Longtime Owners of Neenah’s Favorite Roller Rink to Retire Soon

Dave+and+Connie+Buksyk%2C+owners+of+Fox+Valley+Roller+Rink+for+37+years%2C+plan+to+soon+sell+the+establishment+and+retire.+

Dave and Connie Buksyk, owners of Fox Valley Roller Rink for 37 years, plan to soon sell the establishment and retire.

Ashlyn Jacobs, Editor-in-Chief

Every Neenah local knows the scene: a late winter evening, patrons pour into the neon-lighted, retro-decorated Fox Valley Roller Rink. Two friendly faces greet each skater: one stationed at the snack bar and the other rolling jovially behind the skate stand. Kids giggle, friends chat, parents look on — and everyone makes memories. 

Soon, however, this scene may change, for the beloved couple behind it all — those friendly faces — have announced their coming retirement. Rink owners Dave and Connie Buksyk, both in their 60s, recently put the popular establishment up for sale and hope to soon enjoy a much-deserved life in leisure. 

What does this mean for the residents of the City of Neenah?  Will there be one less entertainment option?   

“We’ve been skating a lot. I mean, I wish a younger person would come and do it; they could do it a lot more than we could,” Dave chuckled. 

While most of Neenah can pick the two out of a crowd, not everyone may know their backstory. Dave Buksyk’s father built the roller rink in 1962, the building then about half of its current size, while Dave was a student at NHS. His high school sweetheart, Connie, also attended Neenah, and the two have been together ever since. 

After graduation, Dave moved to California and served in the Marine Corps, while Connie took up a job at Disneyworld in Orlando, Fla. The couple remained in a long-distance relationship until they both returned home to Neenah and got married.

Dave Buksyk, age 8, with his family after the first opening of Fox Valley Roller Rink in the early ’60s.

“We got married and then, all the sudden, the big question: Will we run this rink?” 

After the roller rink had turned hands from his father to new owners, and then to Dave’s brothers and sisters, the Buksyk couple took up running the rink, and the two have officially owned Fox Valley Roller Rink, one of Neenah’s most popular hangouts for all ages, for 37 years. 

 

Over the years, they made renovations and additions to the building after inheriting it, welcoming even more customers. Fox Valley Roller Rink became a significant honeycomb in the small-town hive of Neenah — and the Buksyks became busy bees themselves. 

Having decades of experience hosting hundreds of elementary school “Skate Nights,” festive birthday parties, and weekends open skates, Dave and Connie have assumed their roles as Neenah’s skating gurus. 

“She always wanted to be a snack bar girl.” Dave smiled at Connie, remembering countless evenings when she served slushies and soda to sugared-up kids and he taught them how to skate by waddling side-to-side. 

Neenah children grow up with superior skating skills thanks to the Buksyks. “We get kids from other cities, and they don’t know how to skate,” Dave noted — a nod to the couple’s years of service to Neenah’s youth. 

Dave and Connie agreed that, above all, one of their favorite aspects of the job has been meeting and connecting with young kids. Seeing them grow up, they said, and teaching them to skate ranks high on their list of rewards. 

“He teaches the little kids to skate, and they all say ‘I can do it!” Connie said with a grin. 

Other aspects of working with people make their job the flare pants, not the work slacks, of the working world. One time, Connie mentions, movie star Ed Begley Jr. showed up. “We meet so many different people,” Dave said, “There’s always somebody new coming in.”

Their advice to the future rink owners: get a partner. Have help, they urged, and budget for the slow summer season. 

Over the many years, the Buksyks said, they have learned an even more significant lesson through working with people: patience. “You can’t lose your temper; that’s the big thing.” 

Now, after more than 37 years in the people business: managing full weekends, hosting events, and skating in Neenah’s parades, the Buskyks look forward to rolling into a relaxing retirement. Their plans have been nearly five years in the making, Connie says, and the two have exciting plans. They intend to travel once they finally relinquish responsibilities, as well as spend more time with their children and grandchildren. 

“We want to travel around a little bit in our camper until we can’t do it anymore,” the couple added. 

The Fox Valley Roller Rink has proved its enduring value as a prime family rendezvous, with a welcoming atmosphere and affordable fun. Because of the Buksyks, Neenah can skate better than other kids in the Fox Valley. 

More than that, though, the beloved pastime does not require — or even encourage — any modern technology, leaving space for genuine socialization and warm exchanges. 

If Neenah were a body, Fox Valley Roller Rink would be a vein — pumping livelihood and neighborliness into its heart and soul. 

Though Dave and Connie Buksyk’s active reign of the roller skating world in Neenah will soon come to an end, their legacy will remain. Roller skating has never truly gone out of style, maintaining popularity among many generations — and thanks to these friendly faces, neither will Neenah’s close-knit community. 

*The Satellite staff encourages you to add your memories of the Fox Valley Roller Rink in the comments. Additionally, a GoFundMe exists to send Dave and Connie into retirement with an extra gift from the Neenah community to show appreciation. To donate, click this link

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