Guam franchisee: "It is sad to close Chuck E. Cheese'

CLOSING DOORS: Chuck E. Cheese's on Guam, shown on Tuesday, is closing its doors for good after having decided not to renew its lease with Guam Premier Outlets in Tamuning. Its last day of operation is in October – the month of its 10-year anniversary on island. Kevin Milan/The Guam Daily Post

Chuck E. Cheese's, a food and arcade destination, is closing its doors for good in October, after 10 years on Guam, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic's challenges.

"It is sad to close Chuck E. Cheese. There is nothing like it here," GFS Group Vice President David Alcorn told The Guam Daily Post on Monday night. GFS Group partly owns the franchise.

Alcorn said the last day of Chuck E. Cheese's operation is Oct. 18, and the closure falls during the month of its 10th anniversary on island.

Chuck E. Cheese's lease at Guam Premier Outlets in Tamuning expires on Oct. 31 and a lease termination notice was received, according to GPO General Manager Monte Mesa.

"We have been discussing this unfortunate global COVID-19 pandemic event, which has affected all local businesses as well," Mesa said, adding that the pandemic has changed GPO tenants' business models dramatically.

Chuck E. Cheese's was having a good year, Alcorn said, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which forced it to close temporarily. It was allowed to reopen on a limited basis in June, before another lockdown was ordered.

While Chuck E. Cheese's explored its options, it was ultimately a decision about whether hygiene practices of children would live up to health and safety expectations during a pandemic.

"Absolutely, 100%, the closure is because of COVID," Alcorn said.

Chuck E. Cheese's also announced its closure on social media, which immediately drew reactions from families who shared their fun and fond memories at the establishment.

"This is truly saddening but we've had so many awesome memories throughout the years with you guys," one of the customers said.

Another posted: "Thank you for the memories. My kids had the greatest birthdays. Thank you for the service."

Mesa said GPO is continuing discussions with other national retailers who are poised to grow their respective retail businesses post-COVID-19, "hopefully in 2021."

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"We also have some options for potential local businesses to consider utilizing this particular building at approximately 15,000 square feet of space as an alternative option in the meantime," he said. "We are hopeful and optimistic to have a new national retail tenant or maybe a local-owned business occupying the building by next year, 2021."

With weeks to go before Chuck E. Cheese's closure, it said it intends to keep the party going with ticket and token redemption deals, as well as specials on customers' favorite pizza, and party packages for families to celebrate with Chuck E. Cheese's in their own homes.

"It definitely is a great spot for kids and families, and a great value to all customers," Alcorn said. 

The parent company of Chuck E. Cheese's announced its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in June in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chuck E. Cheese's is the latest in a growing list of businesses on Guam to permanently close because of COVID-19, including Forever 21.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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