GALION — As a local business owner in Galion for many years, Brian Tinch said he has made a good living and enjoyed serving the community.
“Most of my customers I’ve had 20 or 30 years and they’ve always been really good to me,” said Tinch, who is owner and operator of a landscape company in Galion.
When the chance came for him to give something back to his hometown, Tinch jumped at the opportunity and said he wanted to do something for the young people of Galion. As a youth, he enjoyed skating in the old rink formerly housed at the Golden Age Center on South Market Street.
“There was a skating rink in town for many, many, many years, and the kids really liked it,” Tinch said. “I heard they were closing down and I wanted to keep it going. I couldn’t get a deal struck to keep it where it was, so I bought it and moved it out here. Then just when I was getting ready to open it, that’s when the (COVID-19 pandemic) hit. So we sat here and waited until we were allowed to open.”
The Tigers Den, located in the Galion West shopping center on Portland Way North, opened last June, Tinch said. The 5,500-square foot facility features skating rink, concession area, and a game room outfitted with pool tables, foosball, air hockey, corn hole, basketball, and skee ball.
Tinch noted that since the opening last summer, The Tigers Den has experienced its ups and downs as any new business does.
“I know I’m not going to make a million dollars doing something like this,” he said. “I’ll just be happy if it pays for itself. What I wanted to do was to give the kids a clean, safe, fun place to go and hang out here in town. A place to get some physical activity, because a lot of them don’t like to move around anymore, they just like to sit and push buttons and look at screens. That’s why we don’t have any video games in here.
“(Attendance) bounces around a lot. I can have 40 people one day and then two show up the next,” he noted. “I’m not getting quite what I expected on the open skate, but private parties are doing really well. That’s what carrying the building. It’s really designed perfectly for private parties. It’s just the right size for that.”
Tinch said he hopes The Tigers Den will become a rallying point for kids in the community to go and socialize and actually talk to each other, hopefully putting aside their mobile devices for a while.
“My biggest goal is to promote social interaction and physical activity,” Tinch said. “These kids are losing social skills, in my opinion. They can communicate with anybody and say anything on their phones, but you set them down beside each other and they can’t even talk to each other. It takes places like this where you don’t have games that you can isolate from other people and play. You don’t play pool by yourself; you get a partner. You don’t play foosball by yourself. You play against somebody and you communicate while you’re playing. It helps break the ice and gets them started with conversation.”
Tinch said he has developed a good working relationship with Galion City Schools officials. He provides vouchers for the school district to give out to students as rewards.
Open skate hours
The Tigers Den offers open skating from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Admission costs $5 and skate rental costs $1.
Open skating is available from 2 to 5 p.m. on Friday. Admission costs $5 and skate rental costs $1.
Open skating on Friday and Saturday nights is available from 8 to 11 p.m. Admission costs $7 and skate rental costs $2.
Open skating on Sunday is offered from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission costs $6 and skate rental costs $1.
Skate rental includes roller blades.
Facility rental for special events
The Tigers Den can be rented for special events and group events from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The facility can be rented for two and a half hours for $260 and for three hours for $295. Call the Tigers Den for information about rental.