BY JOETTE KUNSE
Special to the Clarkston News
After closing its doors on March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cherry Hill Lanes North has reopened to the local bowling community.
Greg Gumtow, one of the owners of Cherry Hill, located at 6697 Dixie Highway, said last week business has started out slow, but leagues are beginning this week.
Due to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders, the building can only be filled to 25 percent capacity and only 50 percent of the lanes may be used.
“All safety precautions are being met,” said Gumtow. “Social distancing with masks are required, we have new plexiglass at cashier stations, and bar and kitchen safety features are in place. The kitchen is open on a limited basis and serving food. Our hours are reduced, so call ahead.”
Gumtow added the Bowling Proprietors Association of America (BPAA) put out a “best practices” initiative for bowling alleys. Many of the safety features used in bowling alleys from other states that opened in June and July are being used.
Air filtration maintenance was done and new filters were all installed in the bowling alley.
“Our plan is to work on our adult programs in September and October, with youth programs launching in mid-October.”
Gumtow recounted the last six months as a small businessman was very trying in keeping the business afloat, even as the first quarter of 2020 was “very good financially.”
“We were told we needed to close for two weeks to ‘slow the spread,’” said Gumtow. “A month goes by and we received some PPP (Payroll Protection Program) loan funding. I’m an optimist and brought back my employees from unemployment. Some did not want to return as they were making more money on unemployment. We started cancelling services like garbage and DirecTV and reducing costs.
“You can’t operate a business like that. Our employees are our business and we need to make payroll.”
Cherry Hill Lanes was built in the 1960s by the Howe family and sold in 1985 to Gumtow’s mother. Gumtow and other family members purchased the bowling alley in 2004.
The family has been in the bowling business for 72 years and three generations.
For more information on hours and leagues, call Cherry Hill Lanes at 248-625-5011.