A tough decision
Crook’s Lanes and Lounge owner-manager Virgil Lemar said shutting down the bowling lanes wasn’t a pleasant decision to make, but it it was one that had to be made in the best interest of the business.
“Its a real competitive market right now (for bars and restaurants) to attract customers,” Lemar said.
The hefty expense to heat the six-lane alley and the cost and difficulty in maintaining 50-plus-year-old equipment in the lanes was simply too much, he said. Additionally, the lanes have seen revenue decline as the number of teams participating has dwindled.
News of Crook’s decision to not open the lanes was disappointing to local bowlers, especially the reality that 50 consecutive years of organized bowling league play coming to an end. Many indicated they would go out of town to bowl.
Lemar appreciated the support from the teams who participated over the years, including the food and beverage business, but said teams only wanted to take part in a 20-week league – and primarily in the winter months.
That’s not a long enough of a season, Lemar said to generate the needed revenue to offset the costs to run the lanes, namely heating the building. He said bowling lanes in other towns require leagues to play up to 36 weeks.
While the number of bowlers has steadily decreased, fortunately, the advent of dart leagues has helped business, such as Crook’s Lounge, and the activity doesn’t require any costs for maintenance, Lemar notes.
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