"It has been a dream of mine to open a small business in a town that values community involvement and development, where I can have a tangible, positive impact on the community, and I truly feel like Herndon is the perfect location for this," said McDonald before the business's ribbon-cutting day.
McDonald reports that there are only two specialized stores within a three-hour drive of the DMV that give the opportunity to touch, try on, and discuss skating in person. McDonald hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Sacred Roller Skate Supply on Saturday at 681 Monroe Street, at the historic, vernacular Victorian house, circa 1890–1915, that she is leasing for her shop in the commercial district.
The property line of Sacred Roller Skate Supply conveniently runs adjacent to the 45-mile asphalt-paved, two-lane W&OD Trail, where skaters are welcome. The business is three doors down from the intersection of Elden and Monroe streets, in the heart of the historic downtown district.
McDonald estimated between 150 and 200 mask-clad roller skaters, elected officials, friends, and family members of her and her husband, Jeff Miller, converged at Sacred Roller Skate Supply. They were there to celebrate the company's milestone moment and demonstrate confidence in its future.
McDonald stood at the shop's front door holding the giant ceremonial scissors with Town of Herndon Mayor Sheila Olem. VA House Delegate Irene Shin (D-86) had one ribbon end, and Herndon Town Councilmember Signe Friedrichs held the other. With a three, two, one countdown and a snip, McDonald and Olem cut the ribbon. The ends shot skyward, carried up in the stiff breeze, accompanied by cheers and congratulations by the crowd.
In an earlier interview, McDonald said that the idea for her brick and mortar skate shop had been rolling around in her head for some time. "But I hadn't verbalized it to anyone," she said. According to McDonald, she had recently grown dissatisfied with her employment as a biomedical patent examiner with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She had been thinking about quitting when she didn't get what she thought were adequate accommodations after an injury.
That was the moment McDonald recalled that she told herself there was a gap in the roller skating market. However, while she knew she could operate a business, the conditions were inappropriate. McDonald was well aware that she would face several obstacles, each of which would have to be surmounted to establish a successful business plan. The first was support from family and friends.
Before she quit her position, McDonald's father called her. She recalled him saying, "You are probably going to hate this idea, but why don't you open a skate shop?"
"It blew my mind. It amazed me that my dad could not only see just how much skating changed my outlook on life," McDonald said. "This was something he could see me putting everything into and succeeding. That paved the way."
McDonald tackled the business plan starting with market research, financial projections, and location. McDonald was aware that there were only two roller skate-specific stores within a three-hour drive of Herndon, one in Dale City and one in Norfolk.
McDonald said, "I literally leaped out of my seat" when she learned the Herndon shop was available for lease. McDonald said that she did not need bank financing for a build-out. "Startup costs have been reasonable, and I think a lot of that has to do with the landlord who's absolutely incredible and amazing," she said.
The opportunity to purchase the skate inventory and Derby Star Pro Shop displays in Frederick, Maryland, rounded out the company package. "They announced they were going out of business," said McDonald.
A few weeks after securing the lease, the red ribbon flew, opening the doors to the town's newest woman and LGBTQIIA+ owned business.
"In addition to providing the high quality, industry standards of roller skate gear and customized, individualized attention to the specific needs of all levels of skaters, I strive to provide a safe, accepting, and judgment-free zone for members of the community. Come for the skates; stay for the comradery and good vibes," McDonald said. "I'm honored to give back to the town that helped shape me into the person I am today," McDonald said.
In addition to providing the high quality, industry standards of roller skate gear and customized, individualized attention to the specific needs of all levels of skaters, I strive to provide a safe, accepting, and judgment-free zone for members of the community. Come for the skates; stay for the comradery and good vibes," McDonald said. "I'm honored to give back to the town that helped shape me into the person I am today.”
Comments by Guests
Marcia Furman, Alexandria: "We came because Katie is awesome, and we want to support the skating community.
Maggie Wenz, Alexandria: "I got a hoodie, and I'm wearing it to the skate park."
Isabella Chevez, Reston: "I think Katie is the coolest, and we love having a shop where we can get skating items and be part of the community.”
Brittany Henry, Falls Church: “I came to support Katie and buy parts for my skates in person rather than online. I normally skate at Arlington Skate Park. The W & OD Trail is on my plan for the summer.”
Wes and Andrea McDonald (Katie's parents): “It's an amazing thing to see Katie bring this shop and skating community experience to Herndon and the Northern Virginia area. We are so proud of her and couldn't be happier for her and all the present and future folks who are going to have so much fun. It's a wacky, inclusive, sacred lifestyle … friendship, community, experience, support, and love.”