A rental of retro roller skates takes over the Bentway
The Retro Rolla roller skate rental pop-up launches on June 19 and runs throughout the summer
A retro roller skate rental service takes over the Bentway this summer from June 19.
Retro Rolla is accepting bookings from June 14th and will post new time slots every Monday. The pop-up is run by Henry O’Brien and Janine Bartels, a couple who came up with the business idea last year. O’Brien had noticed a roller skate rental on a trip to Melbourne, Australia in 2019 and believed downtown Toronto needed them as well.
“You can rent bikes, paddleboards and kayaks by the hour, but there is no option to rent roller skates,” he says.
The only problem? Like dumbbells, bikes, furniture, toilet paper, and Peloton bikes, roller pegs were impossible to buy as North America went into lockdown last spring.
On top of that, interest in the ever-popular hobby during Wave One, as choreographed roller staking videos went viral on the TikTok social media app, racking up hundreds of millions of views. .
“We couldn’t get our hands on any inventory,” says O’Brien. “We are working with a wholesaler in the United States that serves the North American market, and he is waiting for inventory requests. “
This summer, O’Brien got his order for colorful four-wheel skates early on. When skaters show up at the Bentway on opening weekend, they can pick up their rented roller skates, along with protective gear and helmets, in a refurbished shipping container.
While the park under the Gardiner is home to a flowing figure-eight rink, people are free to go and skate in the Fort York area – or bring their own skates or inline skates.
Rental rates are $ 18 for the first hour and each hour after is $ 10, up to a maximum of five hours. The minimum rental is one hour. Reservations will be staggered in the event of cancellation of the reopening plan, and the capacity is maximum 25 people to ensure physical distancing.
While music is usually a staple at the rinks, pandemic restrictions unfortunately exclude live DJs. O’Brien says a speakerphone might be possible at a later date, but for launch, Retro Rolla will have a Spotify playlist that skaters can access via a QR code through their own devices.
“We are by no means professional skaters,” he says. “Over the past 12 months, a lot of people have experienced more loneliness and they are not as active as they used to be. It’s about going out and being active with friends in a socially distanced way. “
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