Roanoke couple brings extreme air sports facility to hometown

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 10:37 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Envisioning something that doesn’t exist is a strength for Joe Curro.

“I’m just looking around and I’m like, this is a slick slide, this is the stunt fall, this is the front desk. I can see it all as if it’s really there,” said Curro.

To most, though, 1515 Hershberger Rd NW is the old Books-A-Million, or just a big abandoned space, and it’s been like this for more than a decade.

But in a few months, Curro’s vision won’t need a vivid imagination. You’ll be able to see it, even jump into it.

“The Defy network has over 300 parks but we kind of spun off our franchise, so we have a park out west in the Seattle-Tacoma area, and then we have this one,” said Curro, the co-owner of Defy Roanoke, alongside his wife, Erin.

Getting to this point knocked Joe and Erin down a few times. The high school sweethearts knew they wanted to come back to their hometown to open Defy Roanoke, and two years ago, they were on track to.

“We negotiated a lease, we were all excited, sat down at our lease signing on March 16th, 2020, and I got a phone call saying ‘hey we just got shut down out west for this thing called COVID’ and no one knew what it was,” said Curro.

Fast forward almost 24 months with supply chain issues and worker shortages, the Curros are in the same building, finally making their vision visible.

“I believe in him and us and so we saw the vision and we went after it and like he said, it’s been a wild ride,” said Erin.

The ride is far from over, though Joe says once construction starts, it’s usually a calculated process.

And while there’s no opening date set yet, the Curros six-year-old daughter is hopeful for an inside summer birthday party.

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