Los Angeles, CA

Let’s roll! L.A. County gets a new roller-skating rink

Deanna Barnert

PCH pop-up feeds a recreational need created by COVID-19

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Get your skates ready - Pigeon’s Roller Rink opens in Long Beach on Sept. 18, 2021/ Pigeon's Skate Shop

(Los Angeles) Just as the COVID-19 pandemic landed on Los Angeles, one viral SoCal TikTok created an international roller-skating craze and a new generation of skaters took to the streets. Starting September 18, 2021, the L.A. skate community has a new place to come together – a pop-up roller skating venue in Long Beach!

Back when L.A. shut down in 2020, small business owners faced difficult decisions. “On March 18, I closed my shop, cried with my staff, and put everyone on unemployment,” recounts Shayna “Pigeon” Meikle – owner and manager of Pigeon’s Roller Skate Shop, the Beach Cities Roller Derby League, and now, Pigeon's Roller Rink.

Like many of us, Pigeon tried to embrace the positive side as she and her daughter suddenly had time to do things like gardening together. Then she checked her online store. “I look at our sales and I dropped my phone,” Pigeon says. “We went from having just a couple hundred online sales a day to having thousands of dollars in sales. And it just went up and up and up, every day.”

It turns out, ten days after Pigeon’s Roller Skate Shop closed its doors, one of its sponsored skaters went viral. “It was a Tiktok to 'Jenny from the Block' by Jennifer Lopez, and Ana Cota was just skating to the music,” Pigeon explains. “And it got millions and millions of views from all over the world. And everyone was like, ‘This viral thing is the perfect thing to do during this pandemic,’ and they were right!”

Instead of closing, Pigeon reclaimed her staff and trained them in customer service and online sales. The skating resurgence, as has been called by some, was so big it even created a backlog and shortage of skates and skate gear with suppliers. Naturally, that massive surge has since settled, but business is still humming along. “Now it's more about the accessories,” Pigeon says. “And we're seeing a steady, consistent flow of new skaters, rather than the tidal wave of new skaters.”

A new place to roll

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Pigeon's Roller Rink is located on PCH, where L.A. County and Orange County meet./ Pigeon's Skate Rink

While the skating community exploded during lockdown, two of L.A. County’s landmark roller rinks shut down under the pandemic. With only one rink remaining, SoCal skaters are ready to roll and Pigeon has once again seen fit to answer the call – with a popup venue that will be open from September 18 through the end of 2021!

“All these people who bought skates now have a safe place to actually practice and get trained,” cheers Pigeon. “We will have classes on learning how to skate, learning how to play roller derby... Want to be a figure skater? Come on down! And we’ll have open sessions for people who just want to skate, as well as private parties and fundraisers. It's a venue for the community.”

While Pigeon can't wait to get back in the rink with her Beach Cities Roller Derby league for some no-contact team-building, she’s also excited for an entire community of skaters who learned how to roll during COVID-19 and will now get to glide on a proper floor.

“Oh my gosh, it'll feel so smooth,” promises Pigeon. “Outdoor skating is rough – which is the fun of it, but it also makes it extra challenging. So it’s like you’ve been training with weights on and now, you're taking them off. People are going to realize, 'Oh my Gosh, I'm actually really fast. Oh my gosh, I'm actually really good.' It’s going to be so cool!”

The 8,000 square-foot open-air pop-up opens September 18 at the 2nd & PCH shopping mall – which is located on the edge of L.A. County and Orange County at 6400 Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90803.

Whether you have your eye on rolling with friends, getting the little ones into the kids' club, or getting into roller derby, you can find more information by following @pigeonsrollerrink on Instagram or visiting the Pigeon's Skate Shop website.

For locals all the way on the other side of L.A. County, Glendale’s Moonlight Rollaway is the one old-school rink remaining, with presale tickets and info available via the website.

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Deanna Barnert is a Los Angeles native and entertainment journalist with thousands of news stories, features and profiles published internationally. A member of the Television Critics Association, she’s written for "Emmy" magazine, MSN.com and SheKnows.com, served as News Editor for "Soaps In Depth," and interviewed some of your favorite stars and creators. A true Angeleno, Deanna knows L.A. is the best place to live... and the worst! She made her hometown more accessible to newcomers via her contribution to "The Complete Resident’s Guide to Los Angeles" and its pocket mini, "The Essential Tourist Guide" -- and now she's doing it for NewsBreak! Deanna is an avid traveler who lived in Madrid, Spain, for two years and did some time in NYC, but she always comes home. Check out what Deanna’s doing now by following @TVDeeva on social media.

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