An opportunity is available for a serious or professional bowler to take over a staple in the Waverly community.
The Horak family has placed the Waverly Bowl Inn up for sale through the Fischels Group, after around three decades. They hope that whoever takes over the 12-lane facility will keep it as a bowling center.
Joe Horak said his father is nearing 90 years old, and it’s time to hand off the Bowl Inn to the next generation.
“I remember Dad playing in leagues when I was growing up in Cedar Rapids,” Joe told Waverly Newspapers. “We then moved to Independence in 1979, when he bought the Lucky 10 Lanes.”
A few years later, his parents sold the Lucky 10 and moved to Waterloo, where Horak’s father started an amusement company that sold and rented pinball machines. It was during that time Horak’s father met Adrian Erickson, then the owner of the Electric Park Bowl Inn, which was located next to the still-standing Electric Park Ballroom.
In the early 1980s, the elder Horak and Erickson went together and bought Cadillac Lanes across town, followed by Pla-Mor Lanes in Iowa Falls and then the Waverly Bowl Inn. Erickson then closed down the Electric Park center, but the ballroom remains open to this day, operated by the National Cattle Congress.
Joe Horak said his father sold Cadillac Lanes, now known as Cadillac XBC, or Extreme Bowling Center, a few years ago, and recently sold off Pla-Mor.
According to the listing on the Fischels Group website, the Bowl Inn is 12,900 square feet sitting on a 1.1-acre lot. It is a “well maintained and very clean” bowling center and that the Horaks are “selling the real estate and the business.”
Among the amenities are an open floor plan, a restaurant and bar with “plenty of room for food prep and a walk-in cooler,” an arcade with a pool table and touch-screen jukebox, and lockers. The list price of the Bowl Inn is $355,000.
Horak said he hopes that whoever buys the Bowl Inn meets three criteria.
“A, they must have a love for the game,” he said. “B, they must be able to connect with people to succeed, and three, they must be diligent with building the sport back up, maybe not to the level of the 80s and 90s but continue it into the next generation.”
He added that bowling centers in smaller towns like Waverly have evolved into community centers.
“On a Friday or Saturday night, you see people having fun playing,” he said. “I’d like to see kids grow up with the sport with the Saturday afternoon junior leagues.”
Joe said that owning a bowling center revolves back to the people, and he recalled when his father owned Cadillac, he would walk along the head of the lanes, starting at No. 1 and go across all 50 lanes shaking everyone’s hand.
“It’s one of those basic commitments to come into the business being interested in being with people,” Horak said. “After no so long, one would build a respect there to be a part of the sport, or have the people relax and think of it as entertainment.”
He feels that the Bowl Inn could have a long-lasting future depending on who ends up buying it.
“They would need to interact with the community and also keep the youth program strong,” Joe said. “It can continue to build.”