Apr. 8—LEWISTON — After nine years without a buyer, Andy Couture is closing Sparetime Recreation next month but not without hope that someone will reopen the bowling alley someday soon.
"I've had some nibbles (but) nothing came to fruition," Couture said Thursday. "I'd like nothing better than to see that bowling center stay open."
Sparetime Recreation on Mollison Way has 12 candlepin lanes, 22 10-pin lanes and about six employees. It has bowling leagues seven days a week in the winter, and as news has spread, "a lot of people have been disappointed," he said.
Foot traffic has been down 50% the past year, though it wasn't a major factor in the decision to close.
"The governor said don't go out, so a lot of people didn't go out," Couture said. "It didn't help anything, but it's time I cut back."
Its last day open is May 4. Couture's second bowling alley, in Hallowell, is closing May 7 temporarily and reopening June 23. "We need a COVID break, to be honest with you," he said.
He's owned the Lewiston business for 16 years and leases the space.
Couture said he has the bowling alley on the market for $125,000, which includes the lanes and all of the inventory, "that's for probably $500,000 worth of equipment. That's what that stuff is worth in place."
In 2014, when Couture told the Sun Journal that the Lewiston lanes had quietly been for sale for two years, he had just sold his bowling alley in Waterville and had one in Augusta up for sale.
"When the bank took over Waterville, they contacted me and persuaded me to buy it," Couture said at the time. "Five years later, the fellow that owned Lewiston persuaded me to buy that. So I kind of backed into all of them. I didn't have a game plan to be the bowling guru of the state of Maine."