By Sue Tiffin
Ron Crump and Debbie Gerzymisch have been working hard to make Fast Lane Bowling the place to play. A fresh coat of paint, TVs to help keep an eye on the hockey game, the addition of a lounge area, and Haliburton County’s indoor bowling alley is ready for action.
“It’s pretty exciting, for sure,” said Crump, who said he had been looking for something to do for retirement when the bowling alley opportunity rolled his and Debbie’s way.
“We had to learn a lot of things along the way,” he said. “It all comes pretty natural to Debbie, running a business.”
Gerzymisch worked for a web hosting company doing books and account managing, while Crump works in construction.
“She’s more the brains, and I’m more the brawn,” said Crump. “I’m fixing things and she does the paperwork, so it works out well.”
Gerzymisch said the couple, from Cameron, took ownership of the business which includes six lanes for five-pin bowling, on Jan. 28.
Gerzymisch laughed when asked about taking on a bowling alley as Crump’s retirement project. “Not quite what I was expecting,” she said. “But he’s not just a sit around the house kind of guy, so I knew he needed something to keep him busy. So this wasn’t really what I was expecting, but we’re in it now, we’ll give it our best shot.”
In just a few weeks, they’ve been working on both the interior of the building, while also updating the branding of the business and hosting online surveys looking into the possibility of organizing leagues. Opportunities for youth, Special Olympics teams, mixed seniors, mixed adults and programming including birthday parties, glow-in-the-dark fun and school or rainy day camp programs will be available, as well as a between-game tournament spot for hockey players or just those looking for something to do on the weekend.
“We’re hoping that goes, that it gives kids a feel of bowling, and it gives them something to do on Saturday morning,” said Crump.
Crump and Gerzymisch are looking forward to hosting family reunion events, and corporate and social functions.
“Even when I went into Home Hardware to buy the paint, people were saying, ‘oh, you bought it, we’ve had Christmas parties there before with staff,’” said Gerzymisch, noting that people are ready for the doors to open for social events besides casual play.
“We’ve had a lot of inquiries about different events for different people, and we’re pretty open to doing whatever is going to make everybody happy,” said Crump.
Crump said his son was in support of the sale, telling him he’d bowled there with friends including a family friend who’d died of cancer in 2019. Crump and Gerzymisch plan to honour that friend – Greg Brethour – with a plaque on the wall.
“It’s just a thing I found out after the fact, that he and Greg used to come here to bowl,” said Crump. “It’s just a cool little thing.”
While both Crump and Gerzymisch laugh out loud when asked if they’re good at bowling, Crump said, “I’ll figure it out. Back in the ‘80s, it was one of the things you did, so I’ve bowled before but it’s been a long time,” he said.
Support has been available as they prepare to open the venue, located at 12281 Highway 35 in Minden.
“Anyone who’s been involved with bowling alleys, or owned bowling alleys, they’ve been super helpful,” said Gerzymisch, who said people have been reaching out to answer questions and offer encouragement.
“It seems there’s quite a bowling community out there, it’s a really good thing, I think,” said Crump.
“It doesn’t seem to be a huge competitive thing, like our bowling centre is going to be better than your bowling centre kind of thing, but what can we do to help?” said Gerzymisch.
“The feedback is tremendous, it’s really good, everybody likes the idea of it coming back,” said Crump. “They’re happy that somebody bought it, and are going to keep it open and run it as a bowling alley. All the feedback’s been positive, for sure.”
A grand opening is planned for March 11, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Bowlers can call and reserve a lane or drop by then to see if one is available.
For more information, visit fastlanebowling.com, Fast Lane Bowling on Facebook or call 705-286-3900.