As Alberta continues to adjust to life without public health restrictions, Airdrie’s only bowling alley officially opened back up for business on July 15.
“We actually had people in our doors fairly quickly,” said Shamrock Lanes proprietor and manager Cathy Dilts. “People were really excited that we were reopened – it was a very good vibe.”
Dilts added it was also nice to be able to provide customers the choice on whether or not they wanted to wear a mask.
“We are not making it mandatory,” she said. “It was just nice to provide that little bit of freedom, as long as everyone is being safe.”
The bowling alley, located off of East Lake Boulevard on the east side of the city, has been a fixture in the community since 1982. Back then, Airdrie only had about 10,000 residents in the area, according to data from Municipal Affairs.
Fast forward nearly 30 years, with a population that has grown more than seven times that number, it is clear it would take a lot more than a worldwide pandemic for the team at Shamrock Lanes to stop providing a place for people to gather for an afternoon or evening of fun.
“It was really tough,” Dilts said. “Everybody likes time off, but this was so much different because nobody had a choice in it. It was a long road.”
While the restrictions were never the issue with the bowling alley, Dilts said the pandemic was made even more difficult as lockdown conditions came. Shamrock Lanes closed its doors to customers for a total of nine months during the pandemic.
“When we closed down for a second time, and for longer, it became a little devastating and obviously hard on the pocketbook,” she said.
According to Dilts, the establishment closed for three months during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. With the severity of the second wave and heightened intensity of provincial restrictions last fall, the second wave of the pandemic had the local bowling alley on standby for six months.
“We were just sitting there, watching the news every day, waiting to see if something was going to happen,” she said. “There was nothing we could do about it, which was the toughest part. We were at the mercy of the pandemic.”
Although it has been a difficult time to be a business owner, Dilts said she is just happy the nearly-40-year-old staple of Airdrie is once again open for people to enjoy.
“It was a crazy experience, but you have to learn to adapt,” she said. “We made it through and are just super excited to be open again and get back to some sort of normalcy.”
As for what’s next for Shamrock Lanes, she said the team is working on putting together a tournament in August and preparing for leagues to start up again in September.
For more information on Shamrock lanes, call 403-948-3404 or visit shamrocklanes.ca