Bowling centers reopen statewide to league members only


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been nearly six months and finally the ball is rolling once again at bowling centers across the state. 

Along with fitness facilities, bowling centers reopened Wednesday to the delight of owners across the region. However, the grand reopening is not quite as grand as some would have hoped. 

Bowling will be limited to league members only, restricting the number of bowlers inside centers like Spectrum Lanes in Wyoming considerably. 

Spectrum Entertainment Complex Proprietor Mike Eaton Jr. wasn’t sure their center would be able to hold out without customers much longer. 

“If things were to stay like they were indefinitely, we would struggle,” Eaton said. “We’re just very thankful that we can be open. It’s been a long six months. We didn’t know if we were going to make it.”

Bowling centers have been handled unlike any other business in the state, some in northern areas were initially allowed to reopen months ago only to be closed later. While lanes in the rest of the state were closed indefinitely, forcing bowlers to sit idly by while retail businesses were reopened. 

The Greater Grand Rapids Bowling Proprietors Association and their president, Dennis Johnson filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. At that point, they say they were finally getting some attention. 

“When we finally did start to get noticed by the administration, as an act of good faith, we did withdraw the lawsuit,” Johnson said. “I guess you could say it was more of a way to say, hey look at us. We’re ready to go. There was no malice behind it. We want to be good Michiganders. We want to work with the government. We want to succeed with the government, not in spite of the government. 

Despite their patience, bowling centers still feel disregarded by not being allowed to fully open their doors to the general public like centers in states like Ohio and Indiana have recently. Instead being restricted to league play only. 

“It was just very frustrating to know that we had no control. That we felt like we were just forgotten about,” Johnson said. “Give us a chance. Come back and do that. Join a league, mini leagues, fall leagues, continue to have your parties at different bowling centers.”

They say their business depends on it.

“These last few months were the first time in my life that I’ve hated coming into a bowling center. Just all the unknowns. I’m excited now about being there again,” Johnson said. “I don’t know, words just can’t describe how awful I felt and how excited I am now.”


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