Juneauites won’t have to strike out to find a new place to bowl.
Taku Lanes has closed, but PINZ is now operating in the building that houses a bowling alley on Willoughby Ave.
“I’ve been bowling since the early ’80s,” said Robert Petersen, co-owner of PINZ, in an interview with the Juneau Empire. “I want to keep it clean and keep it open so people can bowl. The bowling alley is my therapy.”
Petersen said he is leasing the building and bowling equipment, and the arrangement has been in place since last Saturday.
“So far, everyone’s been pretty happy that knows I took it over,” Petersen said.
Taku Lanes owner Cindy Price did not immediately return a phone call or messages seeking comment.
Sid Ellison, a local league bowler, said in a phone interview he’s definitely relieved the bowling alley remains open. Ellison said on some Friday nights the lanes are filled with as many as 50 bowlers.
“What else do you do in Juneau in the winter?” Ellison asked. “I cleaned out my locker. I didn’t know if we’d still have a bowling alley. It’s something we definitely didn’t need to lose in Juneau.”
Collegiate bowlers from Juneau, Eric Lambert and Trevor Perov, said they’re happy they still have a place to bowl while home for the summer.
Lambert bowls at Siena Heights University in Michigan and Perov bowls at Purdue University in Indiana. Both are Thunder Mountain High School graduates.
“It would’ve been a heart-breaker,” Lambert said. “We wouldn’t have had a place to practice this summer.”
Despite some local bowlers being relieved the alley is open seven days per week, Petersen said he’s seen some confusion online about whether the alley is open and what it means for people who may still have gift certificates.
“I’m honoring anything Taku Lanes had set up with anyone else,” Petersen said of a plan to accept gift certificates or other arrangements people may have had with the other business.
PINZ is open 3 p.m.-midnight Sunday through Thursday, and noon-midnight both Friday and Saturday.
“It gives me an excuse to be here every night,” Petersen said.
He also intends to try to reintroduce food, fountain drinks and alcoholic beverages to the venue. Currently, only vending machine snacks and soda are available.
“Right now it’s just a bowling alley,” Petersen said. “There’s soda pop and chips and candy.”
However, he said getting concessions setup should be a fairly fast process.
“The food will be back fairly quick,” Petersen said.
Getting to the point where people can drink beer while they bowl will likely be a different story.
Back in March, the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board denied renewal of Taku Lanes alcohol license since bowling alleys are not included in the state law that outlines the recreational places where alcohol can be sold.
Senate Bill 16 would clarify the scope of the law and likely mean a new alcohol license for the bowling alley, but first it would need to become law. At that point, PINZ would then need to apply and be approved for a license.
“You can only do things so fast,” Petersen said.
• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.