Markham Roller Rink Celebrates 35 Years in Business

25 May
Markham Roller Rink

Markham Roller Rink

Markham Roller Rink (Markham) has been a source of fun and entertainment for African Americans for over 35 years. Opened on January 31, 1974, this family-run business, located at 16630 S. Dixie Highway in Markham, Illinois, has “survived presidents, corporations, competition, recessions, and many depressions,” says co-owner Steve Miller. Therefore, the staying power of this small but community focused organization is worthy of being shared on AS NOT SEEN ON TV.

The original owner and Steve’s father, the late Evan R. Miller, was a man of strong will and determination. He had the heart and mind of an entrepreneur even though he had a full-time job. Mr. Evan’s entrepreneurial spirit was evident as far back as his son could remember. Steve recalled his father “dabbling” in barbering and independent truck driving. Although those ventures were successful, they were still not enough for Mr. Evan. He continued to dream.

After a visit to a roller rink in the area, Mr. Evan envisioned a roller rink of his own. His dream became a reality when he was handed the keys to the current building on December 31, 1973 after planning to purchase it for approximately one year. Markham would not be here today if it were not for his courage, hard work and determination.

Steve Miller - Co-Owner

Steve Miller - Co-Owner

Statistics show that most businesses fail within five years of operation. To hold steadfast for 35 years is phenomenal. What are the keys to Markham’s success? Steve attributed the following five things to the rink’s success:

1. Roller skaters that continue to return to the rink.
2. Cross-training staff members. Employees learn how to do everything at the rink from cleaning the washroom to spinning CDs to landscaping. They don’t have to know how to do these things coming in, but they will learn them. Cross-training not only helps on wages, the money saved from this practice is used to develop and keep talent. Markham has never lain off employees.
3. Reasonable prices. Families can skate and eat without going broke. “We think of family first, not just the
individual,” says Steve. Therefore, a family of four can enjoy themselves for a lot less than going to a water park, ballpark or movie theater. Also, food items are still $2.00 or less.
4. Do things that most businesses cannot or are unwilling to do. Plan for the future, not just for today. The business has to stay competitive and profitable.
5. Goodness, grace and hard work. “We suffered some for the good of the business.”

Additionally, Markham was the leaders of several innovations in the roller skating industry. Most of them have been imitated by other rinks over the years. Specifically, they were among the first to offer:

  • Recorded music instead of organ music;
  • Morning adult skating as well as gospel skate night;
  • A beginner’s rink and dance floor separate from the skating rink floor;
  • A skate floor that was not inundated with posters and other obstructions; and
  • Bus service for kids from various locations.
  • Now we know the secret behind Markham’s 35 years of service. Steve proudly claims that “we are here to stay.” To make sure this happens, be sure to get “your roll on” at Markham Roller Rink at 16630 S. Dixie Highway in Markham, Illinois.

    If you visit Markham after reading this story, make sure you let them know that you read their story on AS NOT SEEN ON TV. You won’t get any specials; you’re just helping me build credibility for my blog.


    8 Responses to “Markham Roller Rink Celebrates 35 Years in Business”

    1. wolfgang & petra from Germany September 13, 2009 at 3:48 am #

      Dear guys,

      congratulation for your work 4 all the familys in your area. have a look on our website and – it´s what we doing in Germany for the familys.
      Hope to meet you one day and we wishing you a lot of fun in the future.

      Petra and Wolfgang from Germany

      • Marcie September 13, 2009 at 11:48 am #

        Thanks for stopping through. I went to your site. I like it, but I need a little translation. 🙂 Congratulations to you, also!

    2. HeelShields September 19, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

      Loved skating at Markham!

      • Marcie September 19, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

        It is still a great place to roll.

    3. wayne jones September 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

      markham is my hometown and “the rink” was the most positive outlet in my high school yrs. I met my first love there I also learned how to skate with the best and steppin was no thang if you know what I mean.I havent been home in over 20 yrs.but when i do im going to go to my favorite roller rink of all time!!!!!!!!!!
      keep up the good work .{Crazy legs jones}WAYNE R. JONES

      • Marcie September 19, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

        I am writing a roller skating book and would love to have your skate story and any photos, memories and names of other skaters you can share with me.

    4. Regina September 23, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

      Great Article! I have been searching for an African American rink to model after; I look forward to visiting this rink.

      • Marcie September 24, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

        Please let the person know that you found about them on As NOT Seen on TV.

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