Another vintage Waynedale building will soon see new life breathed into its rusting exterior.
The old Roller Dome skating rink is preparing for reincarnation as an antique mall, according to one local entrepreneur.
And while the rink, located at 4540 Bluffton Road, was once a popular destination for roller skaters of all ages, its doors have been closed for years now.
Business owner, Jonele Bilby, who runs the current shop, Vintage Treasures, located at 625 W. Coliseum, and the newly named “The Rink,” said a town the size of Fort Wayne was due for another business like the one she’s planning.
“Fort Wayne has had several antique malls over the last 10 years. There was Stollers Antique Mall, Antiques on Broadway, and Nature’s Corner, just to name a few. In a city this size, we should have several opportunities for vendors to sell their goods and have places for individuals to shop,” shared Bilby.
She continued, “We opened Vintage Treasures eight years ago and have over 180 names on a waiting list to get into the market. There is only one other vendor mall in Fort Wayne. So, when Alex Haggard, owner of the former Roller Dome South, approached my husband, Doug, and I with the idea of opening an antique mall in the building, it just made sense.”
Bilby noted that the renovated space will cover roughly 22,000 square feet and include about 140 vendor booth spaces. “Forty-five of those spaces will be taken by current vintage treasures vendors, which leaves around 95 spaces to be rented to new people in the area. We estimate around 125 total vendors when all is said and done,” said Bilby proudly.
She added that renovations to the building will hopefully keep many of its historic features intact, including the old, wooden skating floor.
“Alex and his contractor, James Woodruff of Woodruff LLC, have done a great job of maintaining everything possible that was left behind in The Rink. The original floor is intact, and will be cleaned and sealed for protection. We have a set of lockers and six fiberglass benches we also are restoring to use,” Bilby excitedly stated. “There will be some other things here and there, but we don’t want to give away all the surprises,” she eluded.
One vendor planning to set up shop in the new market is Julie Butts, who hopes this market will offer some opportunity for improving her sales.
The 53-year-old has operated several bead and second-hand merchandise storefronts around the city in the last few years, but believes this could be a good opportunity for her business.
“We’re looking forward to trying it out,” said Butts, a member services agent for the local YMCA.
Bilby, who noted that they have no estimate of the cost of the building’s renovation, did say she expects the new market to be open to the public in late October or early November.
She said bringing a new business to Waynedale feels like coming home and doing some good for her community.
“We are very excited to be in Waynedale. My husband graduated from Wayne High School and grew up in Waynedale. It definitely feels like home. We believe there is a need in this area for more shopping opportunities. For example, we have signed up several local vintage clothing vendors to sell their goods and offer places to shop,” says Bilby.