Couple opens family-friendly entertainment business in Durand

HQ Fun Bunker owners Steve and Melanie Pratt are showin in this Thursday photo.

DURAND —There’s a new family-friendly entertainment venue open in Durand and its owners have a lot of ideas for how to keep area residents entertained.

HQ Fun Bunker has been open for about a week, and will continue to add a wide variety of entertainment activities, according to owners Steve and Melanie Pratt.

The business is located in the old Durand Lanes bowling alley, which closed in 2016. Thus far the kitchen, the restaurant called the Tiger Shark Cafe, and most of the bowling alleys are up and running. The Tiger Shark Cafe has traditional alley fare, like burgers and fries and also features a southern infused cuisine.

The Pratts have plans to make the HQ Fun Bunker more than just a bowling alley and are already in the process of making that happen.

They are planning to turn one or two or the bowling lanes into “fowling” lanes. Fowling is a mix between football and bowling where a player will throw a football to try to knock down pins. They also plan to convert some of the old lanes into a space for ax throwing. Both activities have become very popular recently. They are hoping that these two activities are ready by sometime in the fall.

The Pratts are also in the process of building several “escape rooms,” where participants will have to solve riddles and go through a maze to “escape” from a room.

The venue also has more traditional arcade games and jumbo-sized Jenga and connect four games. They are setting aside a place for cornhole as well, and plan on hosting tournaments.

The Pratts, who have been married for 19 years, met while both were serving in the Army overseas in Kuwait. He was a medic and she worked in supply.

After serving overseas the couple settled down in Michigan. Melanie is originally from Alabama.

Steve said that he was working as a medical assistant. He said that one day, he woke up and realized that he was burned out from everything, and that’s when he decided it was time for a change in his life — and not just in his career.

“I woke up one morning and said I’m done doing this. I started my road down children’s ministry. We did vacation Bible schools and went to prisons all over the midwest,” he said.

Steve Pratt said that while there are no religious teachings or anything like that at HQ Fun Bunker, it is definitely a faith-based business which is why the two decided to not serve alcohol, like the old bowling alley did.

“We wanted to be faith-based because people are hurting right now. I think it’s important because people need help and somewhere to come with their families and be entertained. They want to not have to rely on the television or their phones. We want to give customers a quality interactive environment where they can come and socialize and do things with their family to make memories,” he added.

“We dedicated our life back to Christ about eight years ago. We didn’t like the way we were headed and with five children in our home, we wanted to make sure we were impacting them positively so we joined a local church and started becoming more active,” Melanie Pratt said.

The two also operate HQ Vigilante, a food truck that, among other things, has traveled the country giving out meals to those in need. It is stocked with Melanie’s “southern infused cuisine” which consists of a lot of flour wrapped tortilla offerings.

According to the Pratts, the former bowling alley only had eight working bowling lanes. It was important to them to be able to host the Durand and Byron High School bowling teams at their new facility, something that requires at least 10 operating lanes per high school athletics regulations. They have had work done on several lanes and anticipate the return of the two schools’ bowling teams in the fall.

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