74°F
weather icon Clear

Bowling alley owners’ efforts delight community

Boulder Bowl’s newest owners say they scored pretty high with their move to Boulder City and purchase of the historic bowling alley.

Boulder Bowl, which first opened in 1947, was purchased by California couple Diana and Lonnie Cavins in May 2012.

“I love this town,” Diana Cavins said. “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else now.”

The couple said their plans to increase the bowling alley’s popularity by reaching out to local youths, extending bowling hours and investing in the facility have succeeded. Over the summer, Boulder Bowl participated in a national program called Kids Bowl Free.The program gives students two free games every day during the summer and allows teachers to apply for grants that pay for classroom supplies.

Boulder Bowl is Southern Nevada’s only privately owned stand-alone bowling center and the only bowling alley that participated in the program. Other bowling alleys are connected to large hotel-casinos or smaller casino-bars.

“It’s a very expensive program for (Boulder Bowl) to run for the benefit of the kids,” said Don Smale, a local bowler who assists with Boulder Bowl’s marketing efforts.

But Smale, who also coaches a youth bowling club at Boulder Bowl, said the Cavinses have been “ridiculously” supportive of youth bowling. When he approached them in the summer of 2012 to ask about starting a club, the new owners not only supported the club, but offered to give the kids a special rate of $5 for two hours of bowling. In the year since his club began, Smale said it has tripled in size from four bowlers to 12.

“We actually had so many kids showing up (today) I couldn’t get to all the kids,” Smale said Friday after a club meeting. “Lonnie was out there helping, too. All hands on deck.”

Teagan Smale, Don Smale’s son, was Boulder City High School’s top bowler at the state championships in February. The sophomore, who bowls at Boulder Bowl two to three times a week, said the Cavinses have encouraged his bowling “very much.”

“They’re some of the nicest people I know,” he said.

The Cavinses, on the other hand, are enthusiastic about what the next generation has to offer.

“We got some really good high schoolers, where if they stay at it, they’ll be professional,” Lonnie Cavins said.

Since taking over, the couple also extended the bowling alley’s hours; it’s now open 12 hours a day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

“We try to keep it open as much as we can,” Lonnie Cavins said.

Landlord Charles “Pepper” Coombes said he is pleased with the effort the Cavinses have put into the business.

“These guys put a lot of effort into it. Their open bowling is a lot more hours … and you can see a result,” Coombes said. “Almost every Saturday it’s hard to bowl because they’ve got a party, which is what it’s supposed to be. And that’s a good deal.”

In 2011, with the former bowling alley owners Steve and Chris Osborne planning to retire and close the bowling alley, Coombes purchased the building from its Reno-based owner for $200,000 and worked out a deal that would keep the lanes open until a new operator was found. Coombes, who frequented the bowling alley as a teen, said in 2011 that his only motivation was to keep the historic bowling alley open, because if it closed he felt there would never be another bowling alley in town again.

The Cavinses’ passion for the bowling alley is born out of their passion for the sport. Diana Cavins has been bowling for nearly 50 years, and her husband managed two pro shops in California. Since buying the business, they have put their “heart and soul into it,” Diana Cavins said.

They’ve also put their money into it, investing more than $50,000 in improvements including disco lighting and new lanes.

The couple said they’ll never make back the amount of money they have invested in the facility, but they still call the venture a success.

“We gave up a lot to come here. We didn’t come here to fail. That was not an option,” Lonnie Cavins said.

Reporter Jack Johnson can be reached at jjohnson@bouldercityreview.com or 702-586-9401. Follow on Twitter: BCReview.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Council OKs expanded solar lease

More money is coming to the city’s coffers as council members recently approved adding land to a lease option held by Silver Peak Solar LLC.

City staff target of unemployment fraud

Fraudulent unemployment claims were recently filed against some city employees, but they were not caused by a breach of the city’s or the state’s computer systems, according to officials.

City files motion to dismiss open meeting law violation claims

A new motion to dismiss some of the claims in an Eighth District Court case against the city has been filed, and a hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 5.

Show of Support

Celia Shortt Goodyear/Boulder City Review

Business Beat: Comic store to move downtown

A small business is taking a big step forward and moving into a new location in downtown Boulder City.

Meeting to discuss city attorney canceled due to improper notice

A special meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 22, to discuss firing City Attorney Steve Morris was canceled because the process server did not give him proper notice of the meeting, despite initially saying he did.

Risk of water shortages projected

An increased risk of potential water shortages in the Colorado River Basin is expected for the next five years, according to projections released earlier this week by the Bureau of Reclamation.

Grant program to aid small businesses

Boulder City has a new grant program to help its small businesses and residents weather through the COVID-19 storm.

Survey reveals fewer ‘historic’ properties

Boulder City will not lose its spot on the National Register of Historic Places even though it no longer has enough contributing properties in the historic area.

Program reimburses families for missed school meals

Students in Boulder City may receive money to pay for meals they missed out at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.