Joey and Hannah Padilla have waited patiently for a year for the green light to reopen The Alley Lanes & Lounge at DeVargas Center.
That came March 10 when Santa Fe reached the green level of the state’s coronavirus restrictions, putting the Padillas on course to reopen the city’s only bowling alley from 10 a.m. to midnight Friday.
Recreational facilities and theaters were the last business category granted permission by the state to reopen at 25 percent capacity.
“It’s a difficult thing to control your emotions on things like that,” Joey Padilla said of watching nearly all other businesses open in one form or another over the past year.
The Alley filled a yearslong bowling gap in Santa Fe when it opened in September 2019. After Silva Lanes on Rufina Circle closed in 2009, lovers of the sport and the experience had to travel to the 24-lane Big Rock Bowling Center at the Santa Claran Hotel Casino in Española and the 16-lane Strike Gold Lanes at Cities of Gold Casino in Pojoaque.
The Padillas, longtime entrepreneurs, announced their intention to create The Alley in 2018, taking a chance on a sport that had seen some decline with a change in American entertainment options through the years. But they also created other ways to attract people who wanted to spend time together, including bocce courts.
The Alley will have a maximum capacity of 62 people. Only six of the 12 lanes will be open, two of the three dartboards and four of the six pool tables.
El Sabor at The Alley restaurant also will reopen with tables spaced 6 feet apart.
“There’s a lot emotion as a small-business owner,” Joey Padilla said. “You’re scared because of the limitations to be able to pay rent and the loan.”
Late last year, Joey Padilla spoke frankly about his concerns for the business as the pandemic and business closures lingered through the fall and winter of 2020.
“Every day I worry about that,” he said at the time. “Hannah and I, both of us, because we’re both the owners, it’s a constant worry for us. We worked so hard to get the bowling alley up and running. And we dealt with a ton of hurdles just to open the facility. … To think all that hard work is going to be lost, and the financial loss is huge. It’s huge. Every other 10 minutes I think about it.”
The Padillas invested $2.2 million, had six months of delays before opening and then had to shut down six months later in March 2020 because of the coronavirus.
“It’s just so exciting to see people be able to come in and have fun,” he said Monday.