1990 grad teaches in-line skills, safety Before most of her peers had even heard of the new sport, Wharton alumna Jen Goldstein was already strapping on her first pair of Rollerblades, cruising down Locust Walk past curious onlookers.
These days, nearly six years later, in-line skating has become one of the most popular sports around — and quite a familiar sight on campus. So what has made this sport — which combines the techniques of ice skating, skiing and rollerskating — so popular?
Just ask Goldstein.
A 1990 Penn graduate, she wrote her senior thesis for Marketing 41 on the development of in-line skating with the help of Marketing Professor Burton Brodo, who is also associate director of the Wharton Undergraduate Division.
Since then, she has opened Philadelphia’s first in-line skate shop — Bladin’ Action at 306 S. 5th St. — and has become Philly’s first female in-line skate instructor.
“I found something that I liked,” Goldstein said. “Professor Brodo gave me a chance to do what I wanted to do. I figured if I could offer everybody what I wanted to [see] offered, there would be some happy skaters out there.”
Brodo said Goldstein’s love for the product makes her “a marvelous entrepreneur.”
“She put together this business product that few people knew of, and now she’s one of the foremost proponents of the rollerblading industry,” he said. “[And] she can look at [the sport’s] development from so many marketing angles.”
A lack of service for female customers propelled Goldstein into the in-line skating market. Few stores carry skates for women, so many customers are forced to purchase men’s skates which often fit incorrectly and can lead to injury, she explained.
“Women should have an equal chance to get the right skate and the right service,” Goldstein said. “No one had women’s skates or the information and knowledge to help me.
“I figured if I couldn’t find it, then I could help give it to others like me,” she added.
In-line skating has developed into more than just a fad in the past decade. Millions of people have taken up the sport, for everything from recreation to pure competition. Weekends in Fairmount Park bring thousands of skaters speeding by the bikers and runners along the Schuylkill River.
Goldstein’s slogan, “Take a class, save your ass,” encourages eager beginners to take a class before actually trying to skate outside. She offers daily classes to teach skating and stopping techniques, which help newcomers feel more comfortable on their skates. Beginner classes are free, but reservations are required due to the large number of people interested.
Goldstein cited three factors which keep people from trying in-line skating — cost, fear and social atmosphere. She said she tries to cut down on these factors through low-cost renting, frequent discounts and the availability of classes in three gyms in Center City. These classes offer a controlled atmosphere for people to learn and improve before actually hitting the skating scene.