Kendale Bowling Lanes rolls on under new owner

Aug. 20, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

After decades of ownership by the same family, Kendale Bowling Lanes has been sold.

Glenn Edwards, who started working at Kendale when his father-in-law, the late Rex McLeod, bought it in 1984, had owned the business since 2006. But Edwards said that with his own retirement impending, and McLeod’s death in 2011 still weighing heavily, it was time to sell.

“It’s sad,” the 62-year-old Edwards said. “I assume that sometime I’m going to feel better about it. It just hasn’t started yet. It’s still kind of depressing.”

About a year ago, Edwards said, he started seriously discussing the sale with Kay Choosakul, a Moore County man whom Edwards said had expressed interest in buying the place several years back. The paperwork was finalized in early August; since then Edwards has been cleaning pictures, cards and papers out his office as Choosakul starts moving in.

“It’s always been a long dream of mine, owning a bowling center,” Choosakul said. “It’s a dream come true, and I’ve been here seven days a week now.”

Choosakul said some things will stay the same — the name, for instance — but there will be changes. His first goals are to increase the quality of the lanes and other integral parts of the bowling experience, he said, in addition to bringing in some new features.

The plans include a revamped bar and lounge with karaoke and live music several nights a week, he said, and he’s also hoping to drum up participation in league play. Choosakul added that he’s trying to set up a new business league, with teams formed from companies around Lee County. Three teams have signed up so far, he said, but he wants more.

League play at the business, located at 139 Rand St., has been in decline as newer bowling alleys have opened up in the area, Choosakul said. He admits he was a part of that exodus himself, having last bowled at Kendale Lanes in 2003 because he preferred the more up-to-date facilities elsewhere. But he said he thinks he can bring Kendale back into the limelight.

“I haven’t gotten it to where I want it yet, but it’s getting there,” Choosakul said.

Edwards said he has offered to help Choosakul with anything that needs doing — just like he said McLeod, a former Sanford mayor, did for him after his own retirement — but either way, he hopes the changes will be for the better.

“I’ve seen him doing some good things, and that’s what we want to see,” Edwards said. “It’s OK if they’re not the same — as long as it’s good or better. And they’ve got some good ideas. [Choosakul] really loves to bowl, if that means anything.”

Edwards said he’s looking forward to more free time and less stress, and his wife is probably looking forward to all the work he’ll be able to do outside and around the house. But that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to just walk away.

“Of course you have good memories, and then you have customers who are just hell on wheels,” he said. “... But those things are not the things that I’m remembering now. I’m remembering the kids and the good times, and the kids that have grown up and brought their own kids.”

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