So many businesses struggled over the past year thanks to the COVID pandemic, and some didn't make it out the other side intact. Here in Missoula, we've had places like Flying Squirrel, Red Rooster, and the Kettlehouse Northside taproom close their doors for good.

Over in Billings, one business found an innovative way to keep themselves afloat: they added ice cream to their business model!

Skate World is a roller skating rink that, like most other businesses, had to shut down for a few months due to the pandemic. They were allowed to reopen eventually, but business was a lot more limited than they were used to; according to the owner, the loss of birthday parties was a huge chunk of their revenue that just vanished, and they had to refund all the deposits that customers had placed.

And then, while he was visiting family, he noticed a line of people waiting outside for ice cream, and it seems that was a Lightbulb Moment for him - he had the idea to start selling ice cream and turn the roller skating rink into a walk-up ice cream bistro.

That was definitely a smart move - I know I've seen the line at Big Dipper in Missoula wrap around the corner, sometimes even during the winter. Montanans love their ice cream, so that was a good way to get some business going while people still didn't feel safe heading back during the pandemic.

Plus, now they get to be a roller rink AND ice cream spot. That's a good combo right there.

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