Rijeka Company Already ”Carving Out” Skating Rinks for Advent Joy

Lauren Simmonds

As Sergej Novosel Vuckovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of August, 2019, although winter still seems somewhat far away, things are going full speed ahead at a Rijeka-based company to provide thousands of citizens and tourists across Croatia with one of their favourite activities for the advent period.

They are the only ones in the country and in Croatia’s immediate region who actually make skating rinks, design and realise every conceivable idea of ​​their clients, and they’re leaning more and more towards exports.

This Croatian company is the only ice rink creator in the entire country, namely, in this coastal city, the European Capital of Culture for next year, Arctic is developing a type of domestic business without which there is virtually no Advent joy. Since 2003, they have been consulting, manufacturing, renting and selling mobile and fixed ice skating rink equipment. And, just like with the majority of the ”best” things – it was all a complete accident.

“It’s all a product of spontaneity and the desire to provide something new and unprecedented in our city where we live and work. This is what we did by installing the first Croatian mobile ice rink sixteen years ago, and to this day, we’re constantly happy to be making new mobile ice rinks in many cities across Croatia and the wider region,” explained Denis Ventin.

Although their products are used practically only (or at least most of them) during the winter season, their summer in Rijeka was not passive, either. On the contrary, Ventin pointed out that their last few months have been quite busy indeed.

“In order for everything to function flawlessly, it’s necessary to keep the equipment in good working order. We mainly deal with such operations during the spring and summer and this period is important for maintaining the quality of our rental equipment,” stated the head of this Rijeka-based company, who is the only one in Croatia who can provide such complete services like these, from consulting to designing, manufacturing, renting and servicing equipment, all carried out entirely according to the needs of that particular client.

These, however, are usually public sector clients (read: municipalities, cities, etc), although they’re also hired by those in the private sector. So, if you find yourself ”on the ice” in a shopping mall or even at a hotel, you will know with certainty that the skating rink there was “made in Arctic”.

Since several years ago, almost every city or a small town organises Advent festivities when winter rolls around, they always boast an ice skating rink, and accordingly, there is more and more work knocking at Arctic’s door.

“So far, we’ve designed and installed more than 250 mobile skating rinks of various dimensions. The requirements of our clients are really different, often related to the size of the cities and municipalities and the population. Lately, a number of them have been looking for an ice skating rink with a skating track added to it, and then the performance of skating takes on a different dimension,” noted Ventin.

With the famous ice skating rink as a symbol, the Croatian capital firmly earned its placed on the winter tourism map with Advent in Zagreb, repeatedly proclaimed the best in Europe.

This Rijeka company is naturally proud of what their ice rink in Zagreb has created.

“The Tomislavac Ice Park in Zagreb is our project, designed, engineered and executed with the knowledge of our experts, and we’re certainly proud of its performance because it’s still attractive enough and attracts the attention of many visitors even from beyond the borders of Croatia,” Ventin said.

They have achieved export success in other European countries, for example in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, where they carry out ice skating and ice park projects. In terms of overall quality, they’re not far behind their European competition at all, having been selected in significant bids, including one in Sarajevo.

This Rijeka company’s production capacity allows the production of smaller skating rinks, with an area of ​​up to 200 square metres, within just one working day.

“All the skating rinks are designed in offices in Rijeka where there are production facilities in which we make the components. The finished skating rinks are then transported from the warehouse directly to the client’s location,” describes Ventin, detailing the entire process.

The prices of the skating rinks are personalised for each client and depend on the length of use, the size and the amount of equipment installed. It requires people, and qualified ones, to create them, because “designing a rink is a process that requires, in addition to all of the necessary skills, extensive experience from numerous projects.”

Currently, the company has thirteen employees with a range of educational achievements.

“Our design team includes multiple members, each in charge of a particular segment. The project manager is involved in the design, bringing the skating rink to life according to the client’s wishes and presenting the idea to the client via 3D illustration. The employees go through certain stages of training in which they’re narrowly focused and trained.

Some processes of training certain professions take one to two years. It’s not easy to find employees with previous experience and knowledge in performing our highly specialised jobs. We’re constantly monitoring the increase in the volume of work and the increased need for hiring and training new employees,” Ventin pointed out, adding that despite a tough economy, Arctic is seeing continued business growth, with revenue and profits increasing.

“We have built a quality product recognised by many foreign customers and for which the demand is growing daily, which motivates us more and more,” concluded Denis Ventin.

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