AUSTIN (KXAN) — First opened in 1958, Dart Bowl built a reputation on enchiladas and a comfortable, friendly atmosphere.
“I remember when I was a kid growing up, all the old men coming in to drink coffee and talk about old war stories,” said John Donovan, co-owner.
But on Tuesday, Donovan told his employees that the Brentwood bowling alley would be closing its doors for good this coming Friday.
Employees, some who had worked at Dart Bowl for more than 20 years, would lose their jobs.
Donovan said he fought the decision for weeks, as customers dwindled due to stay at home orders and fears over the spread of COVID-19.
“I feel sad, I feel heartbroken,” he said. “There’s a certain amount of guilt, wishing I’d been able to find a way to keep it together.”
It’s another example of the difficult decisions local businesses are making during the coronavirus economy.
Many others are prepared to follow, if the economy doesn’t improve.
Through a survey, the Austin Chamber of Commerce asked businesses about their financial outlook three or four months down the road.
The answers from live music venues, restaurants and bars weren’t encouraging.
“Over half of them have indicated to us that if something doesn’t give economically, it’s quite possible they’ll close their doors by Halloween,” said Laura Huffman, CEO of the Austin Chamber.
Donovan said he hopes people will come to Dart Bowl one last time before the bowling alley closes its doors Friday night.