countless brands focusing on Skate culture but none dedicated to the Roller Skating community and we aim to corner that market.

Classes

We will offer private instruction in roller skating and group classes, where we will put an emphasis on Black and Latino skating virtuosos to teach our classes. People of all ages will be able to get skating instructions and mentorship from the skating legends who helped invent the art form of Roller Disco 50 years ago.

We will have a program setup that will help students train to become teachers so that the knowledge and skills of the older generation will be transitioned to the younger generation of kids from the neighborhood.

Classes will reflect different skate dance styles of the West Indies and beyond: kompas, afro-beats, reggae, salsa, Jazz, and Hip Hop. Aerobic classes on wheels will be available for those who want to skate into fitness.

Impact

During after school hours, we will host Rolling Trap, a slot dedicated to our youth. Simultaneously, we’ll provide tutoring, financial literacy, coding, high quality video production equipment and software they can use to make music videos, films, audio visual work, writing workshops, and storytelling.

Being near Medgar Evers College means we can have HBCU nights, where Black colleges, and sororities can have the space dedicated to them.

Rolling Soul will partner with local non-profits, and provide a direct path for the elderly, new residents, and business leaders to directly support kids in need.

Events

Rolling Soul will have a live music venue that attracts some of the biggest artists in the world. We’ll feature local music legends like Coolie Ranks, Caribbean Splash, Alegba and Friends and some of Brooklyn’s most popular DJs, emphasizing Black and Latino music on skates.

Rolling Soul will have the city’s only skating Sunday gospel brunch, the Holly Rollers Brunch. We will also host a quarterly shabbat-like skate night for our orthodox Jewish neighbors.

Where Brooklyn At!

Central Brooklyn has the largest Black population in New York and roller skating has played a major role in keeping Black culture alive.

Google Trending

Google searches for “roller skates” peaked in May 2020, reaching 100 on the Google Trends interest-over-time chart, its highest  in five years.

Testimonial

What the Brooklyn skater culture is saying.

“Roller skating is so significant for me. I want more people to love it as much as I do.”
Laura Kyle
“I roller skate because I love to. It's amazing to see how many people are becoming passionate about it as I am.”
Katy Lawrence
“Skating is in our DNA. The resurgence of skating will bring our communities closer.”
Skating Gene
“I'm just now learning to roller skate and I have to say it is exhilarating. I love it. I feel so free when I'm roller skating.”
Mia Robertson

Rolling Soul

Bridging & Empowering Communities Through Skating