WESTFIELD — As Indiana prepares to reopen business in stages, one local couple is opening the doors to their business for the first time.
Kevin and Jessica Lynch live in Hamilton County with their two young daughters. They are are now the owners of a new family-friendly entertainment business called Birdies.
The mini-golf venue sits near Grand Park and houses a restaurant and rooftop space, in addition to putt-putt for families to enjoy.
"We love that family atmosphere and that team atmosphere," Kevin said. "We just love being in front of people and interacting with people and so this is just kind of a perfect fit for our lives."
But the journey to opening was not exactly what the pair expected thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kevin is a professional hockey player and the family lived in Canada this past winter during his season with the Laval Rocket, a member of the American Hockey League. The AHL, like nearly every other sports league around the world, suspended its season when the pandemic hit.
As uncertainty mounted regarding international travel as the coronavirus made its way to America, the Lynch's made the quick decision to pack up the family and get back to Indiana.
"We kind of were in limbo for a couple of days," Kevin said. "And then the news broke out that there might be some conflict with US-Canadian border so we were kind of trying to rush back to make sure we could get across."
"We were literally given like a two-hour notice that we needed the across border," Jessica said.
Once the couple and their two young daughters returned to Indiana, they resumed plans for their new business and looked long-term for something they could do in Kevin's off-season and post-professional career.
They saw Westfield and the area near Grand Park as a perfect location for a family fun venue, especially with the many sporting tournaments held here.
Now even as tournaments are closed for the time being across the state, the couple decided to go ahead with the grand opening of Birdies.
"I think the reason why we are opening is because we feel like a lot of people are probably going crazy at home not having anything to do," Kevin said. "Especially us having two kids, it's really hard to keep kids inside all day and we want to create a safe environment for everyone to come out."
They were given the green light to open the mini-golf portion of their business this week with social distancing guidelines and proper sanitation in place.
The Lynches said the mini-golf experience will be slightly different right now as we work to stop the spread of the virus, but they said many families and kids are ready to enjoy the weather and do an activity outdoors after being at home without school for several weeks.
"When you come, you will see we have red tape everywhere starting from standing in line to where you drop off your clubs," Jessica said. "We'll have no used clubs ever come into the clubhouse until they've been cleaned and sanitized. We also are not allowing customers to pull out the flag poles or to even reach into the hole to grab the ball."
"We are going to be spacing people out between holes as well so you are never going to feel like you are up against people," Kevin added.
Birdies opened to the public over the weekend with several staff members already on the payroll to get things going, but the Lynches said they are still actively looking at resumes and plan to bring more staff on board very soon.
"We are still bringing people on," Jessica said. "We are looking for a lot of staff. So I think it's, you know, an interesting time to start a business during this time. We arent really sure what that is going to look like but I think its great ya know some, a lot of people have lost their jobs and we have a lot of jobs to offer."
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