Operators of Surrey’s Dell Lanes are appealing to bowlers for spare cash to help keep the game alive at the longstanding business on King George Boulevard.
The bowling alley, which has been around for close to 60 years, has been closed to bowlers since March 16. More than a dozen staff members were laid off due to the COVID-19 closure.
In late April, manager Kayla Cooper launched an online fundraiser for the business on behalf of her family, which has operated the bowling alley for close to 18 years.
“Unfortunately, we are facing hard times during this pandemic and while we are doing are part in ensuring everyone’s safety, we are looking for a helping hand at this point in order for us to be able to open up again when it is safe to do so,” Cooper wrote in a post at gofundme.com.
“We are raising funds in order to pay our rent (we currently pay $16,000 a month) and hydro to be able to continue to supply the community with take-out & frozen meals at the current moment, but to also be able to re-open our doors to all of our valued customers who we miss greatly and bring back our amazing staff.”
Cooper, a North Surrey resident, has bowled at Dell Lanes since she was a kid, and still plays the game competitively.
“One of the bartenders here (Bev Wood), her family owned it before us,” Cooper noted.
Other bowling alleys in Surrey include Scottsdale Lanes and Sandscastle Bowl Bar & Grill. Bowling is also an attraction at Central City Fun Park, a new entertainment centre due open near Pattullo Bridge in mid-March, just as the pandemic forced such businesses closed.
At Dell Lanes, tables are being painted and a new carpet will be installed, Cooper said.
“We’ll have a little bit of a new look when everyone comes back, just kind of moving things around,” she explained.
“And we’ve been trying to come up with some different plans to go with the whole social distancing, all that, because we’re assuming we’ll be limited to 50 people at a time when it opens up, which not great for us. Just on our bowling side, we fit 96 people – that’s not even including our tables there, and in the bar we probably do another 50.”
The five-pin game tends to attract adult leagues, birthday parties, school trips, seniors and special-needs teams, Cooper said.
“Our leagues vary in competitiveness and seriousness,” she added. “Some players like a drink, and we always say bowlers like their beer. It’s a great sport because you can drink and bowl at the same time.”
Karaoke nights have also been popular at Dell Lanes.
But the fun is finished, for now.
“I think we should be safe, depending how long this lasts, and each month is crucial,” Cooper said. “If we can reopen even partly within the next month or so we should be OK. What’s going to hurt us is we will probably be operating under capacity for the next year to year and a half. We’re optimistic that we should hopefully be able to stay around.”
With a contribution of $100, Surrey Pride Society is among donors to the Dell Lanes fundraiser.
“The Surrey Pride Society supports our local businesses, especially those that have community members in their employ,” the organization posted. “We challenge ALL other community groups that use this venue to donate. These are very uncertain times.”