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Wednesday, 05 June 2013 18:54

Manager seeks lucky strike to spare alley

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Amin “Shawn” Hajayanee faces a difficult decision Monday.

He is going to the bank a final time with a loan extension plan he hopes will keep Fairwood Lanes open.

The general manager of the only bowling alley in Roanoke Rapids, Hajayanee said today he has noticed a downward slide in business for the last three years.

“The economy is bad, people don’t have the extra money, gas prices are up. People have to cut corners, there is no rise in their pay scale.”

Hajayanee, general manager of the bowling alley for the last seven years, has been to the banks before with no luck. “We’re not bringing in the revenue to sustain the building. I’m not asking the bank to renegotiate the loan or drop the interest rate.”

By extending the 11 years left on the loan, he feels there would be a win-win for both parties. “The bank will make more money on extending the loan.”

If Monday’s request fails, the general manager must tell his nine employees they have lost their jobs and he feels certain he will be forced to declare bankruptcy.

“I need to continue revenues and upgrades,” he said. “I’m looking for help and there is no one to help us.”

In the past three years the size of leagues have shrunk and during that time Hajayanee has been faced with the choice of trying to secure a loan for upgrades and improvements or trying to extend the loan. “I can’t sustain both payments at the same time.”

He finds himself in a Catch-22 position. “When I talk to the bank, they don’t want me to shut down,” but, he says, the bank has not offered to extend the loan. “If no one helps me I’m shutting down. I don’t have anyone helping me. I’ve been a citizen for 30 years in the U.S. but here in town I’m new. I’m sitting in the dark waiting for a miracle to happen.”

The alley is currently opened whenever there are bookings, he said. An elementary school was in earlier today and Hajayanee was working with two employees. “I do whatever I can to keep it open. I’m doing everything myself to keep it open.”

The expenses in light of the downturn make it difficult to operate. Payroll is about $10,000 a month and he has already let seven employees go.

To keep the alley open is about $1,000 a day, $9,000 a month goes to the bank, $3,000 goes to the electric bill and $1,800 to insurance. There is also the expense of taxes.

“There’s a lot of money involved,” he said. “If they help me I’ll stay.”

Hajayanee has tried to maintain the alley as a family place. “My point of view is I think they need to keep this place. If they shut it down then where will the kids go?”

He believes the city should show some interest in the matter. “Without help we can’t sustain. If I knew people I would go door-to-door and ask them to help.”

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