Penn Hills Bowling Alley Revived as Sophie's Lanes
Pins will crash once again on Long Road thanks to the new owner of the former Melody Lanes, Doug Lincoln.
Lincoln, a California native who now lives and works in Somerset, PA, has worked in bowling alleys since he was 14 and has always dreamed of owning his own facility.
"I was very close to moving back to California, but when I came across the opportunity to own this building and reopen these lanes, I just couldn't pass it up," said Lincoln.
But restoring the old bowling alley was no small feat. At the time it was purchased, the facility was in complete disrepair and needed a lot of work to get the lanes functioning again. The pinsetter machines were replaced, but orignial hardwood and over-lane ball returns were restored to preserve the alley's retro feel.
"Some people warned me about Penn Hills, saying all these negative things. But once I came here, I saw all these nice neighborhoods and it wasn’t anything like they described. I saw a great suburb that was in need of more recreation options, so I decided to go for it."
Though the lanes weren't opened simply for Lincoln's own profit. He finds motivation for success from his three god-daughters, Kendall, London and Farrah, the children of his life-long best friend Paul, who he loves as if they were his own. He hopes to open more locations in the future and provide security for the girls.
Sophie's Lanes' grand opening was held January 8th. "Considering there was a Steelers game that day, I expected a few people to show up, but cars were waiting in the parking lot for me to open the doors. It was a big success!"
Sophie's is currently forming a Thursay night mixed-league that will only cost bowlers $8 for 3 games. There are also plans to offer affordable programs during the summer months such as free bowling for kids, and low-cost family season passes.
The 10-lane facility may seem small compared to larger 24-lane facilities, but Lincoln says that the smaller building is the perfect size for a neighborhood, and the lower utility bills and smaller staff allows him to offer more competitive rates.
Drinks and snacks are available at the concession stand, and bowlers are welcome to bring their own alcoholic beverages. Free wifi is also available.
Sophie's Lanes is open Tuesday through Friday from 6:30 to 9:30, Saturday 2:30 t0 10:30, and Sunday 2:30 to 9:30. The door to enter the lanes is just to the left of Ron's Barber Shop. Better signage will be added to the building soon.
More information is available on the company's Facebook page.