At a time when many companies must either close or reduce their operations to slow the spread of a deadly virus, a firm that creates bowling pins wouldn’t necessarily make most people’s list of essential businesses.
And yet QubicaAMF Worldwide in Lowville is being permitted to use up its remaining inventory of lumber. A provision of the state’s lockdown order to contain the novel coronavirus allows the company to save this resource from being destroyed as a result of the elements.
“One of the provisions of the executive order was that even if you’re a nonessential business, which, of course, bowling pins are not essential, but even if you’re a nonessential business having inventory that will be damaged by sitting outside,” Lewis County Manager Ryan M. Piche during a news conference on April 23, according to a story published that day by the Watertown Daily Times. “They have to move through their outside inventory, and that is allowed.”
A complaint lodged by a resident alleged that QubicaAMF Worldwide violated Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s executive order of March 22. Mr. Piche and Lewis County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Brittany Davis intervened on the company’s behalf. Empire State Development clarified that QubicaAMF Worldwide could receive a waiver to make use of the lumber it had so it wouldn’t rot while sitting outside.
“We’re a wood products company, and you can’t leave that wood outside for an extended period of time,” Wayne White, vice president and general manager of the pins division, said in the Times article. “We’re very grateful we were allowed to continue to operate.”
“The materials in the yard are worth over $300,000, according to Mr. White. And while they would not necessarily have lost it all, the combination of weather conditions and the amount of time the COVID-19 crisis may continue are big unknowns that could have resulted in big losses if the special designation hadn’t come through,” the Times reported. “Because [Qubica/AMF Worldwide] was not eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program, the company has had to furlough some people but it could have been worse, Mr. White said. At this time, the company has limited its manufacturing to process the wood only to the point that it can be brought in from outside and to complete pins for orders as they come are placed with the company.”
Allowing Qubica/AMF Worldwide to make use of this lumber before it rotted was a sensible decision on the part of the state. Forcing this material to remain outside would have been a waste. We commend ESD and Lewis County authorities for working collaboratively to successfully resolve this issue.