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Wintry spring break helps and hurts some Michiana businesses

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- With the kids home for spring break and the weather so crummy, many Michiana families are heading to indoor attractions instead of outdoor ones for some fun.

“This morning when I arrived, there was actually a line outside of the building from the front door all the way to the door next door,” said Julia Minerva, a shift leader at Strikes & Spares in Mishawaka.

The bowling balls were busy inside the Douglas Road business on Thursday.

Dozens of families stopped by the bowling alley to take advantage of the lanes with pins, the ones winding through the go-kart track, and to play the occasional arcade game.

“We wouldn’t know what else to do,” said Lisa Capes, who brought her two sons. “They’d be inside playing video games. We might as well come out, get them out of the house, and even though they’re still playing video games, they have so many other options here.”

Minerva said Strikes & Spares opens earlier, and offers some deals, the week of spring break.

She said March is the business’s busiest month.

“We have been running bowling wait lists about two hours long,” Minerva said. “We have go-kart lines running about an hour long. So it’s been pretty busy.”

About five minutes away, the miniature golf course at Mishawaka’s Putt-Putt Fun Center was empty on Thursday.

The sign at the front entrance reads ‘As sunshine permits.’

“It’s not a surprise when [the weather’s] bad or when it’s good,” said John Rice, the co-owner. “It’d be a surprise it if ever got consistent.”

Some snow still sat along the course Thursday afternoon, but Rice said a spring break where you shiver doesn’t make or break his business.

And surprisingly, some people still want to golf like it’s a summer evening.

“We’re only open in the daytime [right now], but I checked the answering machine and somebody called last night at 6:30 kind of unhappy that we weren’t open then,” Rice said.

Putt-Putt is now open daily, but will start staying open into the evening hours once the temperature hits 50.

At Strikes & Spares, the staff will be opening all the attractions early, at 11 a.m., for the rest of spring break.

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