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Jimmie’s Rollerdrome in Elsmere is turning 75 years old; there’s plenty of skating with party in the works

By Andy Furman
NKyTribune reporter

It’s alive and well. And the birthday bash is set for New Year’s Eve.

That’s the date Jimmie’s Rollerdrome in Elsmere turns, gulp – 75.

“Actually,” Joe Mullins, who runs Jimmies and is the son of the late founder Jimmie, told the Northern Kentucky Tribune, “our New Year’s Eve party is an annual thing.”

Jimmie’s opened for business on December 31, 1948. Every year, they celebrate with a New Year’s Eve Late Skate.

Jimmie’s Rollerdrome — to celebrate 75 years (Photo provided)

“We’ll be open from 7:30 p.m-12:30 a.m. on New Year’s Eve,” Mullins said. “It’ll be a ten-dollar admission charge, two-dollars for skate rental and four dollars to rent speed skates.”

Music will be provided, and the snack bar will be open, Mullins said. “And”, he added, “don’t forget the balloon drop at midnight for the kids.”

Mullins would know about the party – and so much more. He’s been running the Northern Kentucky institution since his dad passed in 1988.

“We’ve survived a lot,” the Lloyd High School grad said. “I’ve seen the crowds shrink, and then pick up. In fact,” the 60-year-old Mullins adds, “There’s been a lot of skating on TV and in commercials. I’m sure that’s helped.”

What’s really helped Jimmie’s Rollerdrome is the way Joe Mullins runs the place.

“I just think we’ve survived all these years, while others have gone by the wayside because we’re just more family-oriented,” he said. “We care about our customers. We know most of them by name.”

In fact, Mullins, who worked for AltaFiber 25 years – until May – did double duty at Jimmies.

“If a kid ever got in trouble, we’d tell him or her, ‘We know your grandparents, and we’ll call them,’” he said. “That’s how close we are to our people.”

Jimmie’s Rollerdrome was built by a merchant marine who had a dream of owning a roller rink. After serving his country, the building process began. Once completed, Jimmies opened for business. Jimmie’s wife, Marie — she passed in 2020 – worked and operated the business with son Joe since 1988 when Jimmie passed.

Skating at Jimmie’s — a tradition (Photo provided)

Today, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are employees at Jimmie’s helping to pass on the skating tradition that was handed down to them.

“I have three daughters,” Joe Mullins said, “And they’re all involved. One of them – Maddie – handles the music, and my sister keeps the books.”

And Mullins is a self-described answering service.

“I take calls all night, all the time,” he says. “We don’t have an answering service.”

But what they do have is Joe Mullins and family – and a pride thing.

“I love this business as much as my dad did,” Mullins said.

Papa Jimmie certainly loved the business – along with his farming, according to Mullins.

“We always close in the summer; did so since the ‘70s,” Mullins said. “That’s because dad was a farmer. We were just the opposite of all those swimming pool clubs. We’d close after Memorial Day and open the weekend after Labor Day.”

Jimmie’s Rollerdrome isn’t the secret you might think.

Mullins said several Bengals have been seen skating there.

“Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell were skating here one night, and so was Max Montoya’s son.”

Mullins says the people of Northern Kentucky tell him they’re glad Jimmie’s Rollerdrome is still here.

They’ll raise a glass for No. 75 on New Year’s Eve.

Jimmie’s Rollerdrome, 115 Main Street, Elsmere, is open Wed., Fri., Sat. and Sun. Fri-Sat
Hours- 7:30-10:30 p.m.; Sun. afternoon 2-4:30; Wed.is Family Night $5 admission with
rental included.

All other days open for private events, schools and/or business.

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