NELSON MOODY, right, talks with a patron at Yankee Lanes on Bath Road in Brunswick. On Oct. 4, Moody purchased the 32-lane 10-pin institution from its original owner, Colchester, Vt.-based Bowl New England.

NELSON MOODY, right, talks with a patron at Yankee Lanes on Bath Road in Brunswick. On Oct. 4, Moody purchased the 32-lane 10-pin institution from its original owner, Colchester, Vt.-based Bowl New England.

BRUNSWICK

Twenty-four days.

That’s when Nelson Moody will make the first payment on his new bowling alley: Wednesday, Nov. 6.

Moody, a 61-year-old insurance appraiser and well-known local “character,” bought the bowling alley on Oct. 4 from Colchester, Vt.-based Bowl New England, which had operated the business since 1968.

NELSON MOODY grew up in Harpswell and says he has lived his entire life within a 10-mile radius of his current home in Brunswick.

NELSON MOODY grew up in Harpswell and says he has lived his entire life within a 10-mile radius of his current home in Brunswick.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Moody. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long, long time.”

He spoke during a lull in the congratulatory handshakes, hugs and pats on the back from patrons, who were warming up and mingling before a regular league match.

Moody grew up in Harpswell and says he has lived his entire life within a 10-mile radius of his current home in Brunswick. He already is a well-known character in town. But the recent acquisition of the 52-year-old bowling alley seems to have affirmed his local-boy-made-good status, according to the legion of wellwishers who stopped to say hello.

Already he has changed the name back to its original Yankee Lanes, so named by the Manchester,

N.H., contractor who originally built it in 1961. Bowl New England bought the business in 1973, renovated and expanded the number of lanes from 24 to 32 in 1987 and, three years ago for reasons unknown to Moody, renamed it Spare Time Lanes.

But Moody’s affiliation with Yankee Lanes began long ago.

“I used to come here as a teenager with a church youth group,” Moody said.

Once a serious bowler whose interest in the game cooled as an adult, Moody married his wife, Karen — an avid bowler — in 1982. When she moved to Brunswick, she immediately started bowling at Yankee Lanes.

One day in 1999, Moody accompanied his wife to the lanes and struck up a conversation with then-manager Judy Marshall, who hired him on the spot to work part-time on weekends.

It started out as little more than a part-time gig to provide some financial relief, Moody said.

“I’d over-indulged in a few credit cards and figured it would be a good way to pay them off,” he said.

But the interest soon turned professional: the longer Moody put in the part-time hours, the more he was determined one day to buy the place.

Now he’s determined to make it a continuing success.

Founded by J. Richard “Dick” Corley in 1968, Bowl New England currently owns and operates 18 bowling centers from Maine to Alabama. In a move to unload his smaller businesses and concentrate instead on larger bowling and recreation “centers” in the South and Southeast, Corley selected five small market locations — Yankee Lanes among them — to sell.

“I’ve tried to find opportunities to sell the smaller facilities either to customers — as in Nelson’s case — or to employees or managers,” Corley said. “I think if they run them well and efficiently, they’ll provide an opportunity to make a nice living.”

Moody will run the alley with help from his wife and three of their daughters. In addition to modeling the menu after that of the Fat Boy Drive-In just down the street, he plans to renovate the space within a couple of years to improve locker access and expand the snack bar and grille. He already has obtained a liquor license, and an entertainment license application is pending before the town.

Right now, he’s just happy to be in business.

“If it wasn’t for Dick Corley’s generosity and the faith he had in me, I’d never have owned this place,” Moody said. “For me to end up here, it’s the Lord’s providence.”

And just maybe for a love of duck pins, too.


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