Mandated Closure Claims Cloverleaf Family Bowl

by Bob Johnson 0

The COVID-19 pandemic claimed perhaps its highest-profile center to date when, on July 24, the Chambers and Hillman families announced that Cloverleaf Family Bowl in Fremont, Calif., would not be reopening.

In an open letter to the center’s patrons, the families wrote, “Due to the high monthly cost of sitting here without any income to offset such monthly costs as rent, utilities and insurance, just to name a few, we cannot continue to pay these bills.”

The families noted that, “Over the past four-plus months, we have held out hope for a reopening date, a date that has not come from the state or County of Alameda. With the current status of the state of California, it appears that bowling is still months away from an opening date, and especially in Alameda County.”

Even prior to the pandemic, the proprietors had been waging a battle to save the business after the land on which center sits was sold to developers who intend to construct high-end condominiums. The families had attempted to work with the developers to reach some kind of compromise that would enable the center to continue its six-decade legacy of service to the community, but the developers were not interested despite strong community support for the center.

“This has been a gut-wrenching, sad time for our families, and we have appreciated all of the support and wishes and prayers that you have provided,” the families added in their message.

We’ll have much more on this story — including what the loss of a center such as Cloverleaf Family Bowl means both to its community and to the bowling industry — in the September issue of Bowling Center Management.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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