HAMILTON, Ohio — The pandemic has changed the way every business operates. Keeping a business afloat during these times is tough -- never mind opening a new one.
The Pinball Garage in Hamilton was slated to open April 15, but that's all changed. Instead, the owners said they're using this time as an opportunity to be patient and give their business another life.
“These parts have been working in here for decades," Pinball Garage owner Brad Baker said of his collection of pinball machines. "They’re bound to break when hundreds of people come in and start playing.”
The machines, like Brad Baker's business, have a lot of moving parts.
“We want to open, we have all this money invested," Baker said. "And I’m just like a big kid anyways. I’m just excited to see people smiling and having a good time.”
One moving part he didn't see coming: the coronavirus pandemic. It was "game over" for his opening date before the game even got started.
"To be open on Tax Day, April 15," Baker said. "But it’s not even Tax Day anymore. That was our goal. We were ahead of schedule going into March.”
The pandemic put Baker's business into full tilt, and he was forced to lay off his six employees.
“At least now we have the ability to, every day we can find something here and make it a little better," Baker said. "Then when we can open, it’ll be that much better. That’s how we’re looking at it right now."
He hopes to be in business within the next few weeks. If all goes according to plan, Pinball Garage could double in size -- adding Duckpin Bowling, a second bar and outdoor patio space.
“Add some food trucks in the parking lot," Baker said. "Expand in that way. We can see using the back half of the building for more entertainment. A small brewery that wants to partner with us.”
It's a way to give their business a second chance.
“Plug them in. Lights come back on. All over again, it’s like wow. That’s why I did this,” Baker said.