SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) — Since the 1950s, Playland Arcade has been a Santa Monica Pier staple.
“We had the carousel, we had archery next door, then the beach comber,” Marlene Gordon, one of the arcade’s owners, said. “We had kiddie rids in the middle between that open space.”
Eventually, sisters Marlene and Joanie took over the family business along with their nieces Monique and Dana. But now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the iconic business is in danger of closing for good.
“We’ve been closed since March 15, and obviously, financially, it’s been devastating because there are still bills to be paid,” Joanie said.
The sisters thought the initial closure would last just a few weeks and invested thousands of dollars on extra safety measures like socially distant floor markers, thermometers and hand sanitizer dispensers.
“We could definitely limit the amount of people where it’s 25% or whatever they mandate,” Joanie said. “And we planned to turn off every other machine or, if need be, every couple machines so people would be six feet apart.”
The sisters also said the arcade had better airflow than most indoor attractions with the front and back completely open.
And with bills piling up — including months of back rent — Marlene and Joanie are begging the city to let them reopen, because they don’t know how much longer they can keep falling deeper into debt.
The city of Santa Monica did not immediately return a request for comment.
“It’s just a legacy I do not want to lose,” Marlene said. “I want it in our lives forever.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of day-to-day operations.