Anyone over the age of 30 who grew up in south Snohomish county or north King county probably has fond memories of two particular local landmarks: the Lynnwood Lanes and Roll-a-Way and the Sno-King Drive-In. For several decades they were “the” social hot spots for both teenagers and adults.
The drive-in is sadly long gone, but the bowling and roller skating venue at the corner of Highway 99 and 200th St. SW in Lynnwood has a new lease on life, thanks to new owners Jim Potter and Scott Shapiro. This weekend, the new and improved Lynnwood Bowl &Skate celebrates two milestones: a grand reopening after a major renovation, and its 50th year of operation.
“With its storied history and good bones, it just needed some physical and operational improvements to bring it back to its glory days,” Shapiro said. Those enhancements include refinished wood flooring in both the alley and the rink, remodeled bathrooms, an upgraded computer system, a full snack bar in the skating rink and the newly renamed Trophy Room Café &Lounge which prominently features historical photos and memorabilia from the Bowl &Skate’s last 50 years.
Youthful memories of bowling and skating are a large part of Potter and Shapiro’s motivation to rescue the aging facility. Growing up in Lake City, Potter was a frequent visitor to the original Lynnwood Lanes and Roll-a-Way. As a kid in Spokane, Shapiro spent more time at the bowling alley than the roller rink — “I was a terrible skater” — but he regularly bowled and played video games at Silver Lanes on the South Hill of Spokane.
Their investment couldn’t have come at a better time: after a decade or more of declining interest, both bowling and skating have been rediscovered as affordable, safe recreation and entertainment activities, especially among families who appreciate the “good clean fun” of it.
“We have many people coming in and rediscovering [bowling and skating] as a family activity,” Shapiro said. “Now that we’re smoke free and more family oriented, we find families bringing several generations to play here together.”
That’s why themed and age-specific bowling and skating, along with the traditional open sessions, are an integral part of the Bowl &Skate’s schedule. For those who like team competition, there’s also league bowling every evening, and for something a little different, “Extreme Bowling” which features special music, lighting and pricing, takes place on Friday and Saturday nights. The facility is also home to Team Lightning Inline Speed &Fitness Club and “Fresh Meat,” a group of women’s roller derby enthusiasts.
Shapiro and Potter “are delighted” with the response to the renovation. “Our goal was to create a modern facility to meet the resurgence of interest in both bowling and roller skating that is taking place now,” Potter said, “and we’ve done it!”