ROLLER SKATING HISTORY
These days, you simply go to the skating center, put wheels on your feet and you’re ready for fun, food, music, games and skating. Two centuries ago, it wasn’t quite so easy. A Belgian inventor named Joseph Merlin introduced the first recorded roller skate in 1760. And, what an introduction he made! He wore his new skates to a party in London, where he crashed into an expensive mirror. He wasn’t very interested in skating after this experience. However, other inventors produced some roller skate models, most with in-line wheels to imitate an ice skating blade.
The first patent ever taken out on a roller skate was for an in-line skate in 1819. The patent went to Monsieur Petitbled, who claimed that people using his skates could do the same tricks as ice skaters. However, skating turns and curves with Petitbled’s skate proved to be a major difficulty, if not impossible. In 1863, James Plimpton, a businessman from Massachusetts, invented a roller skate that could turn. It was called a “rocking” skate — the first one that really let people skate curves and turn. Plimpton opened a skating club in New York where gentlemen enjoyed showing off for the ladies by doing fancy figures, steps and turns. Within 20 years, roller skating had become a popular pastime for men and women. Wealthy men in Newport, R.I., played “roller polo,” a hockey game.
Others held contests in dance and figure skating. Outdoors, men and women were racing in speed contests. The more the public saw of skating, the more they wanted to try it themselves. The roller skating industry started to prosper. Just before World War II, a group of skating rink owners formed an association to promote roller skating and establish good business practices for skating rinks. The Roller Skating Association (RSA) International, which was originally named the Roller Skating Rink Operators Association (RSROA), has played an active leadership role in the roller skating industry since 1937. Under the guidance of the association, roller skating enjoyed steady growth through the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
It became known as a family activity that provides fitness, socialization and fun — an image that prevails today. Miami had three facilities during this time that included an Armory in Hialeah that featured a terrazzo floor, Sunland Roller Rink on Bird Road that featured a wooden floor and wooden wheels… and an outdoor facility in Crandon Park. In the 1970s, there was a big improvement in roller skating. Skating floors became easier to care for. Plastic wheels that provided smoother, easier skating became the standard. The music and lighting at skating centers was also modernized. When skaters discovered how easy it was to skate with the new wheels, another big skating boom exploded.
THE SUPER WHEELS EVOLUTION
By 1977, people everywhere were skating to music. In September of 1977, Three gentlemen, Stuart Cuaff, Norman Sholk & Bob Shapiro opened a new wave of skating… starting with the first Super Skating Center located in Kendall. Disco Lighting and booming sound started a second coming of roller skating. Kendall, Kendall Lakes, Midway, Westland… to name a few! In April of 1987, Stuart along with marketing wiz, Wayne Lippman, opened what soon was to become legendary… and Internationally reknown, the Hot Wheels Skating Center in south west Miami.
This facility introduced fog to the incredible array of lighting and total entertainment DJ’s with live concerts by today’s top artists. While competitors try to steal the look or style, no one has come close to the extensive operations and entertainment programs. Because of other business interests, they could not handle the sudden popularity and with it, the attention needed to run this new style of facility, they sold the facility one year later to skating mongul, Byron Sharp who launched a new generation in community service relations working with over 120 “Partnership” Schools.
In February, 1998, Kendall resident James Ritter, a six time national roller skating champion, purchased Hot Wheels and started an extensive renovation program by expanding the snack bar, offering three types of rental skates, opening a “candy store” and introducing a complete Redemption Center. On October 15th, 1999, Hurricane Irene took an unexpected turn and was a direct hit on west Miami Dade and the Kendall area. Extensive amounts of water poured thru the roof causing extensive damage to this legendary facility.
A year later, local competitor, Thunder Wheels opened at the same locations that Hot Wheels occupied for 12 years. While the location was popular, their style was different, in part causing their closing 11 months later. In June of 2001, local business manager Milad Wanna launched “Super Wheels”. In early 2009, the Super Wheels name was bought and now has a new set of owners. Plans include a new expanded game room, new lighting & graphics, an expanded snack bar menu and heavy community inter-action are just some of the “tools” that will compliment this family sport.
