GALION – As a local business owner in Galion for many years, Brian Tinch says he makes a good living and enjoys serving the community.
“I’ve had most of my clients for 20 or 30 years and they’ve always been really good to me,” said Tinch, owner and operator of a landscaping business in Galion.
When the opportunity arose for him to give something back to his hometown, Tinch jumped at the chance and said he wanted to do something for the young people of Galleon. As a young man, he enjoyed skating in the old skating rink that once stood at the Golden Age Center on South Market Street.
“There was an ice rink in town for many years and the kids really liked it,” Tinch said. “I heard they were closing and I wanted it to continue. I couldn’t get a deal to keep it where it was, so I bought it and moved it here. Then, just as I was getting ready to open it, that’s when the (COVID-19 pandemic) hit, so we sat here and waited until we were allowed to to open.
The Tigers Den, located in the Galion West shopping center on Portland Way North, opened last June, Tinch said. The 5,500 square foot facility includes an ice rink, concession area and game room equipped with pool tables, foosball, air hockey, corn hole, basketball and skee ball .
Tinch noted that since opening last summer, The Tigers Den has had its ups and downs like any new business.
“I know I’m not going to make a million dollars doing something like this,” he said. “I’ll just be happy if it pays for itself. What I wanted to do was give the kids a clean, safe, and fun place to go and hang out here in town. A place to do physical activity, because many of them don’t like to move anymore, they just like to sit and press buttons and stare at screens. That’s why we don’t have video games here.
“(Attendance) is bouncing back a lot. I can have 40 people one day and two show up the next,” he noted. “I’m not quite getting what I expected on the free skate, but the private parties are doing great. This is what carries the building. It is really perfectly designed for private parties. It’s just the right size for it.
Tinch said he hopes The Tigers Den will become a rallying point for kids in the community to socialize and actually talk to each other, hoping to put their mobile devices away for a while.
“My biggest goal is to promote social interaction and physical activity,” Tinch said. “These kids are losing their social skills, in my opinion. They can communicate with anyone and say anything on their phone, but you put them side by side and they can’t even talk to each other. It takes places like this where you don’t have games that you can isolate from others and play. You don’t play pool alone; you get a partner. You don’t play foosball alone. You play against someone and you communicate while you play. It helps to break the ice and start the conversation.
Tinch said he has developed a good working relationship with school officials in Galion City. It provides vouchers for the school district to give to students as rewards.
Free Skating Hours
The Tigers Den offers public skating from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Admission is $5 and skate rentals are $1.
Public skating is available from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. Admission is $5 and skate rentals are $1.
Public skating on Friday and Saturday evenings is available from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is $7 and skate rentals are $2.
Public skating on Sunday is offered from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $6 and skate rentals are $1.
The skate rental includes the rollerblades.
Rental of facilities for special events
The Tigers Den can be rented out for special events and group events from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. The installation can be rented for two and a half hours for $260 and for three hours for $295. Call Tigers Den for rental information.
Brian Tinch, owner of The Tigers Den ice rink and entertainment center, poses with a mural of a tiger painted by artist Melissa Taylor. Tinch opened The Tigers Den in June 2021. It is located in the Galion West shopping center on Portland Way North in Galion.
Tigers Den owner Brian Tinch is pictured behind the counter at the concession stand at the Galleon Ice Rink and Entertainment Center.