’It’s been a struggle:’ Batesville bowling alley threatened by financial impacts from COVID-19

’It’s been a struggle:’ Batesville bowling alley threatened by financial impacts from COVID-19

BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - In Independence County, a decades-old business could shut its doors after the early impacts of COVID-19, and shutdowns are still looming.

Hollywood Bowl has been a staple in the Batesville community since the 1960s. The current owner, Sheila Phillips, says the place is all she knows.

“This is my home away [from home]. I spend more time here than I do at my own home. I hate to see even the thought of it having to shut down,” Phillips said.

After being denied several times for CARES act money and also relying on family and friends, she said the burden has been tough after being shut down for two and a half months.

The business even laying it all out on its Facebook.

Phillips says Hollywood Bowl is a staple in the community.
Phillips says Hollywood Bowl is a staple in the community. (Source: Hollywood Bowl of Batesville)

Many of their patrons have been bowling for decades in that same venue.

“Proprietors here have given me an avenue, a place to come and practice. A place to bring people together. Just have some fun. Enjoy some competition. For me to lose the bowling center in Batesville will be pretty sad…. sad,” bowler, DeeDee Jeffery said.

Phillips says those who come to bowl, become a part of her extended family.

“I know the bowlers, I know their kids, I know where their kids are going to college. I know what they do for their job. It’s more than just bowling here. It’s a family camaraderie. It’s a family establishment,” Phillips said.

But beyond family, it is a place for the future.

“There are four high-school teams that use this as their home house. Lyon college uses this as its home house and all the youth bowlers that we have here, it’s really sad to think that it might not be here for them,” Phillips said.

Those four schools are Cedar Ridge, Southside, Batesville and Concord. Students can also all receive scholarships for bowling like the Charlie Jeffery and Joyce Vickery Memorial Scholarship.

Jeffery says Hollywood Bowl needs everyone’s support.

“Take care of the local businesses in your local community,” Jeffery said. “Join leagues, get your kids involved in the youth program. Just come in. It’s local. It’s here. You don’t have to drive 45 miles for some entertainment,” Jeffery said.

Phillips adding although it’s not the fanciest place and you may even question where it’s located, none of that matters once you stop by.

“Hollywood Bowl and its staff want your business. We want you to come over here. We want you to give us a chance to show you that you can stay in Batesville and have fun,” Phillips said.

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