When the Humble Family Skate Center opened in 1977, employees had to switch vinyl records between a pair of turntables to change the tunes as patrons skated.

Forty-four years later, while technology has changed, the rink still offers the same family fun.

According to owner Gloria Tate, the business has been through a lot over the decades from the disco era and multiple recessions to a COVID-19 shutdown last year.

“It’s been a fun business, but it’s been a hard business—a lot of sacrifice,” she said.

For Gloria, skating rinks were a staple of her childhood in Louisiana.

“When I was a young girl, my grandfather had a school bus, and my mom would get that school bus and bring a whole bunch of kids to this tiny little [skating] rink,” she said. “My high school graduation was there. It was a big thing in the late ‘50s.”

Gloria eventually moved to Texas and opened the Humble Family Skate Center with her ex-husband in 1977 before taking over the business herself seven years later. When the rink opened, she said it was one of a handful of entertainment venues available near Humble.

“There was nothing,” Gloria said. “There was no mall. You had the movies and the bowling alley.”

Over the years, the establishment has gone through many renovations, Gloria said, including the installation of quieter floors to skate on, arcade cabinets and an upgraded stereo system.

“Most of my grandkids and most of my friends' children have all had jobs here,” she said. “We’ve just had a lot of fun here. It wasn’t about the money.”

General Manager Rachel Tate, Gloria’s daughter, said one of the more rewarding aspects of running the rink has been watching families grow throughout the years.

“We definitely have four generations [of families] skating through these doors,” Rachel said.

The skating rink is accessible to both casual and experienced skaters, Rachel said. Birthday parties, private parties and open sessions are all available, but the skating rink also offers lessons and has a competitive speed skating team.

More than anything, Gloria said she is glad to have been able to bring a little joy into people’s lives.

“The most satisfying thing is to know that I’ve made a lot of kids happy,” she said.

Humble Family Skate Center

320 N. Houston Ave., Humble