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Success Stories

Rural Development is Rolling Strikes in North Carolina

Robert Kerns
Rural Development
(L-R)Jimmy Askey, Pondra and Eddie Byrd with their daughter Melanie Campbell have worked to give Johnston County residents a safe place for family and fun since 1997.

USDA is helping Rural America reconnect through internet and become safer through the purchase of fire safety equipment throughout the country. It is also helping families make memories and share a connection through fellowship and fun. 

When the Byrd family built and opened Rainbow Lanes there wasn’t much around their secluded corner of Johnston County in 1997. They were literally the only game in town with 32 lanes of family fun. Fast-forward 25 years and the this locally owned staple needed updates to their systems to keep them competitive with a new generation of kids who were just as happy to share an online game with friends and family instead of spending the night out.  

“We have struggled through the years,” said Rainbow Lanes co-owner Pondra Byrd. “We have a very good business, but it has not been an easy business.”

The family business had stayed afloat through the Great Recession but had to upkeep aside to survive.By 2015 Rainbow Lanes was known as a cheap place to bowl due to the dated systems in place, according to Byrd. Their financial institution made the family aware of the USDA Rural Development Business Industry Loan Guarantee Program. With this of assistance of a $2.1 million loan from USDA RD Rainbow Lanes modernized a classic game and made it more exciting for younger audiences.

“We already had an electronic scoring system but it’s nothing like the one we have now,” said Byrd “With the help of USDA our system now has animation, communication systems between lanes and the capability to raise and lower bumpers with the touch of a button.”

Rural Development’s assistance also helped to refurbish their ball return system that was part of the original install of systems.

“Thanks to USDA were no longer in the Dark Ages and we are actually ahead on our payments for the first time,” said Byrd.

Obligation Amount:
$2.1 million
Date of Obligation:
May 29, 2020
Congressional District:
NC-07 David Rouzer