OLEAN — The owner of the city’s largest events center hopes to reopen for business this fall, but said he is still considering selling the site.
In a video posted to Facebook on Tuesday, owner West Long indicated he hopes to have restaurant, event hosting and bowling operations up and running before the winter despite a number of challenges.
“We’re going to cross our fingers that we can overcome those challenges,” he said.
Good Times discontinued in-person dining and entertainment in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, later closing down public curbside food pickups that summer and switching to preparing meals for various entities, including Allegany Arc and The Pines Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in the city’s west end.
However, Long announced efforts are in motion to get customers back in the doors.
“We have a reopening plan that’s underway,” he said, adding that the ability to open “sooner rather than later, or even it all, it is going to depend on our ability to overcome some sizable obstacles and challenges — one of which is the continued lingering of the COVID-19 virus.”
In addition, since the firm ceased public operations more than a year ago, Long said he was not able to retain the previous managers for the various aspects of the business.
“They sought different career paths or employment elsewhere, so we need to hire a new management team,” he said. “And another huge challenge is that management team to find staff members.”
Positions ranging from cooks and servers to lane attendants and a bowling mechanic need to be hired to serve the public, he said.
“The forecast, if we can overcome those challenges, and the bowling lanes will hopefully be done in early September before the fall leagues start,” he said, adding he has been working with bowling league officials to get the fall and winter activities running. “Shortly after that, I’m going to guess October, somewhere in the middle of October, we’re going to have the restaurant open for dine-in.”
Events services are available on a limited basis at this point, Long said, and said anyone interested should email email@example.com to see if the firm can handle the request.
Long noted that the public has been concerned over the “for sale” sign placed on the property last fall.
A listing by Howard Hanna Professionals had asked $3.4 million in the fall for the 46,000-square-foot bowling, restaurant, bar and events center, which also features an expansive miniature golf course, batting cages and outdoor volleyball courts. Good Times was built for a reported $5.7 million in 2013.
“We were looking for a potential sale or lease on the building. We entertained a few different offers,” Long said, adding one serious offer is under discussion. “We are currently talking to a group that would like to continue Good Times’ business model — and enhance it.”
He said that potential buyer, which he did not identify, would aim to offer similar services as previously found at the business, but would look to expand as the market allows.