Lazy Lanes to open for summer

Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:48 pm

By Julie Ann Madden

She loves the restaurant industry and is thrilled to have the entrepreneur opportunity in Akron.

In 1993, Rachel Nelson began working at Applebee’s in Sioux City. Her main duties were as hostess and training servers.

“I couldn’t tend bar because I wasn’t tall enough to reach the (beverage) glasses,” laughed Rachel. “I pretty much did everything a manager did but I wasn’t a manager there.”

In 1997 during the development of Sioux City’s Historic Fourth Street, Rachel joined the Blue Stem, a fine dining restaurant specializing in American cuisine, wine and martinis, as the Front House Manager.

“That was my favorite job,” said Rachel. “The different types of clientele we had, learning the knowledge of wines, and doing catering.”

But in 1997, she and Akron native Don Mullinix began their family, and Rachel’s career changed to domestic engineering as a stay-at-home mom to their five children.

In 2004, the Mullinix family moved to Akron and Rachel entered the small-town workforce — first at the Akron Pizza Ranch, making pizzas under the management of Tami Small.

However, with five children, she found the logical career choice was in the two-year-old toddler room at the Akron Children’s Center — a job she had for seven years.

In 2013, Rachel took the opportunity to return to the restaurant industry at Akron Lanes, which had new owners Tim and Amie Lovrien. After two years, she returned to the Akron Pizza Ranch under the direction of Manager Kim Hansen. Her most recent position has been at Casey’s General Store.

“I’ve always had my eyes set on owning the bowling alley though,” said Rachel, “because, obviously, it’s where I want to be.”

“I love restaurant,” she said. “I love family activities, and we are a very sports-oriented family.”

Each of their children are involved in multiple extracurricular activities.

“We have a kid in every activity that goes on (at Akron-Westfield Community School),” laughed Rachel, noting it’s just not sports but speech, band and choir, too.

Since Rachel and Don announced they were the bowling alley’s new owners, the two have been working hard to make their vision a realty.

They hope to open the bowling alley Memorial Day Weekend or by the first week in June.

They have already changed the name from Akron Lanes to Lazy Lanes Bowl & Grill, said Rachel, noting they plan to have the bowling alley have a family-friendly environment.

There will be separate times for families and Adult Hours, she said. “I don’t want to intermix the two. I will be strong and stern — there will not be children allowed once it switches to evening adult time.”

There will still be men’s and women’s bowling leagues and dart leagues but there will also be kids’ leagues.

“I want to get as many kids as possible involved,” said Rachel, noting the outdoor area will be utilized, too.

She plans to host horseshoe and Corn Hole games as well as games for children such as Sand Castle Building tourneys.

“We won’t have sand volleyball or dodge ball,” said Rachel, explaining the concrete building walls along the edge of the outdoor area makes those games too dangerous.

Rachel hopes the area will also be a comfortable place for adults, especially since smoking is prohibited inside the bowling alley.

As to the food menu, it will include malts — an item she is excited to bring back to the menu.

The couple will continue to try new activities and menu items — keeping the successful ones and eliminating the others.

“The bowling alley is going to bring a lot for families as well as for young adults,” said Rachel, who is planning activities for a variety of age groups. “I want them to be able to say I have somewhere to go, have a good time and see my friends…somewhere when you wake up, you say ‘Let’s go to the Lanes tonight.’ It’ll forever be the Lanes.”

Several people have congratulated them on rescuing the bowling alley, saying “the town was dying.”

“The town never died,” said Rachel, admitting those comments tugged at her heart. “What happened was we had to shut down for a minute and reboot — we needed a little cleaning out of our computer’s tower, so to speak.”

“So now we are rebooting. We have the beautiful Lazy H Campground that is going to bring a lot of newcomers who will in turn utilize Chubs (convenience store), ClicknPick (photography), Thorson Drug (clothing and flowers), Pizza Ranch (alcoholic beverages)…from there they can come down the street and bowl a couple games and finish their night.”

“The town never died,” said Rachel, noting the rebooting was necessary. “It’s what we needed and the final straw was when Pizza Ranch closed their doors — that came back quick.”

“A little bit of patience is all we need,” she said. “We just needed a little bit of a quiet wake-up call. We all got chaotic for a few moments and didn’t know which way to go but Akron is rebooting.”

“Let’s all make sure this is a place we want to be and stay,” said Rachel, noting several people and families have moved to town recently.

She hopes they will make memories at Lazy Lanes Bowl & Grill just like others did years ago.

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