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Bowling center owners back in business
Click here to see more photos of the rennovations.
Jerry and Nancy Thomas got the keys to Inca Lanes on July 25 and it's been a push since then to renovate their property so the bowling center could reopen Monday just in time for the start of fall leagues.
As she oversaw finishing touches Friday and addressed a myriad of last-minute issues, Nancy Thomas said she never thought she would be anything but a landlord for the bowling center after AMF took over its operation 14 years ago.
But the hugs she gets from bowlers who stop by to check on the progress make it worthwhile. And, she had to admit, it's been fun to hear how excited they are that the bowling center is being reopened after getting an intensive makeover.
“We've been on the roof. We took the parking lot down to the gravel, and the building has been repainted inside and out,” she said. “We put in new doors and we have new scoring equipment — the newest and most modern equipment we could buy.”
The inside got a more open look with tables and chairs for seating in alignment with the new nationwide trend in bowling centers, shiny new stainless steel kitchen equipment and new LCD TV screens.
Throughout the fast-paced project, Nancy Thomas said, the subcontractors “have been wonderful. They all stopped what they were doing and made sure we were taken care of.”
On Friday, murals created just for Inca Lanes that depict desert scenes were being installed on the wall behind the pins.
Meanwhile, some avid bowlers came by to give the refurbished lanes and new scoring equipment a trial run.
“I love this place,” Tom Sanderson told Nancy Thomas after he and Russ Herbert bowled three games. And he promised to be back for the opening.
“I've been monitoring the place as it was refurbished,” said Herbert. “I really appreciate them fixing it up and reopening it.”
Cathy Franklin, who managed the bowling center as AMF Inca Lanes from 1998 until a few months before AMF vacated the property, has returned as the bowling center's general manager.
Alan Lewis, the new assistant manager, formerly was a scratch league bowler at Inca Lanes. The mechanics of the center are taken care of by Bob Adams, a 25-year employee at Inca Lanes.
About 20 other employees, all local people, round out the staff.
Inca Lanes, 1250 W. 16th St., was built in 1987 by a group of local investors who included the Thomases. Through the years, Jerry and Nancy Thomas became the sole owners and she managed the center for three years until AMF Bowling Centers Inc. took over and operated it for 14 years.
In July, AMF abruptly closed the center and locked the doors. The Thomas family quickly decided to reopen as soon as possible.
“We couldn't leave another big box empty,” Nancy Thomas said. “Absolutely, we had to do this. It was the right thing to do. The bowlers need it.”
Added Jerry Thomas, “Having Inca Lanes back in our daily lives was certainly a surprise, but a welcome one. We are hearing daily from anxious bowlers, both from Yuma and our visitors from up north, and are excited to welcome them all back.”
The bowling center will be open for business at 10 a.m. Monday. For more information, call 782-4622.