The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 26, 2014

Couple takes final spin as rink owners

MANDATA — MANDATA — Donald and Roberta Molaro stood alone in the middle of a quiet, empty rink Friday morning, their hands tightly wrapped around each other as they reflected on 26 years of owning the Skatery.

Roberta wiped her eyes with a handkerchief; Donald had an air of nostalgia about him.

“When we first opened the rink, it was because we were avid skaters ourselves and we wanted to share it with people,” Roberta said. “All of sudden, it become a mission. We were here to be here for the people that came.”

Parents felt safe letting their children stay at the rink, and the Molaros treated them as if they were their own.

“We loved every one of them,” she said.

“Oh yeah,” Donald agreed. “We’re going to miss them.”

On Monday, the Dornsife couple, both age 77, will transfer ownership of the business along Route 225 near the Line Mountain Middle/High School to its new owners, brothers Troy and Todd Laudenslager.

“We really don’t want to do this, but at our age — even though our health is really good — you never know what’s going to happen,” Roberta said.

Even though they have been working to take it all down, not all the cards, thank-you notes and banners hanging on the walls are gone yet. Many are still taped up.

“Best-kept secret”

Originally known as Double R Skate Ranch, the rink was built by Reynold Feger and Richard Baumert in 1981. The Molaros bought the rink in 1988 — 30 years after Donald and Roberta met and fell in love at a Long Island rink.

It’s the “best-kept secret in the Valley,” the Molaros said.

The business is home to a full-service snack bar and 14 tables, arcade games, a birthday party room, a DJ area and a 9,990-square-foot rink.

The Molaros originally planned to turn the keys over to their son, Donald Jr., but his death 19 years ago ended that dream.

They turned down many offers over the years because the interested parties were not willing to keep the building as a skating rink, like the Laudenslagers plan to do.

In the past 26 years, the Molaros said the Skatery has hosted hundreds of school, church, Scout, business and birthday parties, and they’ve taught thousands of young people and adults to skate.

Relationships were even forged in the building.

“We’ve seen so many bring their children back to introduce them to the sport of their own youth,” Roberta said.

Their School of Roller Skating provided “FUNdamentals,” they said.

Advanced lessons have produced dozens of state champions and a few regional titles have also been won by Skatery students, while several have qualified for national competitions.

While none have ever won a national title, the Molaros are still proud.

“As long as they don’t place last, I’m thrilled,” Roberta said. “And none of them have ever placed last.”

The Skatery has also offered the only Special Olympics Roller Skating program in more than a 50-mile radius. Intellectually disabled athletes have been training at the Skatery since 1990 to compete in several Special Olympics competitions each year.

One was even named Special Olympics Roller Skater of the year in 1999, they said.

In 2006, the Molaros received the Heart of the Industry award from the Roller Skating Association, International after touring the USA and teaching hundreds of roller rink operators their “Roller Skating FUNdamentals” program, which is now used in rinks across the continent.

Between 2001 and 2013, Roberta was an officer of the PA/NJ/DE section of the Roller Skating Association, which she held every office but treasurer.

Text Only
  • rundown25zope.jpg Blighted block going bye-bye in Atlas

    Nearly an entire township block in Atlas will be torn down in Mount Carmel Township, utilizing funds from Northumberland County and its Housing Authority in an effort to fight blight. Half of this block is proposed to be developed as low-income senior living units.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1WEATHER.jpg Deadly storm his Virginia campground

    A fierce storm packing powerful winds and rain toppled trees and flipped campers Thursday at a Virginia campground this morning, killing at least two people and sending at least 20 more to hospitals, officials said.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Official: Air Algerie flight ’probably crashed’

    An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria’s capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali and “probably crashed,” according to the plane’s owner and government officials in France and Burkina Faso.

    July 24, 2014

  • 1gaza25.jpg Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

    Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1execution.jpg How Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, executions went awry

    Since the start of the year, executions in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona have gone awry, with inmates gasping for breath as lethal drugs coursed through their bodies.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today's Editorial: One more job appears at risk

    July 24, 2014

  • Rabbi Conflict in Israel grounds Sunbury rabbi

    TEL AVIV, Israel — While the Israelis and Hamas traded rocket and missile strikes for a 16th day, Rabbi Nina Mandel is struggling to find her way back to Sunbury after the FAA on Wednesday announced that it would extend its ban on travel at Ben-Gurion International Airport for another 24 hours.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fatal24 Danville woman dies as logging truck crushes car in Valley Township

    DANVILLE — An 84-year-old Danville woman was killed when her car and a logging truck collided Wednesday afternoon at Routes 642 and 54 in Valley Township.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Docs: Fractures helped save rock victim's life

    DANVILLE — Sharon Budd’s condition is progressing nearly a week after a 13 1/2-hour procedure in which a team of surgeons rebuilt her facial bones and removed a damaged part of her brain, said two Geisinger Health System physicians who are part of that team

    July 24, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.