A beloved Dorchester roller rink is sounding the alarm and appealing to the community for help as it remains closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. The rink, which has been closed since March, is hoping to stay in business with the help of a new crowdsourced Gofundme fundraiser.
Derick Foster, a manager at Chez-Vous, an 88-year-old fixture on Rhoades Street off Blue Hill Avenue, said the appeal is a last-ditch effort to stave off what is threatening to become “an insurmountable debt. The bills haven’t stopped,” he said. “We’ve maintained as best as we could for a few months, but, you know, we have utilities to pay, contracts to honor, permits, inspections, maintenance. Roller skating rinks were already struggling, and to be closed down in the middle of our busier season in late winter/spring, that was just a huge blow on top of everything.”
With the pandemic expected to linger in the region for the foreseeable future, Foster doesn’t expect the rink to reopen again until sometime next year. So far, in the span of about two weeks, the Gofundme page has raised about $11,000 of its $50,000 goal.
“We’re very appreciative. We know it’s a horrible time for everyone, so to get any support at all, it’s a blessing, and I think it shows our importance to people as a community space,” said Foster.
Chez-Vous, a Dorchester institution for more than 80 years, is a popular venue for group events and often hosts birthday parties, school trips, and meetups for local organizations. As such, it’s one of a handful of businesses that will continue to lie dormant as long as large indoor gatherings remain nonviable.
“It’s very difficult to not be open and available to community members, schools, and the close-knit organizations in our community,” said Foster.“Skating is a chance for folks to get stress off their shoulders, and for people who choose our space for that, it’s heartbreaking. We miss everyone...hopefully this isn’t the end.”