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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Holiday Lanes

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Bossier City bowling alley keeps on rolling along

‘Frisky” Frazier’s family didn’t waste any time going to the “new place” in town.

“We bowled the first day it opened,” Frazier remembered. “They had a free thing the first day it opened. Mom, Dad, brother, sister — we all went.”

That was in August of 1960. Since then, thousands upon thousands of people — young and old — have spent nights and weekends at in Bossier City. This summer, the venerable, family-owned bowling alley will celebrate 61 years of providing fun for generations of families.

“People sort of have their own ownership of it because they have memories there,” said  Melanie Coleman, who — along with two brothers — owns Holiday Lanes. “They had birthday parties there. Their kids have birthday parties there, or they’ve just been to a birthday party. Or they used to bowl on a league, or they used to go there on a weekend.”

But those memories at Holiday Lanes likely would never have been had Melanie’s dad, Don S. Coleman — a residential home builder — not first rolled a ball in 1959.

“Mom said that one day, she and dad and another couple went over to Bowlero East, which was across from Shreve City (in Shreveport). They were just trying it out. Dad turned around at some point and told them, ‘This is fun! I’m going to build one!’ One year later, it was open.”

Before Don Coleman died unexpectedly in 2004, he told his family never to sell Holiday Lanes. His daughter, Melanie, ran the facility for 10 years while living and working as an accountant in Athens, Texas. In 2014, she moved back home and got hands-on.

“Since we took ownership of the bowling center, we have consistently put a lot of money back into it,” Coleman said. “It needed a good bit of remodeling when we got it. First, we did the café and then the front entrance. We landscaped, and then we did the bar. We put flat-screen monitors all the way across.”

However, cosmetic changes aren’t the only changes to Holiday Lanes over the past six decades.

“Back then, people would mostly bowl on teams and in leagues, and we still have that,” Coleman said. “Now, like on weekends, there aren’t leagues on weekends. We have a lot of birthday parties. We have company groups come in. We have a lot of open bowling on the weekends, where we have a light show and a lot of music. It’s festive.”

In other words, under Coleman’s leadership, Holiday Lanes has kept up with the times rather than get left behind.

“We built an arcade in 2018,” Coleman said. “When (another bowling alley owner) first told me they were going to take out (bowling) lanes to make room for an arcade, I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh. I would never do that.’ About 10 years later, I was doing it myself. People today want choices. They want more than one thing to do. The kids can go to the arcade (more than 45 games), the adults can bowl, or they can do it all.”

For a young “Frisky” Frazier (“My real name is Billie, but nobody knows me by that name”), Holiday Lanes was a launching point for her to see the country.

“We joined leagues up there, and we would go to the Ladies’ National Championships,” Frazier remembered. “We went all over. Las Vegas — we went everywhere.”

And when the now-71-year-old wasn’t traveling, she was at 3316 Old Minden Road.

“That was kind of my second home when I was growing up,” Frazier said. “I’d spend pretty much every evening there. I bowled in leagues three or four days a week, as did my mother and my sister.”

Over the years, Holiday Lanes has been more than a business. It’s been a gathering spot for the people of Bossier — a place to have good, clean, family fun.

“It’s a pretty cool thing,” Coleman said. “I think that might be one of the reasons why Dad thought we should keep it. He was never going to let it go away. He sort of nurtured it in some ways. It’s a business, like any other

business. Sometimes people don’t understand that. But it’s also a community center. People of all ages — it’s kind of like part of their life. There is some pride in that.”

There’s also pride in the fact that recently, the state of Louisiana placed a historical marker just outside the front of Holiday Lanes.

“It provides a concrete expression of this legacy,” Coleman said. “A legacy for the community, and a legacy for our dad in passing it down.” To learn more about Holiday Lanes, you may visit www.bowlholidaylanes.com.

ON STANDS NOW!

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