The Adel Family Fun Center: Engaging the community

During National Small Business Week, Small Business Majority is recognizing small business owners who strive to give back to their communities. Bryce Smith, owner of the Adel Family Fun Center in Adel, Iowa, is certainly one of them.

The Adel Family Fun Center has been a beloved Iowa bowling alley and bar and grill since 1960. Smith always enjoyed spending time there, and even began working there in high school. After college, he returned home in 2014 to discover the owner wanted to retire. Smith soon purchased the bowling alley, becoming a business owner at the age of 23. While the business was successful, it wasn’t easy becoming a business owner so young.

“I graduated college with debt, which made it hard to secure a loan for an existing business,” said Smith. “Student debt can be a big challenge for young entrepreneurs. The hardest part was trying to find an institution that would lend to me despite my debt.”

As someone who has firsthand experience with how hard it can be to get started in business young, Smith has focused on offering opportunities to other young people. Most of the jobs Smith offers are for younger people, or those who are high school-aged, who can use the opportunity to get their feet wet and learn skills that will be useful to them later on. He also works with youth training community programs.

“I’m working with the local school district to develop an internship job shadow that offers 4-8 hours of work. I also do a similar program for mentally disabled individuals to get these people out in the community,” said Smith. “These two programs not only help my business, but also allow me to give back to my community. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The Adel Family Fun Center has been an Iowa institution for decades, and with tenacious and community-minded owners like Smith, it isn’t hard to see why. During National Small Business Week, it’s a great time to think about small business owners like Smith and how they can help their communities.

Small Business Profile