Bowling alley changing owners after nearly 50 years

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Jayne Sonognini is transitioning into the ownerships of Town & Country Lanes in south Keizer. She is taking over the business from Don Lebold, the owner for the past 49 years. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Jayne Sonognini is transitioning into the ownerships of Town & Country Lanes in south Keizer. She is taking over the business from Don Lebold, the owner for the past 49 years. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

After 49 years under the same owner, a new face is taking the reins of Town & Country Lanes.

Jayne Sonognini is in the process to transitioning ownership of the business from Don Lebold, whose name is practically synonymous with bowling in Keizer.

“We decided to do the three-month transition to make sure it’s a good fit for both of us. I want to keep the business community-based even though there are going to be changes,” said Sonognini. “Right now, I have a three-year plan and I’m hoping at the end of it the whole place will be looking pretty new.”

One of her first priorities, when the transition is complete, is getting new score-keeping monitors.

Sonognini moved to Keizer 16 years ago with her family after running some of her own successful businesses. Now that she is somewhat through taking care of family, she decided to get back into the workforce.

“Don and I have been teasing each other back and forth about me taking over and it just ended up being the right time,” she said.

While some of her plans are still works-in-progress or waiting in the wings, she’s already started trying to bring in new customers.

“Last Saturday night, we had our first karaoke night and it was a blast. We had people coming in just for the karaoke. We had 3-year-olds who were singing, 60-year-olds who were singing and everyone in between,” Sonognini said.

The next karaoke nights are scheduled for September 10 and October 8.

While branching out into new areas is one focus, she’s also expanding the options for bowlers. For the first time, Town & Country will offer flex leagues this fall. Participants can come in any time they want to bowl except for Friday and Saturday nights and the bowling alley will keep track of their statistics.

“It’s really aimed at people who don’t have the time to commit to a certain night every week, or those who are just interested in getting started. We’re trying to offer them something as an alternative to a sanctioned league,” she said.

A 12-week league starts at $15 a week, but bowlers can pay $20 a week and go home with their own bowling ball at the end of the season. The 16-week league is $10 per person or $15 for bowling ball package.

Sonognini was already a longtime patron at Town & Country, but she said the response to her becoming the new owner has been overwhelming.

“I’ve had nothing but total backing from every bowler I’ve met here. I knew a lot of them, but I’ve had a lot just come up to me and ask to shake hands,” she said. “I want to do a painting party when it’s time to redo the interior, and so many people have offered to come and help.”

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