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More Businesses Profiles During Lockdowns
How the government response to COVID-19 impacts people

At a recent press conference, Governor Kate Brown featured a victim of COVID-19, the disease. She has been less-than-supportive of those victims of COVID-19, the economic lockdown.

Walnut City Lanes, bowling and entertainment center in McMinnville, has been owned and operated by Jerry and Sharri Rettke for 43 years. During that time they have seen multiple economic cycles but with hard work and a faithful customer base they have survived and thrived as a business member of the community.

The COVID-19 shutdown first ordered in March of 2020 hit the heart of their strong bowling league season which is typically from November to May. Their business was deemed non-essential just as the planned spring break league play and corporate events were to have happened. Their 13 employees had to be let go. The Rettkes paid 4 weeks severance to the full-time staff, many of which had become like family.

Throughout the summer, with local restaurants open and adverse health statistics controlled their business, was forced limit activity before being shut down totally just as league season began. The hope for a return to opening in the fall coincided with the hope for a return to classrooms for school children. Neither happened, even though only one in ten thousand county residents had been listed as a COVID-19 death at that time. As the Rettkes face ongoing fixed expenses such as $38,000 in property taxes plus insurance and utilities -- all of which are at a higher rate than the previous year -- they must hang on by spending their retirement savings.

Their attractive location on Highway 99W would go quickly at auction if it comes to that, but at what discount? And what of their employees need for income? And what of their faithful customers need for a respite from social isolation?

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-01-04 09:51:06Last Update: 2021-01-04 11:10:26

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