LAKEWOOD, OH — Mahall’s, the iconic Lakewood bowling alley, concert hall and bar, issued a plea for help this week. The community was quick to rally behind the business.
On Monday, the owners of Mahall’s launched a KickStarter asking the community to help “keep the lights on” at the bar. According to the fundraising campaign, the business needed an injection of $15,000.
“When COVID-19 hit, we closed our doors and started doing takeout and delivery. We knew it wasn’t sufficient to sustain our overhead,” Kelly Flamos, one of the owners of Mahall’s, told Patch.
With live concerts prohibited due to COVID-19 and restrictions on crowds in restaurants and bars, Mahall’s future looked bleak. The site closed its doors for the first time in 96 years in March because of the pandemic. When Mahall’s reopened, it did so while only offering takeout and delivery.
Even with the aid of a PPP loan and an expanded outdoor patio space to serve customers outside, Mahall’s went through five months with effectively 95-percent revenue loss, Flamos said.
“We were between a rock and a hard place,” she said. Then KickStarter announced its “Keep the Lights On” campaign to support live music venues. The fundraising platform was offering space to local arts venues who were being hammered by COVID-19.
With some reservations, Flamos and company submitted a fundraising campaign for Mahall’s. KickStarter accepted the campaign and it launched Monday. The goal was to raise $15,000 to keep the business operational.
By Thursday morning, the community had raised nearly $25,000 for Mahall’s.
“The response has been really meaningful and energizing. It feels really good after taking so many blows,” Flamos told Patch.
She said the near future will be dedicated to sending out rewards to the campaign’s donors. If the momentum rolls forward, staff will think of ways to support local artists.
“What we want to do is engage the creative community and be able to pay artists without relying on our normal way of doing business,” she said.
Mahall’s is now open to the public, with limited indoor and outdoor seating and limited bowling. Flamos said they’re only allowing customers into spaces with good airflow.
“We’re taking all precautions. Our staff has PPE. We have hand sanitizing stations everywhere. We’re frequently cleaning and disinfecting. We really want to keep everybody safe. That’s the big reason for KickStarter. We can’t operate as usual right now,” she said.
For more information on the fundraising campaign, visit the KickStarter website.
This article originally appeared on the Lakewood Patch