New Echo Lanes owner wants to update bowling alley

Published 7:17 am Thursday, September 17, 2009

There were no places to bowl for Bob Grafing when he was in high school. Although he excelled at football and bowling, alleys were not available.

“Now, we have 41 NCAA Division I college programs,” he said.

A self-described “fair” bowler, Grafing is the new owner of Austin’s Echo Lanes as of Aug. 1. The previous owner was Bruce Strom.

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“I’ve been doing this my whole life,” Grafing said.

A native of Flandreau, S.D., Grafing has lived the past seven years in the Twin Cities area, and has owned several alleys, including his first, a four-lane, in his hometown.

“I was looking for something, and this just happened to be available,” he said of the 36-lane Echo Lanes. “It looked like it had the most potential.”

Grafing has been working to update the facility, starting with repairing the lane beds, where the wood has deteriorated.

“I’d like to see a little bit of modernization,” Grafing said.

Fall bowling leagues are underway every night at Echo Lanes, which staffs two full-time and approximately 15 part-time employees.

“We have no leagues that are full,” Grafing reported. Openings are available Tuesdays and Thursdays; some leagues will begin later this fall.

Echo Lanes will host the state ladies’ Eagles Club tournament the last two weekends in October and the state high school tournament the first Saturday in December.

“It’s chaos for one day,” Grafing said.

Other plans Grafing has include possible discounts for college students or instructional leagues for new bowlers. He also said adult junior bowling scholarships offered at the state and national levels are the “greatest opportunity right now.”

The alley is also home to a full bar, the Twister Lounge. Food is also available.

Echo Lanes hours are: Monday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 1 a.m.; and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. Hours vary to accommodate leagues.

To register for leagues, call 437-8241. Echo Lanes is located at 1600 10th Dr. S.E.