Updated November 30, 2022 - 7:35 pm
If you were in Las Vegas during the beginning of COVID-19, you might have been around to see the rise in popularity of roller skating. While roller skating became mainstream and an escape from the uncertainty of COVID-19 across the United States, for Amanda Quintanilla it was the beginning of a new endeavor.
Although roller skating has been a part of the Las Vegas community for decades prior to a skating boom in 2020, Quintanilla, known to her family and friends as “Fresa,” had not worn skates in the valley until then. Along with many other Las Vegans, she lost her job during the pandemic, which left her to explore old hobbies.
Originally from El Salvador, Quintanilla started skating in the early ’90s.
“We were all skaters, and I was skating in inlines (a nickname for rollerblades). I was learning how to skate. Most of my friends were skateboarders,” she said.
At the time when she was getting into skating, women weren’t seen skating in the skateparks like they are now in 2022, she said.
“I could go watch them (her friends) but you could never see a girl go skate — that was never a thing, really,” she said. “So, now to see that, I love it. I embrace it because that was something that I could have never have done.”
Quintanilla was an only child. At 2 years old, her mother, who was 17, embarked on the dangerous journey alone of coming to America. Quintanilla lost her father during the Civil War of El Salvador that took place from October 1979 to January 1992.
“He was kidnapped by those guerieros,” she said. Her mother had to leave her behind as she built her new life in Los Angeles where Quintanilla would eventually join her in four years.
When the pandemic hit, Quintanilla had been living and working in Las Vegas for 12 years. She lost her job which left her stressed and with much more time on her hands. Her husband mentioned getting back into skating.
“He said, ‘You know, you love skating. Every time you talk about how much you love skating you get all excited. Why don’t you just get some pair of skates and skate around?’ and it hit me. Literally that same day, I went online and then I found some Moxi ones. I think they were the Beach Bunnys, the blue ones. I think I was one of the lucky ones to find it right before everything sold out,” she said.
She found herself wanting to skate with other skaters, so she turned to Instagram to find the local skate scene in Las Vegas. She would later be invited to Anthem Park to meet with other skaters in the community. Meetups became more frequent at the parks and eventually the community began regular “roll-outs” where skaters of all levels could skate together around downtown Las Vegas.
With the lack of access to roller skates and tools in Las Vegas, most roller skaters had to venture out to California to acquire these hot commodities. While there are skate shops around Las Vegas, an actual roller skate shop was nonexistent.
After discussing it with her husband, she decided to open what would be known as Fresa’s Skate Shop.
She would eventually find the location for Fresa’s Skate Shop in the Arts District, a growing community at the time. The skate shop itself would not open to the public until August 2022.
Latino businesses in the Arts District before her business opened were not as common as they are now. She wanted to create a safe space for all, but especially for the Latino community.
“I want to bring (Latino) culture to the Arts District,” she said. “For me, I want to make sure that we represent as much as possible, even the name.”
Roller skaters upon entering Fresa’s Skate Shop can expect to see a wide range of skates on the wall. Fresa’s has everything from inline skates to quad skates, street skating as well as park and derby skates.
Off to the left side of the shop, skaters can practice their skills on a ramp. Quintanilla plans to host events in the near future which include more roll-outs, classes, ramp talks, where the community can get together once a month and discuss whatever topics they want and more.
You can find Fresa’s Skate Shop at 1300 S. Main St. #140.
To keep up to date with Fresa’s Skate Shop make sure follow their Instagram @fresas_skate_shop_lv.