By: CAROL BARBER
Flashing strobes, red and yellow lights, disco balls and sweaty kids surround Meghan Malony as she works. Malony is a full time manager, disc jockey, game organizer and pizza maker at Rollerworld in Kalamazoo.
Malony’s mother, Amy Maloney, has been running this family owned business, located at 7491 Stadium Dr., for 40 years, and Meghan said she grew up at the rink. She said her mom hopes she takeover the business someday, but Malony is not too sure about that.
She recently returned from a seven month hike on the Appalachian Trail, a stark contrast to the flashy lights, blaring music and roar of a packed skating rink on a Saturday night. She said she got used to the quiet on the trail.
“Coming in here makes me a phobic,” she said and laughed. “But people who need us find us. It’s like a therapy to them.”
Malony said generations of families skate at Rollerworld, and many have become part of the extended Rollerworld family.
“It’s a weird little micro-chasm,” she said. “I’ve seen kids who have been coming here for years grow up and bring their own kids.”
Brad Beazley is a 43-year-old auto mechanic who said he has been skating there since he was five years old. He said he met Brandi Coyer, 33, on the rink as they skated together and made small talk.
That small talk led to the latest addition of the Rollerworld family. Two weeks ago, “roller-baby” Hayzen Beazley was born to the couple. They were out to show him around the rink, introduce him to his Rollerworld family and of course, to skate. Coyer said Beazley skates three to four times a week.
“It’s nostalgic,” Beazley said. “And, it’s an adrenaline rush- skating makes you feel like you are flying.”