Suburban Lanes closes, Cozy Burger leaving Suburban Plaza69-year-old Johnny Worthem said he has been bowling at Suburban Lanes for 25 years. Feb. 2015. Photo by Dena Mellick
By Dena Mellick, Associate editor
Suburban Lanes Bowling Alley quietly closed its doors Sunday night. Trisha Walker, owner of Suburban Lanes, along with her husband Thomas Walker Jr., confirmed the closing in an email, saying Sunday was their last day of business.
The Walkers had petitioned to keep Suburban Lanes in Suburban Plaza, which is being redeveloped by Selig Enterprises. However, in February, they told Decaturish they had lost their lease and were looking for a buyer for the bowling alley.
When asked this week if a buyer had come forward, Trisha Walker said in an email, “there is an interested party. However, nothing has been finalized.”
Bill Stogner, Senior Vice President with Selig Enterprises, also told Decaturish, “We’re potentially working with another group to take over the bowling alley,” but he said there was not a deal yet.
On Sunday evening, about 15 people were in Suburban Lanes bowling on its final night.
Assistant manager Jaime Meredith said he was staying until the end of the night to close the bowling alley for the last time.
“I’m trying not to think about it too much. But before I lock up, I’m going to throw one last ball down there, just to say I got to bowl before we closed. That will be pretty cool,” said Meredith.
Bowler Regina Mansfield was there with a friend.
“We didn’t even know it was the last night. We just wanted to come bowl, and this is where we come,” she said. “I feel a little sad, because this is the bowling alley we know.”
Stogner previously said the developer had worked to keep the bowling alley, but a financial agreement couldn’t be reached.
The redevelopment of Suburban Plaza had a rocky start with community groups fighting the proposed Walmart, but eventually backing down.
The Walmart is now well under way, and Stogner told Decaturish it will open this fall.
He confirmed leases have been signed with other anchor tenants including Ross, Home Goods, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, and LA Fitness.
Stogner also said Moe’s and Pizza Hut are staying, along with the uniform shop and the hearing aid company. Starbucks, a nail spa, and a barber shop will be added to the center.
However, another current business won’t make it into the new development. Stogner said despite attempts to work out a deal with Cozy Burger, the restaurant will not remain in Suburban Plaza.
“I don’t think that’s going to work out, because they don’t feel that they can do the sales to be successful,” said Stogner.
Stogner said Selig is still working to bring in more retailers and businesses. He said he expected other shops would open in early 2016.