BUCKHANNON – A new business will soon have patrons knocking down pins – and with any luck – throwing some strikes as well.
Woody’s Bowling Center will open to the public Saturday, Nov. 10 following several months of renovations and updates by owners Ron and Cemantha Woody.
The Woodys purchased the former Buckhannon Lanes, operated as a family business for 56 years, and have now made it their own family business that they hope to offer more for the youth in the community.
“The Archer family originally built the bowling alley in 1962,” Cemantha Woody said. “The Archer sisters and their husbands, Judy and Kyle Lane and Barbara and Gary Robinson, then purchased the property from the girls’
parents in 1974.”
Last year, the Woodys began bowling regularly with friends on the weekends and enjoyed their experience so much that it led to a business opportunity.
“We were joking around with Kyle one night about whether the family would ever sell the business,” she said.
As it turns out, the family was in talks to retire from the bowling business and the Woody’s conversation was very timely.
“We had a meeting with them in November of last year,” she said. “They gave us the price and the details and we started working on it.”
From there, the Woodys worked with small business coach Susie Higgins to put their business plan together.
The property purchase closed in August and renovations began that week.
“As the parent of a 13-year-old, I know there is not much here for the kids to do outside of sports,” she said. “There are few indoor activities if the weather is bad. I hear that a lot in our small community. I want to make this very family friendly, a place for kids and families to be able to come to.”
When it came to renovations, the Woodys are redoing the entrance and the interior with a nod to the past but also an eye to the technology available now.
“We have updated to the new Brunswick Sync system with touchscreen scoring and monitors,” she said.
Each of the lanes has the system with the scores able to be seen by monitors overhead. The lanes themselves will keep some of the original character with the chairs and floor remaining the same.
The entrance is being redone with a new layout, more arcade machines and some new furnishings that patrons of another establishment may recognize.
As the Woodys were beginning their planning for the interior redesign, a Fairmont establishment, Valley Worlds of Fun, closed and sold most of its property through an online auction.
“All of these tables, the ball racks, even those booths came from Valley Worlds of Fun,” she said.
A more open layout – starting with removing the drop ceiling and leaving the beams exposed – gives the feeling of a larger space.
Another tribute to the past will be a trophy case that is being refinished to showcase memorabilia from Buckhannon Lanes.
Patrons will also recognize the menu from Buckhannon Lanes with many similar items.
And when they come up to the counter, customers will sit at the same bar stools.
Need to call? It’s the same number – 304-472-5070.
“The phone number stayed the same,” she said. “It’s been the same for 56 years. We might as well keep it the same.”
League bowling will be returning to Woody’s Bowling Center with the opening as well.
The grand opening celebration is set for Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 22 Vicksburg Rd. Regular hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Woody’s Bowling Center graphic was designed by another local business, Sunset Graphics.
The Woodys also found a way to support local youth in the designing of their business.
“We are working with the Buckhannon-Upshur High School digital imaging class,” she said. “They designed our flyer, our menu and are doing some other advertising for us.
“We wanted to do this for our community and for the youth, so I’m very happy to be working with them at the high school,” she said.