Photo by Carrie Williams
Local entrepreneurs Gary Suhr and Lonnie Parsons hope to forge a deal to buy North Platte's Cedar Bowl.Lonnie and Kelly Parsons and Gary and Chris Suhr will go before the Quality Growth Fund advisory board Friday morning to ask for financial backing to buy the Cedar Bowl.
Parsons told the Bulletin Wednesday that a purchase agreement is entirely contingent on financing. He said he would know more Friday.
If the Quality Growth Fund board approves the business plan and agrees to help financially, the next step would be to seek approval from the city council.
After 35 years of business, owner Scott Rasmussen closed the Cedar Bowl and Touchdown Club on May 6, citing financial concerns. The Cedar Bowl was constructed on South Jeffers in 1976. It previously operated on Rodeo Road for 20 years.
Parsons said there seems to be a lot of local interest in saving the building. More than 1,700 people have liked a Facebook page called “Save Bowling in North Platte” since May 20 – just one week.
The Parsons and Suhrs are long–time North Platte residents and integral forces in the Fourth St. Plaza, which is the home of Suhr’s locally owned grocery store, “Gary’s Super Foods.”
Parsons put together a group to buy the 4th St. Plaza building in 2006, after True Value closed in late 2005. Parsons then oversaw the renovation of the building, which was subdivided into offices and smaller retails stores.
Gary’s Super Foods became the anchor business of the new plaza.
“It would be something good for the kids,” Parsons said of the prospect of buying the Cedar Bowl. “We have a lot of people that want to see it stay open.”
Bowling league play is generally declining nationwide but open bowling is on the increase, according to a leisure and learning publication linked to the Save Bowling in North Platte facebook page.
The number of occasional bowlers in the U.S increased from 1999-2007, while the number of frequent bowlers who bowl 25 or more days a year has decreased, the article says.
A facebook poster, George Porter, said today’s bowling alley can be a great family hub.
“Dedicate two lanes for kids with 5-pin bowling, family nights, costume party bowling, tournaments, club nights, charity nights, ladies leagues,” he suggested. “Great exercise, excitement and good clean fun.”
“(It’s) year round fun, competitive and cheaper than most venues,” Porter said.