Akron Lanes closes, for sale

Posted April 26, 2017 at 4:06 pm

By Julie Ann Madden

Five years ago, he came to Akron to fulfill his dream of owning a business.

But April 20, Tim Lovrien officially closed the doors of Akron’s bowling alley.

“It’s been a good road,” Lovrien told The Akron Hometowner as he took a few moments from working to prepare the Akron Lanes property for another owner. “Every year it’s increased in sales.”

It’s been fun improving the business, he said. “When I started out, the lanes were terrible for guys to bowl on and as years progressed, I learned to make the lanes better for them to get better scores.”

“I think I did pretty good,” said Lovrien, noting one bowler achieved two 300 perfect score games and a couple others had 700 series during his five years of ownership. “That’s really good for averages so I must have done something right.”

Lovrien, himself, started out as a “redneck bowler” when he took ownership.

“I had such a low average,” said Lovrien, explaining then he got a new bowling ball. “They can call it sandbagging or whatever but everyone knows I went from a terrible bowler to not too bad of a bowler. They think you practice all the time but I didn’t. I just understood what I needed to do and no one had told me that before.”

Lovrien expanded the business by opening an outdoor social garden in the adjacent vacant lot.

“It didn’t go as good as I thought,” he said, noting it was more of a place for customers to go out and smoke cigarettes than an outdoor bar. “This summer it may have been a totally different situation with no other bars in town.”

“I never thought I’d fill the bowling alley up with customers on Friday nights,” said Lovrien. “When I first opened up, I was the first one to close on main street. Last year before the other two bars closed, I was, not always but most of the time, the last one to close on main street.”

“I was planning on retiring from this business,” said Lovrien. “When the situations happened with my son and my wife, it kind of threw a big rock in it. It’s too bad certain people have the authority they do to get by with what they do.”

Last year the Lovriens sold their home in Akron and moved to Sioux City — a much better environment for the family.

“I wasn’t even going to open up (Akron Lanes) this year,” said Lovrien who put the bowling alley up for sale last year, “but I felt I owed it to my bowlers.”

The 2016-2017 bowling season ended April 20 — his final day of operation.

There’s been some people interested in purchasing the bowling alley but it’s down to one prospective buyer at this point.

He’s been disappointed that some have offered to purchase it for what he paid for the business.

“People have no idea what kind of money I put into this to make it do what it did,” said Lovrien, adding that if there isn’t a serious offer on the table by this fall, he’ll strip the 48’ x 132’ building with an 8’ x 8’ attached storage area. “It’s 6,400 square feet of space. Because it’s long, you don’t realize it’s that big.”

“No one realizes the size — they just see a bowling alley,” he said. “It would make a great dance studio.”

“There are a lot of places this could expand yet that hasn’t been touched,” said Lovrien. “It’s time to start something new in here.”

Lovrien begins work at Bo Dean’s in Le Mars soon.

Would he consider owning another business?

“If you had no kids, yes,” said Lovrien. “You have to put in way too many hours. If you want it to work, you have to be here. You can’t expect someone else to do it for you — unless you find the right person.”

He believes he found that person, Mat Garza, but it was too late — maybe if Matt had come a year earlier.

“I want to thank (previous owners) Garry and Cheryl Jacobson,” said Lovrien. “Garry never had to do what he did for me — he did a lot more than was expected (in showing me the ropes) and so did Cheryl.”

“I’d like to thank Peggy Lilly for putting in the time and being the (bowling league secretary),” he said. “There is a lot of stuff she does that nobody realizes. This place wouldn’t be the way it was without her.”

“I’d also like to thank Pat Clark for helping out in certain situations,” said Lovrien, “and David Groves, the computer guru, for help with all the computer stuff.”

“And I want to thank all my help,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I was at without my help. If you don’t have good staff, you have nothing.”

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