After a 32-year dry spell of spares, strikes and turkeys, Taos is getting a bowling alley.
Gutters, as it will be called, is the brainchild of Shelly Ratigan, creator and former owner of Northside Health and Fitness for 23 years.
Ratigan arrived to Taos three decades ago, just one year after Taos’ only bowling alley shuttered. Ratigan thinks that once Gutters opens its doors, it will become what has been “a true missing link for Taos,” she said.
Gutters will be a 12-lane bowling alley and video arcade — big enough for leagues, school teams, locals who’ve longed to bowl for such a long time and those younger folks who’ve never known a venue for bowling in Taos.
It’s also set to have a restaurant with a wood-fired oven and a beer and wine license.
Live music is going to be a regular thing, Ratigan said. She already found a stage that rises over two bowling lanes, meaning people can rock out and even dance while still bowling with their friends.
Construction on the 11,300-square-foot bowling alley is set to begin March 1, Ratigan said, and she expects Gutters to open to the public by September.
And the location is excellent, she said.
Gutters will sit on a 1.5-acre plot immediately east of the Taos Youth and Family Center, located at 407 Paseo del Cañón E.
“As a businesswoman, my big passion is bringing community together,” Ratigan said. While the town-owned family center is already a gathering spot for the young people in the county, Gutters will, in some senses, be an extension of that youth-oriented ethos.
“Gutters will be a place that’s welcoming, safe and fun,” Ratigan said.
And she’s building that fun sensibility into every aspect of the business, starting with the name.
“I have to credit my son, Ezra,” she said. “We were in the car and names were flying around when he said ‘Gutters.’ That was it. It’s a parody, it’s edgy, it’ll make people smile.”
This isn’t the first time Ratigan has tried to open a bowling alley in Taos. A former iteration of the businesses plan never got off the ground. But Ratigan is confident Taos can support a bowling alley of this size, she said, based on a detailed feasibility study.
Taos is “A to Z on the [socioeconomic] spectrum,” she said. Some people just want to bowl. Others want the whole package of arcade games, food and libations. Either way, Gutters will be “affordable entertainment” for the whole community, Ratigan said.
The business is becoming a reality thanks to a handful of longtime friends and local investors, she said, including Johnny Long, Diahann Cordova, Dena Minato and Dave Kullowatz. Loans were provided by the local U.S. Bank, which Ratigan said was extremely helpful and quick in working to approve her business plan. Mark Yaravitz helped secure Gutters’ location.
Gutters was designed by Doug Patterson’s Living Designs Group Architects, which is based in Taos. It will be built by Blue Sky Builders out of Española. Brunswick, one of the biggest leaders in the bowling industry, will install all the lanes and equipment.
“In business, creativity has to be a constant. You have to keep people happy and excited,” Ratigan said. That’s why a second phase of construction — featuring laser tag — is already in the works.