Rochester’s Laura and Adam Kramer wanted a place for their son Charlie, 12, to skateboard indoors during the colder months.
It all started innocently enough.
Rochester’s Laura and Adam Kramer wanted a place for their son Charlie, 12, to skateboard indoors during the colder months. Next thing you know, they’re rehabbing a building.
The couple opened The Garden in the former Whiskey Bone’s location on Feb. 17, and has seen steady traffic since at the versatile indoor skatepark, skate shop and coffee shop.
Located next to The Purple Goat at 3820 Broadway Ave. North, The Garden plays host to all ages, Laura Kramer said. Measuring in at 8,000 square feet, there’s plenty of space to roam.
“We live in the northeast corner of town, so we’ve driven by this building many times,” Kramer said. “We saw this place one day and thought, ‘That would be a really great place for a skate park.’ So that’s what happened, we opened one. There’s nowhere else for skaters to go unless you drive to Winona or to the Twin Cities.”
She said she judges their success at The Garden by how big of a crowd they have coming through. And on weekends, they see as many as 40 skaters a day.
The Garden is laid out with ramps and rails for skaters of all abilities, and skaters as young as 5 years old come out. So from beginner to advanced, there’s something for everyone, Kramer said.
“Our lives have changed quite a bit since it started,” she said. “We spend a lot of time here. We show up at 9 and are here until 8 or 9 o’clock at night.”
Previously, Laura Kramer was a sub and a paraprofessional for Rochester Public Schools. Together with husband Adam and kids Maddy, 15, Allie, 13, and Charlie, she runs The Garden. Adam Kramer has also maintained his commercial contractor business, Kramer Contracting.
“We have a crowd of teenagers on weekends,” she said. “Everything seems to be working.”
Kramer said she loves meeting new people, and offering a fun, safe space for kids to recreate. “Parents can drop their kids off and feel like they’re going to have a good time in a safe space.”
She said her biggest challenge as an entrepreneur is the long hours. Eventually, however, the family will hire on staff to help out at The Garden.
She says if you’re going to start a business, you should be sure it’s something you love and feel passionately about.
A day pass at The Garden costs $13, and they’re open from noon to 8 p.m. on Mondays, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. On Wednesdays, they’re closed for lessons.
Lessons with a member of The Garden Skate Team are $60 and can be booked at the-garden.us.
Those who come to “run around,” as Kramer put it, can skateboard, scooter, rollerblade and, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, BMX bikes with plastic peg covers are welcome.
She also sells merchandise, including T-shirts, sweatshirts, beanies, skateboard decks, helmets and other protective gear. She built a coffee shop into the business mix because she knew from experience that, as a parent, when you go to watch your child skate, you appreciate a beverage.
“I’m usually standing around waiting, so I thought it would be nice to combine the two,” she said, adding,“We’ve been having a good time, that’s for sure.”