Eastridge #WomenWhoLead Series

Liz Ruiz

Owner of Aloha Roller Rink

Can you tell us a bit about your journey with Aloha Roller Rink and with Eastridge?

When Eastridge management sent me an email requesting a meeting, they did not specify what the meeting was about. Well, my imagination went wild and I hoped they had a spot they wanted to open a skate rink in. I walked the whole mall and looked for spaces with skate potential and determined the old Sports Chalet building was the only contender. When I walked into the meeting, I found their intention was to just bring my mobile skate rental truck in for a one day pop up rink in the parking lot. But in that meeting we imagined how cool it would be to have a winter themed pop up rink for the 2 month holiday season. I assured them that I could make this vision a reality and that I knew just the spot in the mall for it. By the end of the meeting we had decided to scrap the one day event and pursue the 2 month pop up instead. Our temporary pop up went better than we ever expected and Eastridge offered us the opportunity to stay open in the Eastridge community for the rest of the year. I have been so thankful and blessed by the opportunity Eastridge has given Aloha and the community has really embraced the skate rink at Eastridge. 

What is your favorite thing about managing Aloha Roller Rink?

Aloha is in the business of fun so the work is pretty fun too! There is an energy at the rink that is contagious. Everybody is dancing and skating and smiling and having a blast. It’s one big party! And my favorite part is watching families come in and parents get to share with their kids something that they loved doing growing up. I love watching the kids fall in love with skating and beg their parents to come back week after week.

What inspired you to begin Aloha Roller Rink?

My quest when I started Aloha was to simply preserve roller skating for our community. Multiple roller rinks were shutting their doors and I recognized that if I didn’t do something, the next generation of children would miss out on the skating fun that was a staple in my own upbringing. As the rink I grew up skating in closed down, I took the steps to purchase their fleet of skates and begin this next chapter of skating in San Jose.

What are some of the hardest challenges you face in your business as a woman of color?

As a woman, I often get underestimated by men who do not know me. I hate when I’m asked if I need to check with my partner as if I’m not the one in this meeting capable of making the decision for my company. They are just so unfamiliar with a woman being in charge and seem to be looking for a man to double check with. Sometimes they will try to direct the conversation at my male assistant or any other male present other than me. I am much more likely to do business with a company whose rep talks to me and is acknowledging of my authority in my business. 

Favorite ways to stay fit and healthy?

My favorite way to stay fit is roller skating!! It burns 700 calories per hour!! It’s a blast!
CONNECT with Liz Ruiz and Aloha Roller Rink on Instagram @Lizapalooza + @AlohaRollerRink

 


The Eastridge Women Who Lead is an 8-part series featuring the extraordinary women who are leaders in the East Side San Jose Community and pillars of Eastridge Community Programming. For more empowering content, including in-person workshops and speakers, join us for CosmeCon 2019 on April 6th. More information here. Love this story? Please consider sharing on social media or attending an event to support!