From D&B Strategic Marketing
Chelsea Lanes is among the oldest family-run businesses in Chelsea. The GreenLeaf family has helped countless people, organizations, businesses, and schools during their tenure of owning and operating Chelsea Lanes since 1959.
Chelsea Lanes, alongside restaurants and bars, has been severely challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. When Rick Taylor stepped up and sponsored the Chelsea High School Bowling Team, his generosity was met with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation. Eddie GreenLeaf, owner and manager of Chelsea Lanes, commented that “Rick Taylor has consistently and graciously been our top business sponsor over the years. His financial assistance has helped with bus transportation for away meets, lane time, and league fees. He has helped to defray costs for parents making this sport work within their budgets.” Bowling, along with a few other field sports, does not receive funding from the High School. It is a self-funded varsity sport that follows all of the Chelsea High School requirements including eligibility, physicals, and student grades.
“It is an honor to help Chelsea Lanes for all that they have done and continue to do for our community,” said Taylor. The support Taylor refers to includes Eddie GreenLeaf’s 18 years of coaching the Chelsea High School bowling team, known as the BOWLdogs. Chelsea Lanes also provides lane time and rentals to St. Louis Center residents.
Another excellent example of GreeLeaf’s commitment to the sport and community is Tyler Baxter. Baxter, a graduate of Chelsea High School’s Independence Hall, went to Abu Dhabi two years ago and competed in the World Special Olympics, winning several medals, including Gold, Bronze & Silver. GreenLeaf was his coach, Chelsea Lanes provided equipment and is one of Tyler’s biggest fans! His accomplishments are proudly displayed on a banner over the lanes that says ‘Home of Tyler Baxter.’
The program that Taylor sponsored is the “GreenLeaf Ringe Scholarship.” A Thursday night men’s league scholarship program for youth bowlers. Many of the kids in this program reached pinnacles in their careers. Examples include the recent participation of six high school bowlers in the regional bowing competition. The BOWLdogs Chelsea High School team ended up with four out of ten qualifying bowlers at 2020 State Finals. “These kids are good,” observed Taylor, “Three students in this program are playing at the college level. Go BOWLdogs!!
During a break in Wednesday night practice, Rick displayed sportsmanship and a light-hearted approach to throwing his first ball in 8 years - leaving only 3 pins standing!
Testament to the caliber of training provided by Chelsea Lanes is embodied in Jaylen Watesen who will be bowling on a scholarship for the Michigan Wolverines at U of M Dearborn. And Trevor Ramsey, a 2019 graduate, who will be bowling for Wisconsin Whitewater, a historic bowling program that captured the 2019 National Championship. These two athletes will be joining Chelsea Lanes’ college bowlers as part of the Chelsea High School alumni this spring.
Chelsea Lanes closed March 16, 2020, and reopened in early September only to be shut down again mid-November. They reopened on December 21, operating at a low-key level; they cannot serve food and beverages or offer league bowling due to lane occupancy restrictions, and state regulation that bowlers must be from the same household. However, GreenLeaf is optimistic about the future; “with local support like Rick Taylor’s, we have a good plan with bowling during the day and being more creative to keep things engaging and fun for our league bowlers. We are looking at bits of normalcy coming back.”
This season the Chelsea High School boys team are in the position of defending SEC Champs. However, the pandemic has caused a decline in numbers. Past seasons have 30-35 kids upwards to 50, now decreased to 22 kids as the season is just getting started.
Anyone interested in learning more or donating to the Chelsea High School Bowling Team can reach out to Eddie GreenLeaf at (734) 417- 5153 or email @firstname.lastname@example.org.