RVA and the Tri-Cities have had a vast history of rolling to the rhythm of a funky beat that dawned with Golden Skateworld and The Richmond Arena. Years later the Skateland corporation expanded from Maryland to Virginia opening their first rink in Richmond’s Northside, the second on Hull Street (commonly referred to as Skateland of Richmond), the third on Williamsburg Road (known as Rollerdome), the fourth in Fredericksburg, the fifth in Petersburg (known in recent years as The Petersburg Skate Factory), and the sixth and final in this corporation was our rink in Chester, and today we celebrate her 40 year history. If the corporation had not disbanded between rink owners, Ashland Skateland would have been considered number seven. Ashland is also historically known for basing their building plans off of ours.
George and Janis Farrow, as well as Jack and Nancy Becker, opened Chester Skateland in 1979, and 10 years prior in 1969 opened the Petersburg Skating Rink that unfortunately permanently closed for business in late 2014. Many years have passed but the mottos of both Skateland’s live on…. “exist to provide a safe and clean facility that promotes family interaction in a friendly atmosphere where the community can enjoy the sport of roller skating through skate lessons, sessions, birthday parties, and special events…”
Jack and George were both very prominent coaches in the artistic figure skating world and dedicated their lives to the business and the sport. We would, unfortunately, lose George in 1999, and then Jack in 2010. After the death of George, Janis would have to take over and pick up the pieces of a broken business and essentially start from scratch with very little managerial experience, but none of that stopped her from turning it into something beautiful and getting us to where we are today.
Before we lost Jack in 2010 he was working on willing the business to Cindy after George and Janis to maintain the family ownership of the business, but never got the opportunity to complete that last business plan in regards to our future. Nonetheless, Nancy got in touch with her business partner Alli Tanimowo that bought out her Maryland rink in Lanham to lease the business portion of our rink in May of 2015 for three years. Since then, Alli has released the business for another three years, and that lease expires in 2021.
Cindy Smith Schrader, daughter of Janis and George, began her coaching career in 1983 after retiring from the competitive ranks. Schrader has been involved with the sport for over forty years and has always coached at the Chester Artistic Skating Club since her coaching career began. She loves teaching beginners just as much as she does those in the higher ranks of the sport. Cindy skated in all disciplines of roller figure skating and was a champion on the regional and national level on numerous occasions. She experienced the thrill of representing the USA at the World Championships six times winning two gold medals, one silver and one bronze. She also received many other medals in international competitions such as the Pan Am and World Games. Schrader and her partner, Mark Howard, competed on the world stage in Lisbon, Portugal (1978), Altenau, Germany (1979), Bogota, Colombia (1980), Nelson, New Zealand (1981), Bremerhaven, Germany (1982) and Fort Worth, Texas (1983).