In March of 2020, amid the start of the world wide pandemic, Super Wheels closed its doors. In early June, Super Wheels created one of the most progressive cleaving and safety programs in the United States, was allowed to re-open but voluntarily closed among rising numbers. July 3rd, we thought we saw the end as all operations were ceased and entire staff was let go. In early September, former employees and the community rallied for the re-opening… and as restrictions started to lift, Super Wheels was re-born maintaining its own set of restrictions and guidelines to provide proper social distancing and a place where families can feel comfortable as they start to venture back into the world.
Super Wheels has always created the ultimate skating experience. Roller skating is now as diverse as ever. From special customized fund raising programs & virtual S.T.E.M. field trips to elaborate private & exclusive parties… from “quad” skates to ultra modern in-lines… skating centers have evolved into true community entertainment centers where families can truly inter-act. For more information, call or visit Super Wheels and see what the next generation of skating is all about.
MEET OUR TEAM
Thomas G. Mitchell – Managing Member & CEO
Tom’s commitment to skating dates back over 44 years, where he was involved with over 42 skating facilities. Tom designs all of the Super Wheels flyers, special events, games and food! He also owns a concert production company called Reflections Productions, and spends a lot of his free time working with the Special Olympics & the American Cancer Society.
Shaun Mitchell- General Manager
Conceived and born in this building, he has grown up and knows the customers, knows the employees (past & present) and knows how to set the environment for everyone to have a good time. He also is the sound & video designer for Actors Playhouse in the Gables and one of the founders of MiamiGo TV. He brings the focus back on making exciting new memories for the next generation.
Tim Waugh – Senior Manager
Another original “old school crew” member, Tim transplanted from Ohio. He loves to cook,
and go “mudding” either on ATV or in one of
his trucks. Always on the go and did we mention that he has a “BEAR”?
Mary Charron – Manager
Hard work, dedication to detail (and a brother who hired her way back when) Mary has been a significant back bone behind the scenes in the development & execution of our parties and group experiences. She brings insight and experience to our management team.
William “Billy” Caloca – Manager
Hard to imagine Billy without skates on! A Miami Native who literally grew up in this building and has mastered every aspect of skating from cooking, skating, cleaning, skating, DJ, skating, floor guard, skating, skate repairs… oh, and yes, skating!
Mario Alvarez – Manager
Another original “old school crew” member, Mario enjoys working with people. He is a senior Audio Visual Engineer who loves being in the entertainment field. The pride of his life is his wife and children (as well as their dog RPI). “Work never stops and you should work at something that you love”
Jamie Mitchell – Corporate Office Manager
She comes from the Medical and Food Service Industry while “moonlighting” at the Wheels. She puts color in our day, keeping everyone on their toes and smiling!
Alexis “Lexy” Rochelle Chiapetta – IT Manager
Closest thing to “ANIME” that you will ever meet! She is a proud mom of Atlas and has worked hard and is now a full time nurse… yet still our “guru” of the online “Super Fast Pass” System.
DJ 2RO – Marketing Manager
DJ 2RO aka Art has a great passion of healthy activities for youths to do. 2RO believes skating is a great cardio active exercise that can be endured for any age group. High. “The music for anyone who chooses to do exercise is the driving force to push past what you were expecting. Today’s youth needs to drop the phone and do anything that doesn’t control them, but gives them control. Anyone who adds wheels to their feet, will sooner or later be able to understand the machine they are on top of”. Reach out to DJ2RO to learn more!
Edley Ducios – Pro Shop Manager
Have you ever not seen a smile on Edley? When he is not refereeing or skating jump track, he works at Dolphin Stadium and on his off days, he helps direct people into what is the proper skate to purchase. If he is not in the Pro Shop, you will see him gliding across the skating floor.
Ralph Lemus – Community Outreach
Another who grew up “skating”, Ralph comes from a Medical & Broadcasting background and can truly generate laughter at a moments notice. Young but well seasoned, Ralph is an active part of our community out reach and Special Events.
HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?
For additional help or information, Email us at email@example.com. We look forward to your next visit and will do our very best to give your family a wheely fun experience.
SUPER WHEELS SKATING CENTER
12265 SW 112th St
Miami, FL 33186