Friday, April 20, 2018
Business

Remember Suncoast Skating in Spring Hill? Here comes Locomo, with a familial ring to it

SPRING HILL

If enthusiasm enters into the equation, the Locomo roller-skating rink no doubt will be a success.

The venue, which opens Saturday at 10451 County Line Road, pulses with varicolored lights over 11,000 square feet of luminously coated solid wood flooring, romantic to staccato music, and the enthusiasm and creative programming of entrepreneurs Katie Sessa and Chris Milano.

"Chris and I thought the community needed an uplift, so people will have something to remember that's happy," Sessa said.

Milano, 29, and Sessa, 24, both graduates of Springstead High School, met wheeling about a rink 11 years ago, and have kept up the skating as well as their relationship. They plan to marry in March.

Sessa served as birthday party host when her father and uncle, well-known businessmen Nick and Sal Sessa, respectively, operated the Suncoast Skating and Entertainment Center at the same site in the late 1990s.

She brings a naturally bubbly personality and organizing skills to a similar position at the Locomo.

Milano doesn't see their endeavor competing with other nearby skating rinks in Brooksville and Port Richey.

"We're not trying to take their customers," he said. "We're just wanting to give people a fun, safe time."

Their choice of names, the Locomo, is spun from the 1962 pop hit The Loco-Motion.

The Locomo's schedule, to be tested with a soft opening, is packed:

• Mondays, Christian Night, 6 to 8:30 p.m., open skate featuring a DJ playing Top 40 Christian music.

• Tuesdays and Thursdays, School Skate Night, 6 to 8:30 p.m., exclusive to students from a particular school and their guests, each evening, with a portion of fees earmarked for return to that school.

• Wednesdays, Adult Night, 7 to 10 p.m., for ages 18 and older, "so adults can skate without kids falling in front of them," said Sessa, and to give parents an evening out.

• Fridays, Family Night, 6:30 to 8:45 p.m.; Teen Night, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., for ages 13 to 17, "having fun in an exciting way, and safely," Sessa said. Security guards will join the staff.

• Saturdays, Family Night, 7 to 10 p.m., featuring Top 40 music.

• Saturdays and Sundays, birthday parties, 1 to 5 p.m.

Regular, speed and in-line skates — bring you own or rent them — will be welcome on the floor.

A semiprivate, glow-in-the-dark party room has been set aside for children's celebrations.

A basic party for eight youngsters will include regular rental skates, three pitchers of soda, a hot dog or two cuts of pizza each, plus a host, tableware, setup and cleanup for $80, excluding tax, gratuity and cake.

A glow party for 12 children will include all of the above, plus an additional pitcher of soda, a glow necklace, a glow bracelet and a frozen drink in a take-home cup for each child for $216.

"We want to make this affordable for everybody," Sessa said, adding that the skating center has been newly renovated and decorated. John Leggio's Center for the Performing Arts will remain as part of the complex.

As for eats, there are traditional treats plus wraps and salads. Healthy food choices complement a healthy environment and the physical fitness gained through skating, Sessa said.

In undertaking the new venture — and adventure — the fourth-grade teacher at Chocachatti Elementary School said: "Teaching is my No. 1 passion, and skating is my No. 2."

"I grew up here," she said, referring to her dad's former rink.

Milano said he's not nearly as good at skating as his fiancee is.

"She can skate circles around me," he said, but added: "I love it. It's endurance, it's working out and it's fun."

Milano will own the business, limiting his hours as a route owner and vendor with Martin's Famous Potato Bread Co. of Chambersburg, Pa.

Sessa sees herself as his "helper."

Nick Sessa, the former rink owner who is best known as owner of the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson and the Palace Grand in Spring Hill, will be Milano's mentor.

Katie Sessa looks forward to getting started.

"We hope to create experiences like the memories that we are able to share with each other," she said.

Beth Gray can be contacted at [email protected]

 
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