Owner assures they will open again soon
An upgrade to hydro lines has left the Chatelanes bowling alley in a difficult predicament, forcing the business to shut down temporarily, according to owner Denis Deschatelets. “It was on Monday or Tuesday,” March 20 or 21, recalls Deschatelets about when the utility company sent someone to change the post and transformers near the Front Street bowling alley. Unfortunately, an issue with the upgrade caused something to go awry with his equipment. The problem was rectified with the power, but many of the lanes are still down. However, the owner stresses that this is just a temporary situation, and that things are well under control.
“We worked on a pair of lanes, we figured out what was going on, we were able to start the pair and we’re just waiting for parts now,” assures Deschatelets, adding that the parts are due to arrive this week. He has also filed a claim with Hydro One and is quite confident that they’ll work with him to come up with a solution. “They’re pretty easy to talk to, they’ll be working with me. They’re good people,” he says.
It took no time for locals to take notice of the issues at Chatelanes. Sandra Bouchard of Sturgeon Falls quickly put up a GoFundMe page for the bowling alley to help keep the business going. Deschatelets, who was not consulted, says this was perhaps premature and while he appreciates the sentiment, he asked Bouchard to take the page down. “I feel bad, I’m not the kind of guy to ask people for money,” he explains, adding that he doesn’t want to accept donations when people are going hungry and struggling. Nevertheless, the drive managed to raise $550 in a very short time, which Bouchard says will go towards the parts that were ordered.
“I think it’s an important part of the community,” says Bouchard when asked about what prompted her to start collecting funds for the Chatelanes. “It’s good exercise, it’s great for mental health. I know people who struggle and once a week it’s something to look forward to,” she adds. For some, the bowling alley is one of the few places for the whole family to do something together, Bouchard points out. Though she tried to talk him out of removing the fundraising page, she understands why Deschatelets has asked not to fundraise.
Deschatelets admits that he has struggled with COVID closures but says that he feels lucky to have the Chatelanes and that his customers feel like family to him. Currently, he says things have been going well, and boasts that March Break was really good for the bowling alley. “I actually thought about hiring,” he recalls after he saw how much business he got during that week, and adds that he’s been running the whole place by himself. One thing is for sure, he’s certainly not alone when his customers are willing to donate towards keeping his business up and running. His message to those customers: “Don’t worry, we’re not going to be closed for long.”