Bowling alley changes hands

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2008

FRANKLIN—It’s been 10 years since Duane and Debbie Hagen bought the Franklin Playtoe Bowl in Armory Plaza — plenty of time to build quite a rapport with the customers.

But now, it’s time to move on.

The business was sold earlier this week to Kathleen Perry of Woodbine, Md., who was busy looking for an apartment in Franklin on Thursday.

She is new to the area, she said, but not to the business. She has 30 years of experience in the industry, although this will be her first ownership opportunity.

She is also no stranger to the Hagens.

&uot;We started with the same company in 1979,&uot; Duane Hagen said, &uot;so it will be in good hands.&uot;

He will explore opportunities that are more in line with the degrees he holds in political science and sociology.

&uot;I always intended to, and wanted to, teach at a college level,&uot; he said. &uot;I decided at age 50 if I’m going to do something else, it’s time to do it.&uot;

His wife, Debbie, said she may do some gardening but has also started a &uot;fledgling business&uot; on which she will more than likely expand.

A certified baker, she has been using her skills at the restaurant in the bowling center and for a local catering company.

&uot;She’s been doing it privately and informally,&uot; he said. &uot;She may get a small place going.&uot;

For now, besides a few improvements, Perry and her business partner, Fred Kaplowitz, aren’t changing anything at Playtoe Bowl.

&uot;We will be putting in new heating and air systems in the next three to four weeks,&uot; Perry said. &uot;Sometime this summer, we will redo all the wood lanes and approaches.&uot;

As far as the menu at Rumors Restaurant, the regulars can rest easy.

&uot;I think they’ve done a really great job in the food-and-beverage operation,&uot; she said. &uot;I’ve been eating here for three days, and I haven’t had anything I didn’t like.&uot;

Perry’s husband, Jim, owns a heating/air business, and will more than likely permanently relocate sometime later. The move to Franklin will also put the couple closer to their summer home in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Duane said that he and Debbie, residents of Sedley for nine years, don’t plan on going anywhere else, and will miss the people with whom they’ve worked the most.

&uot;They have been absolutely the highest-quality set of people,&uot; he said of the Franklin center employees.

&uot;And I have owned or operated 11 bowling centers in 30 years.

&uot;I just feel I’m not giving it my all anymore,&uot; he said. &uot;And if my heart is not in it like it used to be, it’s time to get some new, exciting blood.&uot;