Bowlski’s will continue to operate in El Jebel until bankruptcy

Bowlski owner Craig Spivey takes a hiatus from renovations in 2016 to play some frames in El Jebel’s driveway.
Anna Stonehouse / The Aspen Times File Photo

Bowlski’s in El Jebel declared bankruptcy on Sunday, but will keep its lanes open and the beer is flowing as it struggles to reorganize its Chapter 11 debts, according to co-owner and operator Craig Spivey.

“It really comes down to the back rent we owe during COVID,” Spivey said on Tuesday. “We know everyone, but we’re behind on our rent for the shutdown during COVID. “

Spivey was optimistic Tuesday about the future of bowling, which opened in 1992 under the ownership of the Stecklein family. Spivey and other investors acquired the El Jebowl business – but not the building – in 2016. Although they changed the name of the aisle to Bowlski’s, El Jebowl LLC is the legal name of the company.

The pandemic’s toll on Bowlski was similar to what other companies have experienced, Spivey said. Hiring has been tough and business activity has plummeted, but Spivey said December was strong and he saw a brighter future.

“We love him there and we appreciate everyone’s support 100%,” he said. “We are on a long list of people who have fought to stay open and appreciated everyone’s help and understanding.”

The Midvalley bowling alley was closed for almost three months from March 15, 2020 – two days after former President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency – until June 1.

“It really hurt us,” Spivey said. “Our sales have been hit hard. “

The staff of 14 to 16 employees before the pandemic now includes six workers, he said.

The bankruptcy case is still in its early stages and a creditors telephone meeting is scheduled for February 7, according to court documents.

The company’s bankruptcy petition lists Bowlski’s assets between $ 50,001 and $ 100,000 and its liabilities (the amount it owes creditors) between $ 100,000 and $ 500,000. A summary of these liabilities, which identifies creditors and the amount owed to them, had not been filed Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Crawford Properties LLC owns the building that houses the bowling alley and its accompanying restaurant and bar. Bowlski’s also owns and operates restaurant and bar businesses.

A phone message left on Tuesday with Robert Hubbell, chairman of Crawford Properties, was not immediately returned, and Spivey declined to say how much money the owner is owed.

“That’s a lot,” he said, adding that he’s expecting funds from an Economic Disaster Loan, which is a Small Business Administration program.

Additionally, Bowlski’s in 2020 received funds through the Paycheck Protection Program, with a first amount of $ 24,443 and a second amount of $ 34,220, according to an SBA P3 Loan database. That money helped keep the business afloat, Spivey said, noting that it was forced to close early, at 10 p.m., when public health orders were at full swing in 2020.

Now it’s open from 4 p.m. to midnight, and those extra two hours of operation make a big difference, he said. The nightlife has now changed with the addition of DJs and other offerings, he said.

“It added a whole new dynamic and a different demographics,” he said.

Spivey is also the president of Dallas-based BowlBrands, which opens and operates businesses and bowling alleys.

“We have invested a lot of money to stay here in the valley,” said Spivey, who also lives in the Basalt-El Jebel area.

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado in Denver is the location of the case. Kevin S. Neiman PC’s Denver law firms are representing Bowlski in the proceedings.

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