Bam Entertainment Center looks beyond pandemic to future growth

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HOLLAND — Enterprise is booming at Bam Enjoyment Centre.

The business enterprise at 478 E. 16th St. has struggled above the previous 18 months with unpredictable pandemic constraints, necessary closures and a wavering clientele. But over the summer months, items last but not least started out to stage out.

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“We’re hitting on all cylinders,” stated proprietor Phil Huffman. “The bowling is heading excellent, leagues are doing effectively. The arcade and birthday get-togethers are exactly where we have to have them to be. We’ve actually had more income with much less hours. We are in fairly fantastic condition.”

Contrary to other companies, Bam is just not hurting for employees, possibly.

“I think it stems from the simple fact that we might have a much better lifestyle, we shell out a very little bit much more,” Huffman stated. “We do have some openings, but we’re not hurting like a lot of persons are, chopping several hours and reducing days. These times are powering us.”

In simple fact, Huffman is on the lookout to make some big variations, such as a decision in July to take out the business’ four escape rooms, launched in December 2017.

Three axe-throwing bays are under construction at Bam Entertainment Center in Holland. The area once held four escape rooms.

“The worries had really operate their class,” Huffman stated. “They needed to be altered and current, and there was a fork in the road. Do we reoutfit these rooms or go into a diverse business enterprise?”

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In the end, the option came down to the sum of time expended describing and retaining the rooms.

“They carried out perfectly financially, but you will find a lot of explanation involved,” Huffman mentioned. “When you’re in peak hrs, which is time you will not have. We have a million questions about escape rooms, and we wanted to simplify our operations.”

That simplification arrived in the sort of axe-throwing.

“We added three bays, and every single bay has two targets,” Huffman claimed. “So, each individual bay can take care of its individual occasion. The new idea permitted us to open up that house for other sights. We are contemplating maybe darts or foosball or aged-school arcade games — additional grownup-centric selections.”

Construction is nicely underway, but the deadline for opening has been pushed to mid-Oct thanks to provide chain issues.

Each axe-throwing bay will have two targets. Bam Entertainment Center aims to open the attraction by mid-October.

“The metropolis has been terrific with allowing and points like that,” Huffman mentioned. “Now, it truly is just a subject of locating the laminates and things we want to place in there. We’ve acquired seriously fantastic sellers, but they cannot do the do the job if they never have the materials.”

Huffman hopes the axe-throwing space, staffed only by grownups and catering to those over an age limit, will be a standalone location.

“There are people today who appear to Bam and want to get absent from young ones,” he mentioned. “This will be an chance for that. It’ll have its very own menu, a good deal additional larger-end liquor. It’ll have a laid-back again vibe.”

The area will be ideal for company gatherings and vacation functions — something consumers at Bam are booking before than ever.

“Our telephone has been ringing off the hook,” Huffman said. “In a usual year, it would begin ringing in Oct. But this calendar year, it started ringing in mid-August, which is just outrageous. It is really surely develop into a craze, so I persuade people to ebook quickly. These persons usually are not just kicking tires, they’re scheduling the space.”

With the coming of the university year and decreased temperatures, Bam is entering its busiest time.

The area surrounding the axe-throwing bays will have dining tables, old school arcade games, dart boards and other adult-only entertainment.

“When the snow flies and it’s chilly out and the lake isn’t really contacting you, which is when we get the most individuals,” Huffman stated. “We even now had a excellent summer months. We rebounded effectively from COVID. June was up five per cent above 2019. July was about the similar total, and we did that with less several hours and no appreciable boost in pricing.”

The firm will go on to make investments in a cleaner, much healthier experience, with virus-killing UV lights crafted into the HVAC system and elevated cleansing protocols.

“I consider as soon as you established all those protocols, it’s foolish to go again,” Huffman said. “All you get is a cleaner area. And if it will save a everyday living, it is really absolutely sure worthy of it.”

— Contact reporter Cassandra Lybrink at Observe her on Instagram @BizHolland.