This is the fourth year that Roller Girl Gang are running a pop-up roller skating shop in Leeds Corn Exchange.
Primary school teachers Mel Blackwood and Len Laird, who are qualified British Roller Sports Federation instructors, began the business so they could skate around their busy jobs.
After running skating classes in Leeds, they formed the first women-only roller skating event in 2015. As the classes grew more popular and people were looking for equipment, Mel and Len decided it was a good time to find a central Leeds venue, launch a pop-up and source skating equipment from suppliers across the world. They arranged with the Corn Exchange to put on a one-off event in the Corn Exchange last year, but as a result of its success, it’s now held monthly.
The business celebrated its birthday with a Valentines Roller Disco in the Corn Exchange. Mel said:
“We began looking for a place to hold our first pop-up shop and it was important to us to find one which champions independent businesses and brands. A one-off pop-up shop was a new concept for Leeds Corn Exchange, but they took a chance on us. One year later we’ve become a regular fixture, with roller skating enthusiasts visiting from across the north of England and further afield.
What we really love at Leeds Corn Exchange is the sense of community amongst the independent businesses. The tenants comment on how we bring a high energy and the added footfall benefits us all.”
Adam Warner, The Corn Exchange’s Manager, said:
“Roller Girl Gang was the first pop-up shop we accepted which has proven to be a successful model ever since. The Rushbond team and I have seen how important flexibility is to independent businesses and our ‘try before you buy’ model has worked well for a few firms now.”
Roller Girl Gang will return to Leeds Corn Exchange on 30th November and 14th December this year.
Feature photograph is Roller Girl Gang Valentines Disco. Provided by MacComms.
Adam combines his interest in Leeds with a flair for writing discovered back in school days. He says he’ll tackle any topic as long as it’s Leeds.