Person to Person
Talk about wheeling and dealing. Jen Goldstein is a wheeler an dealer of the highest order. A 1990 Wharton graduate, she turned her senior thesis on the development of a product into a business plan and turned the plan in to a business that grossed $150,000 last year. Now she has skated into one of the top position in her industry in the nation.
Goldstein is owner and founder of the area’s first inline skate shop, Bladin’ Action at 205 South fifth Street in Society Hill. Rollerblade recent promoted her to Blade-Pro-Plus—which makes her on o a very few dealers in the country authorized to sell high-end skates and eligible for certain discounts and promotions. It’s an admirable position to be in, to be sure, and even more admirable in light of the fact that fewer than one percent of Rollerblade deals in the country who own shops are female. She was also the first female certified in-line skate instructor in the area. She gives lessons at the Sporting Club at the Bellevue, at the 12th Street Gym and in Pennsport.
In-line skating is a big business—and growing. There are some 25 million skaters in the country. Last year, $396 million worth of in-line skates were sold, a 40-percent increase over the year before. And that figure doesn’t include people were given skates as presents, who bought used skates, or who rent skates.
Goldstein, who can’t ski or ice skate and doesn’t ride a bike very well, began in-line skating in her senior year at Wharton in anticipation of a Septa strike.
“I released that if I could learn, anyone could,” she says, “and I realize that it’s definitely not a fad. Ice skating a fad, skiing isn’t a fad. Roller hockey is the fastest-growing recreational sport, so in terms of growth of different subsports, rollerblading Is unlimited.
“And as a mode of transportation, I knew this would be as a bike as bikes, if not bigger.”
Now Goldstein is turning her entrepreneurial eye in the next logical direction.
“The Future,” she says, “is in in-line skating rinks.” You heard it here first.
-Julie Liedman Photography by Dominic Episcopo