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Longing for lanes?

Matt Zalaznick
Vail Daily/Bret HartmanMany valley residents are hoping the relocation of Wal-Mart to east Avon will reward them with a bowling alley.
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That shouldn’t be surprising – everybody knows, of course, what a great cool down bowling a few frames and gobbling down a huge plate of greasy nachos is after tearing up the powder all day.

And what a relief it is to take off those frozen, tortuous ski boots and put on a pair of slimey, rented, clown shoes!

Bowling alley was by far the top choice when residents were asked this week to pick a business to replace Avon’s Wal-Mart when the retailing giant relocates next summer to its Supercenter a little ways down the road in the Village at Avon.

“The “Heart of the Valley’ needs a bowling alley,” said Edwards’ Dave Manzella, referring to Avon’s town slogan. “The snow’s going to melt and everyone will need something to do.”

One reason many people said they hoped for a bowling alley was that the valley’s social scene is limited mostly to smokey, noisy bars. They also said bowling would be something to do on a rainy day for kids and adults.

“I’m married and the bars are just too much of a meat market,” said Perpetua Ryan of McCoy. “So I just don’t go anywhere.”

“We need an entertainment complex,” said Lisa Miller of Wolcott, “with games and bowling and paintball and laser tag.”

Even those who haven’t had bowling on their minds, like Avon’s Mike Christenberry, picked bowling alley when given the choice.

“I think I am in the bowling alley crowd,” he said. “We need another diversion of some sort – not more retail or restaurants.”

Woody Brackeen of Edwards also suggested a bowling alley or some other sort of entertainment, so as not to put more competitive pressure on small retailers in the valley.

“Give us something else to do instead of something that puts the small people out of business,” Brackeen said.

But not everyone in the valley is an unfulfilled bowler. A movie theater, a health food store and a large Barnes and Noble bookstore – with coffee shop –were among the other suggestions residents made.

“We need a Sportsmen’s Warehouse,” said Teep Blevins of Eagle. “Hunting and fishing gear – there’s a very poor selection in the valley. You have to go to Denver or Grand Junction.”

Jeremy Walters of Avon said he was hoping for something more musical.

“How about a giant music store?” Walters said. “Guitars, drums and sound rooms to test them out – the selection around here for equipment is pretty slim.”

Walters said a large music shop could become a sort of cultural mecca for the valley and a place where musicians could congregate.

“If there was something of this size, it would be a place for people to come and hang out,” Walters said.

A compelling idea, but in a quick poll of local guitar players, one said he’d only bought two guitars in 15 years and a second, four in the same amount of time. A music mega-store, therefore, probably wouldn’t last very long in the mountains—and there’s no reason to go to Denver, because there’s always good old Bob’s Music down in Eagle.

There also are those in valley jealous of the Target that just opened on the other side of Vail Pass in Silverthorne.

“All the moms asked will pick Target,” West Vail’s Kim Gramm said. “We’re already talking about starting a baby group to drive over to Silverthorne.”

A Target and a Wal-Mart would be a symbiotic a relationship as the Safeway and City Market supermarkets next door to each other in West Vail.

“Variety is the spice of life,” said Gramm, who also suggested either a day care or early childhood learning center.

Whoever moves into Wal-Mart’s old building – assuming it’s retail – will hopefully create competition that will drive down high prices in the valley, said Mike Rippstein, a brand new resident of Edwards.

“We want to stay as small as we can, but prices here are a little outrageous,” said Rippstein.

But bowling fever, it seems, just can’t be stymied. A bowling alley would compliment the valley’s recreation centers, said Heidi Young of West Vail.

“This is my kids talking, but we need a bowling alley –stuff like that, for kids,” Young said. “If the weather’s bad, what do you do with kids?”

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.


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