GOLETA, Calif. — It’s been quite some time since bowling balls rolled through the lanes at Zodo's Bowling & Beyond.
Since July, the family entertainment center has been forced to shut down its bowling lanes, indoor arcade and VR studio.
“It was really hard to shut down the first time,” Zodo's co-owner Samuel Walters said. “In some ways even harder to try and reopen, then have to shut down again so quickly.”
With Santa Barbara County still stuck in California’s strict purple tier, the bowling alley’s restaurant can only be open outdoors.
To keep business afloat, Walters got creative while moving many of his TVs outdoors and installing a turf patio in front of the facility.
"We've now decided that we're going to be outside for a long time,” Walters said. “I think people enjoy it and we like it too."
One customer seemed to enjoy the outdoor dining experience with his two kids.
"They've adapted very well,” Angel Munoz said. They've made it very accommodating for everybody to come out here and have a great time."
Within the same space, Zodo’s also created an outdoor arcade.
“We chose our most popular games and put them out there,” Walters explained. “Fortunately they run on an internet connection, you plug them in and they're ready to go."
While this leaves some of the arcade machines exposed to possible sun or rain damage, it’s also attracting a young crowd of kids back back to the local business.
"You still feel comfortable having the kids go out and play all within an eyesight away,” Munoz said.
"We can sit and watch a football game or something, then they can play,” another customer Meme Morales said. “We can watch them and know they're safe."
Although the bowling alley may not reopen anytime soon, Zodo’s have reinvented itself for the time being.
"Now with outside, it's even better,” Morales said. “I hope that it stays."
"It's just great to see people come in,” Walters concluded. “Have some sense of normalcy and do something fun while watching football."
If Santa Barbara County moves into the red reopening tier this week, the bowling alley is prepared to reopen indoor dining at 25% capacity.
Zodo’s is offering free after school arcade cards for kids on weekdays from 2 p.m. till 4 p.m.