by Julie Ann Madden
“It was the scariest day of my life,” said new Akron Lanes owner Tim Lovrien of Akron.
It wasn’t Halloween — it was the first day of operating a business for the first time.
Lovrien and his wife, Amie, purchased the Akron bowling alley from long-time owners Cheryl and Garry Jacobson earlier this summer.
Lovrien credited their first employee, Mercedes Barnes, who had worked for the Jacobsons with being their savior as she turned in her job application just hours before they opened on Sept. 14.
He also credits Garry Jacobson who willingly and generously mentors the Lovriens as they begin this new entrepreneurial journey.
“I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to do something like this — a bar-restaurant,” said Lovrien, “but never thought we would.”
“My wife said no bar,” he told The Akron Hometowner, “but a bowling alley is more of a social gathering place.”
That’s what he plans to do — create an atmosphere for customers far and near.
In addition to offering bowling, the Lovriens have many ideas for their new business, including an expanded dining menu using recipes from Amie’s grandfather who had owned and operated “Ott’s Tavern in Yankton, S.D., and Lovrien hopes to create his own burger specialty.
They also plan to create a summer beer garden with adjacent volleyball and dodgeball courts in the vacant lot to the east of the bowling alley. Another of their ideas is to possibly host dances with jute box music and possibly live band performances. Another possibility is a game area for children, along with darts and pool leagues for adults.
The possibilities are endless but the Lovriens are taking it one step at a time.
First, the Lovriens are marking their ownership on the bowling alley. Patrons will immediately notice the food preparation area and bar-like counter have received some updates. The women’s rest room has also been remodeled.
The Lovriens still sell soft drinks, beer and wine. In addition, they are selling hard liquor, something that wasn’t offered at Akron Lanes before.
Their first goal was to get the bowling lanes open for patrons. Recently, leagues have begun their annual season of bowling.
There are five leagues — all with room for more teams of bowlers:
• Coffee League, Tuesday afternoons;
• Men’s League, Tuesday nights;
• Women’s League, Wednesday nights;
• Men’s League, Thursday nights; and
• Couples’ League, Sunday nights.
Teams consist of four bowlers each and one alternate bowler per team. To join a league, contact Lovrien at the bowling alley, 568-3116.
When there isn’t league bowling, the bowling alley has “open” bowling for all ages.
They also invite people to have birthday parties and family and class reunions at Akron Lanes.
Akron Lanes is open Tuesday through Sunday from 3:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. It’s closed on Mondays.
The Lovriens main goal right now is to improve the building’s energy efficiencies by installing a new roof and water heater, insulating the attic, and updating the electrical system. One of their future projects is furnace replacement.
Lovrien is glad to be at “home.” He graduated from West Sioux High School in 1987 and served four years in the U.S. Navy before returning “home.”
For the past 20 years, Lovrien has worked at Well’s Dairy Inc. in Le Mars.
“I needed to do something different,” said Lovrien, who checked out area bowling alleys when this one became available.
“I’m pleased with how well the business has done in its first couple weeks of operation,” said Lovrien, adding he’s glad of the community’s support as he learns the ropes of operating a bowling alley.