BEEVILLE, Texas — The Bee Family Fun Center has been in business since 1959. It provides the people of Beeville and the surrounding area with a place to bowl and play mini golf, but couldn’t do that for a portion of 2020, due to the pandemic.
“Trying to balance, not only trying to give jobs to our employees, but just paying the bills on a month-to-month basis, it was very difficult,” said Charles Smith, the operator of the Beeville Family Fun Center.
Smith said the business received two rounds of the Paycheck Protection Program loans, which helped keep them in business. But while the center's bowling and mini golf was closed, its snack stand for to-go food orders was open.
“They could come here and we could run it out to the car to them, or we had our young kids who could drive to deliver it to them for a delivery charge,” said owner Donna Smith. “That’s what held us together, but it was touch-and-go for a while.”
Donna Smith, Charles' mother, and her late husband bought the business in 2000. The Smith family never envisioned having to persevere through a year like 2020.
“We’ve never been this focused before on the finances, just to make sure everything works, that’s for sure," Charles Smith said. "Counting every penny, counting everything there is just to make sure we stay on track and keep the doors open."
The biggest hit to the business was having to close during the spring and summer months, missing big business during spring break, the end of the school year and summer camps.
When the business opened back up, not as many people returned as they had hoped. Participation in fall leagues was only about 65% what it once was.
Even now, Charles said the Family Fun Center has only about 75-80% its customer base from years past, and they are not even at 100% of employee capacity.
“We are still feeling the impact, even today, as far as budget concerns, and just making month to month,” he said. “As things pick up, and continue to pick up, hopefully we can get back to 100% staffing.”
However, the Smiths are thankful they can remain open, and the people of Beeville are a reason that is the case.
“I’d like to thank the Beeville community for sticking with us and supporting us, and helping us stay in business,” Donna Smith said.
The Bee Family Fun Center is located at 3900 N. Saint Mary's St. in Beeville, and is open seven days a week.