The Gainesville Bowling Center is rolling back into town with new ownership and fresh updates.
In September, the business, which was previously operated by Bud and Laquita Lunsford, was purchased by Station 300, a bowling center in Bluffton, South Carolina.
When the pandemic hit, Laquita Lunsford said she and her husband were forced to temporarily close the alley. Months later, they were approached by the group of owners who run Station 300.
“They wanted it, so we went through with it,” Laquita Lunsford said.
Laquita Lunsford, who was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago, said in the meantime she will continue focusing on her health, and her husband will stay at the center to manage the bowling pro shop.
Cheyenne Ergle, general manager of what will soon become Station 300 Gainesville, said around $250,000 has been invested into renovating the bowling center, which was established in 1985.
The business, located at 2317 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville, will open its haunted laser tag and arcade space from 6-11 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. Ergle said the laser tag area, which isn’t new to the center, will look like haunted house with staff dressed as monstrous characters and include spooky animatronics. The Halloween-themed laser tag will continue into the weekend and start again from Thursday, Oct. 29 through Sunday, Nov. 1.
Mike Monroe, operations manager of Station 300, said he hopes to open the entire bowling center during the first week of November.
The bowling alley set-up will look the same, but he said the ceiling, walls, floors and equipment will receive a few updates. The mural that once covered a large portion of the wall has been painted over, tiles now cover areas that used to be carpet and all the bowling shoes have been replaced.
“We’re trying to modernize it,” Monroe said.
In the spring, Monroe said he hopes to replace the score display TVs with flatscreens and work on the center’s roof.
Ergle said the sign outside that reads “Funtastik,” will eventually be swapped with one reading Station 300 Gainesville, and several new games have already been added to the arcade.
The kitchen and dining space will extend farther into the bowling area and will include two service windows. Several large flatscreen TVs will fill its walls and display sports coverage.
Monroe said the dining area will look similar to a sports bar, decorated with memorabilia from local teams and serving American fare like chicken wings, burgers, pizza and grilled chicken sandwiches. People can also expect a full-service bar.
Monroe said the ownership group who run Station 300 felt drawn to Gainesville because of its growing community and location.
“We think this is going to be a very successful venture,” he said. “We’re excited, and we’re getting great support from the community.”