Herald JournalHerald Journal, Oct. 27, 2003

Howard Lake couple new owners of bowling center

By Julie Yurek

The sounds of strikes and spares and the smell of burgers and fries now surround Jerry and Lynette Pettit of Howard Lake.

The Pettits are the new owners of Maple Lake Bowl and The Pines Bar and Grill in Maple Lake.

Jerry worked as a salesman for 21 years at Holt Motors in Cokato, until Oct. 1 when he quit.

Lynette is a production scheduler at Dura Supreme in Howard Lake.

They purchased the business from Roger and Kathy Elletson of Maple Lake Tuesday.

The Elletsons ran the business under the name Elletson Bowl Recreation Center. They owned and operated the business for 16 years.

The purchase took place only five weeks from the time Jerry placed the first call to the Elletsons.

He called to get information on building a bowling center and the subject of buying the Elletsons' center came up.

By sheer coincidence or fate, the Elletsons had talked about selling the business in recent weeks, Lynette said.

The Pettits had only just begun talking about buying or starting some kind of business. They hadn't really narrowed down what kind of business they wanted when they talked to the Elletsons.

"We figured it would be a few years before anything happened," Lynette said. Another option they'd discussed was buying a resort up north.

"We wanted to own something together," Jerry said. This is the first business for both.

With the bowling center, the couple gets the recreation sport plus a restaurant, which is what they wanted, Lynette said.

"It's the perfect mix," Jerry said.

"It's in wonderful condition," Lynette said of the building.

The bowling center offers eight lanes of bowling with computerized scoring. There is league play six nights a week, Monday through Saturday. Leagues start at either 7 or 7:30 p.m.

The Pettits are adding two more leagues besides the usual men's, women's, and mixed leagues that play ­ a "short" league and day care league.

The short league is for snowbirds from fall to Christmas, and the day care league will be in the afternoon and would have day care available for stay-at-home moms.

Open bowl is available Monday through Thursday when the center opens at 3 p.m. until league starts, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to league, and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Reservations for open bowl are accepted. Jerry suggests that patrons call ahead, he said. The number is (320) 963-5555.

Lanes can be reserved for events such as birthday parties and church groups, Lynette said.

Moonlight bowling is every other Saturday. Moonlight bowling is bowling under a black light. The pins, certain bowling balls, tabletops, bowling shoes, and light colored clothing all glow. A lit disco ball adds to the mood.

Bowlers have a chance to win money at moonlight bowling, depending on the color of pins knocked down.

The Pines Bar and Grill features basket food, appetizers, pizza, and is a full-service bar. One new menu item is Jerry's signature burger, the Goosh Burger, which will be some type of stuffed burger, Lynette said.

Jerry is modeling it after the Juicy Lucie burger at Timbers Resort in Howard Lake, he said.

Besides the Goosh Burger, Jerry thought up the name The Pines. "He's Mr. Idea Man," Lynette said.

The Pines opens the same time as the bowling center and closes at 1 a.m. It may open at 11 a.m. on Sundays for football, Lynette said.

Pulltabs, a big screen TV, jukebox, pool table, and dart board are available for entertainment at The Pines.

There currently aren't any pool or dart leagues, but the Pettits are open to starting them if anyone is interested, Lynette said. The pulltabs support the Maple Lake Lions, Jerry said.

Maple Lake Bowl also offers video games, lockers, and a pro shop where patrons can purchase bowling balls, shoes, and accessories.

A grand opening weekend is scheduled for May once leagues are completed.


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