Holt student opens local indoor skate park

Steve Brown is not the average Holt Night School business student– he is a father and husband with a dream that has morphed into a reality: opening an indoor skate park.

A few years ago, Brown took his son to a skate park and was touched by the endless joy and pleasure his child received from skateboarding at a rink. To this day, his son keeps the “Happy Birthday” banner from the skate park posted in his bedroom. Keeping that wonderful memory in his mind and carrying it with him through everyday life, Brown continued to complain to his friends at a local Orange County bike and skateboard shop about his boring corporate job.

As so many other inspiring entrepreneurial success stories unfold, Brown listened carefully to the advice his close friends at B’s Bike and Board bestowed upon him about taking life into his own hands and making a difference in the world.

Brown was particularly impacted by the Rollins philosophy and mantra of being engaged in the world, becoming a global citizen, and actively working to be a leader and make a positive impact on the people around you. Not feeling as though he had done any of those things up to date, Brown went home to ask his wife her thoughts on pouring their savings into a new venture: an indoor skate park in Longwood, Fla.

He was shocked his wife actually agreed to such a random and potentially risky idea; however, nonetheless he moved forward with the process of opening his park. Brown explained how vital a strong support system was while founding a startup and stated, “It took getting a great team together to make this possible. There’s truly no way I could have done any of it without each person who helped along the way.”

Brown decided to create a park that is indoor rather than aligning himself with competitors such as outdoor rinks not only because of the unpredictable and rainy Florida weather, but because he took note of the fact that there was no such pre existing enterprise. The first step in brainstorming an original business is locating the problem and looking at how the business person can develop a solution.

Swamp Wood Skate Park held its grand opening on Sunday, Oct. 29 and professional bikers and local legends in the biking and skating world attended. The opening was a huge success despite the heavy skepticism of the Longwood community. Even Brown himself said, “A lot of people did not believe it was going to actually happen.”

The entire process of meeting with City Hall and making sure the financial logistics and legal requirements were set in order took a little over one year, and in Brown’s own words, “Finding the property itself was not the most difficult part at all. The part I struggled with the most was navigating exactly what was needed by the community.”

Brown is less than five credits away from graduating with his Bachelor’s Degree as a computer science major and communication studies minor, marking himself living proof of what it is like to turn what you learn at Rollins into something that will benefit thousands of people for years to come.

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