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Pinon bowling center could close

by Susie Vasquez
CATHLEEN ALLISON/NEVADA APPEAL Bernard Gulen Jr. bowls at the Pinon Plaza Bowling Center on Monday evening.
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Pinon Plaza’s Bowling Center could be converted into a dining area, with a decision expected in a couple weeks, owner Clark Russell said Monday.

“We’re looking at a proposal from an out-of-state company to introduce a new casual dining concept to Northern Nevada, and we could locate it only in the bowling center,” said Russell. “We expect to make a final decision by the end of the month.”

Russell would not divulge the type of casual dining proposed until a decision has been made and the deal is signed, as per the company’s request. But he said attendance at the bowling alley, open since 1995, is down.

“Our play at the bowling center in recent years has dropped off, and our studies indicate bowling is waning nationally,” Russell said. “Given what we have to compete with, we’ve been looking for different ways to make the business more profitable.”

The 32-lane, 33,000-square-foot center occupies roughly one-third of the casino’s entertainment and casino space, Russell said.

“We’ve been notifying the league bowlers for about two months, and we’ve had some disappointed people,” Russell said. “But our charge is to do what’s best for the company.”

About 1,200 league bowlers use the center each week. Marion Triffon, league secretary for the Sundae Trio League, said her group would probably move to Carson Lanes. Some of the league’s 48 women have been bowling together for 20 years.

“We’re very disappointed,” she said. “People are mad, and the Pinon is going to lose business. They won’t go there to eat or gamble or anything else.”

Russell said a lot of people have already expressed displeasure, but the bottom line and economics will be the chief considerations in the final decision.

An outside consulting firm has been hired to help with the decision, Russell said.

The Pinon opened in 1995 with a casino, restaurant and 32-lane bowling center. A RV park was added in 1997, and the 65-room first phase of the hotel opened in June 1998.

At 2171 Highway 50 East, the Pinon will face the proposed interchange of the Carson City Highway 395 bypass. Capital City Entertainment Inc. also owns the Carson Station Hotel/Casino and the Station Grill Rotisserie on South Carson Street.

Contact Susie Vasquez at svasquez@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.