After almost 50 years at the helm of the iconic Glenmerry Bowl, owner Ron Sandnes is retiring.
Sandnes moved from Vancouver Island to Trail when he bought the bowling alley and took possession on Feb. 1, 1974.
He and his wife Caryl have been engaged with the Kootenay bowling community ever since; a community he says, he will definitely miss.
“I always enjoyed the people,” said Ron. “I think you have to if you are going to be in this kind of business for so long.”
The Sandnes’ were able to leave the popular Trail bowling alley in good hands, selling the business to the Ferraro family, who have big plans for the bowling centre.
“He’s done a great job,” said Danny Ferraro. “But the key is we want to expand on it, and make it great for kids. That’s where my kids come in, and it was an opportunity we couldn’t refuse.”
Operation ‘bowling centre’ will be a family affair, with the upcoming plans and changes overseen by Danny along with his wife Barb, their daughters Carolyn Whitley and Theresa Penney, and son Jeff Ferraro.
The operation will be managed by business partner/friend and competitive bowler Kennady Keraiff, who grew up on the lanes of Glenmerry Bowl.
“She (Keraiff) is a bowler,” said Whitley. “That’s her thing. She has been to Nationals a few times, and she was Miss Glenmerry Bowl once upon a time in the Trail Ambassador program.”
With those impressive qualifications, the bowling centre will continue with its several leagues including youth, ladies, mens and mixed.
“There will be lots for us to learn, but she is in charge,” said Danny. “We will give her the tools, and will help her to make it a very exciting experience.”
The Ferraros will also keep the glow bowling going, the countless birthday parties, corporate get togethers, and recreational gatherings enjoyed by residents — they just want to kick it up a notch.
The plan is to make it into a one-stop entertaining outing for families where you can enjoy good food and refreshments, while having fun rolling rocks and knocking down pins.
“It will be exciting to continue and build upon a new social activity that’s not just for kids,” said Whitley. “But having a social outing that’s fun, it’s good for all ages, and people from all walks of life can do it.”
Sandnes is also looking forward to his retirement, and thrilled that the bowling centre will remain intact and improved, and is happy to offer any help or advice if needed.
Glenmerry Bowl has produced a number of elite bowlers including Sandnes, Darren Rich, Tim Flack, and the new manager, having all attended several provincial and national bowling championships over the years.
Sandnes is also commemorated on the Trail Home of Champions Monument for his exceptional bowling skills. Nationally, Ron was a member of seven BC Men’s Championship teams and has also coached the BC Single Team at the National Youth Bowling Finals. At the National Championship, Ron won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze, and was named to the Canadian All-Star Men’s Team at the finals in Winnipeg, Man. in 1980.
As for the bowling industry, Sandnes has seen dramatic changes over the last half century.
“The whole industry has changed immensely,” said Ron. “League bowling was may more popular from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s into the early 90s, league bowling was the dominant income for all bowling centres. Probably about 80 per cent.
“Now the bowling industry has gone into more entertainment; they’ll have lounges, they’ll have restaurants, they’ll have videos for the kids, and more modern technology, and it’s the public bowling that generates the bulk of your income now.”
The Ferraro family is excited to bring those new features to Greater Trail residents, and plans to keep the bowling center open while making those changes and improvements.
The family is still hashing out the details of the design and offerings, but are enthusiastic and excited about taking over June 1.
“I always say, ‘He (Danny) is the dreamer, I’m the realist, and Kennady is the one with the real knowledge,’” said Whitley. “It’s going to be fun.”