Hundreds line up for roller skates in Long Beach

Pigeon's Roller Skate Shop in Long Beach opened its doors for only two days before selling out of roller skates.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of people lined up at 6 a.m. in Long Beach last week - some even sleeping overnight - to get their hands on a hot commodity during this pandemic: roller skates.

"The demand for roller skates during the pandemic has surged," said Shayna "Pigeon" Meikle, owner of Pigeon's Roller Skates Shop on Retro Row in Long Beach.

Just months before the pandemic hit, Meikle moved her shop, formerly known as Moxi Roller Skate Shop, to a larger storefront on Fourth Street.

"We had doubled our staff to accommodate the larger crowds and then once coronavirus hit, we had to close our doors," Meikle said. "A week later, basically, everyone decided they wanted to roller skate."

After temporarily furloughing her staff, Meikle hired back her employees and then some in order to accommodate the demand from consumers.

"Our phones were ringing off the hook so I had to hire someone to come in here and hang out and answer the phone for hours and hours on end," Meikle said.

Originally, Meikle planned to reopen her store on July 20. Once she saw COVID-19 cases on the rise, she knew that was not possible.

Instead, Pigeon's Roller Skate Shop opened its doors for a flash sale on Thursday, July 16.

"We sold out of almost everything on day one and then, whatever was left, we sold out in day two," Meikle said. "Then we had to close our doors."

Meikle hopes the increased popularity of roller skating on social media will shed a light on the history of skate culture.

"Social media has really made roller skating popular right now during this pandemic, however roller skating has always been popular in the roller rinks and especially for the Black community," Meikle said. "A lot of these skaters who used to be in the rink are now going outside and becoming more visible on social media and really showing up as being the founders of the skating community today."

Moving forward, Meikle said she doesn't plan to open up her shop, located at 2148 E. 4th St in Long Beach, until the end of 2020.

"I have kind of self-classified us as a stage four store just like a salon or gym because we're so up close and personal trying on skates, trying on gear and helmets," Meikle said. "We're really going to have to just continue to focus on online sales as much as possible."

For more information, visit the Pigeon's Roller Skate Shop website.

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