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Bowling Centers Look to be Spared from Further Hardships

For Royal Scot Golf & Bowl, it took quite a bit of work, patience and perseverance to continue rolling forward during the COVID-19 chaos.

However, the facility was able to strike a balance this year, and by March all 60 bowling lanes were operational and being maintained according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have paid close attention to the guidelines as they have been introduced and modified over the course of the past year and have worked diligently to adhere to them,” said Todd Kwiecien, vice president of Royal Scot, 4722 W. Grand River Ave. in Watertown Township, just north of Lansing.

The past 12-plus months have been tough on all Michigan businesses, but one of the business categories especially hard hit was the iconic recreational pastime of bowling. Most bowling centers have been able to reopen with restrictions, but a few weren’t as lucky and closed for good.

Although new hope is on the horizon as the coronavirus vaccine rollout continues through the spring and summer, it also presents a new challenge for bowling centers since bowling is a seasonal activity that typically sees a significant drop-off in revenue as the weather turns warm.

Kwiecien noted that the governor’s executive orders related to the coronavirus closed one or more of Royal Scot’s business segments from March 2020 until January of this year. In addition to the bowling center, the facility includes a restaurant, banquet facilities and golf course, which are still operating under significant restrictions.

“The crippling executive orders and mandates, coupled with the loss of revenue as a result, has left us in a position where we are significantly understaffed,” Kwiecien said, adding that Royal Scot was able to call back staff, but not all were willing to return.

Still, the overall prognosis is positive for the state’s bowling facilities, said Bo Goergen, executive director of the 165-member Bowling Centers Association of Michigan.

“With PPP money they should be in pretty good shape if they can just hang on and position themselves for the fall (season),” said Goergen.