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Community raises money to support Haygood Roller Skating Center during pandemic

A Virginia Beach landmark is asking the community for help to keep its doors open. So far, locals have donated more than $11,000 to help.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Haygood Roller Skating Center has been a staple in the Virginia Beach community since 1974. 

The Stokes family took it over in 2016, and they said they're counting on the rink's legacy to help them find donations and stay afloat.

"This is definitely the last resort, we definitely didn't want it to get to this, but we didn't know what else to do," said owner Brandon "Shaggy" Stokes.

Stokes said he, and many other business owners, are facing an unprecedented financial crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With things the way they are, Stokes said he doesn't know if he'll be able to keep his doors open. 

Locals aren't ready to let the Haygood Center go down, though. A good friend of Stokes created a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $15,000, which would pay a month's mortgage.

The fundraiser was posted this past Friday, and the contributions have been pouring in. By Monday, the page had raised more than $11,000 to support the local business. 

Stokes says these donations are an amazing act of kindness, from a community he feels fortunate to be a part of.

"This is just completely incredible," Stokes said. "The love and compassion people have when you think you're down and out."

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