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.
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:
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.