JOHN GREEN, Contributing Writer
MALONE — More business has rolled in since Lucky Strike Lanes got some grant funding.
The Malone bowling alley at 36 Woodware St. used the $9,300 it received last year to put toward purchasing 20 Durabowl bumper systems.
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“We did see an increase (of people) in open play, more birthday parties, more kids’ parties (and) the field trips this year,” owner Scott McLaughlin said.
Lucky Strike also put in new carpeting, bought a few more “house” bowling balls, installed tile and enlarged the kitchen area, which allowed the business to expand its food menu.
The investment brought in more revenue over the past year despite the sluggish economy, McLaughlin said.
And, he said, “I actually did hire a couple more people this year.”
Lucky Strike was among 11 businesses that received grants from the Town of Malone aimed to help stimulate the local economy.
In 2012, the town was awarded $200,000 from the Community Development Block Grant Program of the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal to create a micro-enterprise program that would help local businesses in the area.
Program Administrator Boyce Sherwin of Regional Solutions allocated grants between $5,000 and $35,000 to the participants. The business owners were required to contribute at least a 10 percent match to put toward the improvements.
In addition, the owners had to complete a small-business training course and create or retain jobs within two years of receiving the grant.
The bumpers, enough for all 20 lanes, make Lucky Strike Lanes more versatile, McLaughlin said. The bowling alley had only four sets before.
The “bumpers” are actually railings that are built into the gutters. The railings can be raised out of the gutter by using a special hook. So, with the new Durabowl bumper systems, all 20 lanes can be with or without bumpers in seconds.
The grant money covered only a portion of the cost, but it gave his business a positive boost, McLaughlin said.
“It’s helping businesses out in the community to stay viable,” he said. “In today’s economy, some businesses can’t afford to do upgrades for what they need to do, and these grants do help out.”
McLaughlin believes things are looking up for Lucky Strike Lanes.
“Hopefully, this fall is good with our fall leagues, our kids’ league and short-season leagues, and (hopefully) more families will come in and bring in their younger kids and utilize the bumpers more.”
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