This coming Monday’s free and inclusive Vaccination Ride will start and end at the new Zone One Entertainment Complex at 30 East Amherst Street, formerly Arcadia Roller Rink (6:30pm start). Zone One is a labor of love for “serial entrepreneur” Pharaoh Paige, on a mission to create a destination in Buffalo for folks of all ages, out of a huge building that had been left to rot. Read below to learn more – including the source of Zone One’s slogan, “finally, a place for us” – and meet us there on Monday for the ride and Buffalocal afterparty!
What inspired you to open Zone One?
We needed a palace in the community that wasn’t too far out to get to. We look around and don’t have any entertainment centers in the City of Buffalo; I wanted to create that destination.
How has the road from signing the lease to opening the doors been?
Very, very tough. Big struggle. (laughs)
It was a big struggle in the beginning – the property had a lot of issues that were not outright seen by the eye. Once we started to lift the carpet up and see the true nature of the building, it was a very difficult task, but it’s gotten smoother and we did what we needed to do to reopen the building and provide that destination.
What’s been the best thing about it all since you’ve opened?
Bringing together people of all backgrounds and ages, seeing the inspiration that it gave people in the community to actually see something in their neighborhood.
One day, a girl and her mom were walking by, and the girl’s reaction and the conversation it started is where the slogan came from – as the lady was walking by, she said, “Hey, are you guys rebuilding the skating rink in there?” I said yes, and the little girl said, “For us, mama?” And that’s there the slogan came from – “Finally, a place for us.”
What should Slow Rollers expect Monday night?
Expect the unexpected. The facility from the outside doesn’t tell the magic on the inside. I would call it an unearthed gem. Hopefully everyone will agree when they walk in.