In 2020, going to the grocery store or getting a bite to eat looked a little different than usual: normal outings in 2020 required masks and temperature checks, among other safety precautions. As if patronizing businesses was not difficult enough, operating a business in 2020 could have been downright tragic. In December 2020, Steven Klein, the owner of Vision Lanes Bowling Alley, posted a tribute on his Facebook page to his beloved business. The following is an excerpt from that post:
This is NOT a political post. My sources are telling me an extension is going to be announced. May God help her.
My business, my livelihood, my invention, [and the] baby that I have nursed from birth, called Vision Lanes is in jeopardy.
She is barely conscious. She is dying slowly. She is watching her loyal staff and caretakers go find other sources of income because she can’t provide for her family any longer.
Her customers are finding other places to bowl. The people she loves are being forced to bowl in another State just to do what they love doing with her at her house. But, she is not conscious. She is not available to them. She is dying. Something is killing her and she is being told that she needs to be sacrificed. Her death will save lives.
She sees the mailbox continue to fill up with bills. Bills that have never stopped coming. The bills are as unrelenting as a shark that smells blood in the water. The end is near.
There isn’t anything her Daddy can do to save her. He is helpless. It’s killing him. So when you see her Daddy, and he doesn’t have that same sparkle in his eyes or same love in his heart understand he is watching his baby die, right in front of his eyes.
Those of you who say, “Oh we will be there when she gets better.”
Its time to relinquish to the fact that she won’t be alive when she is allowed to be open again when she is allowed to be conscious. . . .
Goodbye girl. I love you and I will miss you.
With much love and respect.
Signed by Your Daddy
Unlike the many social media posts mourning lost loved ones taken by Covid-19, Klein’s post was about his dying bowling alley, Vision Lanes, which he had built up himself and run lovingly for seventeen years. Vision Lanes was first forced to close in March of 2020 due to the Michigan governor’s executive order; it reopened in September of 2020 but closed again just two months later. For Klein, Vision Lanes was more than just a business—he was “her dad." According to Klein, the closure cost him $25,000 a month. In response to Klein’s emotional tribute, the community set up a GoFundMe page to fight Vision Lanes’ permanent closure. Klein hopes that his bowling alley can survive.
To help small businesses face economic hardship because of the pandemic, the federal government enacted the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). The PPP was part of a larger Act called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), which was passed by Congress on March 27, 2020. Despite the enactment of the PPP, many small business owners had experiences like Klein’s. Indeed, many businesses were initially unable to get the promised funds because the money for the program ran out in thirteen days. Additionally, many small businesses did not receive the loans they were promised or were unable to use the loans in ways that helped their struggling businesses.