It’s a winning game for the owners, but a gutter ball for our area’s passionate bowlers, as Red Crown Bowl n Brew plans to close next month.
The Harrisburg institution will shut its doors for the last time in early March after 80 years of strikes, spares and splits, said owner Don Kirkpatrick, who is selling the property to his next-door neighbor, J.B. Hunt, the national transportation and logistics company.
“My neighbors have been after me to sell for several years, and they finally came up with a price we were looking for,” he said, declining to state the purchase price.
Red Crown first opened its doors in 1937 at 80 S. Cameron St. in Harrisburg. It moved to its current, 20,000-square-foot location on Sycamore Street in Swatara Township, just outside the city, in 1959. The Kirkpatrick family has owned it for the past 37 years.
Kirkpatrick, 67, said that he plans to retire, and his children, who have worked at the alley most of their lives, will find other jobs that don’t require having “to work weekends and nights.”
Still, Kirkpatrick described the end of the era as “bittersweet.”
“This has been my life,” he said, becoming emotional. “We’ve had so many wonderful customers over the years.”
Harrisburg Young Professionals is one of those customers, as the alley currently hosts the group’s 16-team bowling league. HYP Executive Director Derek Whitesel said that he’ll need to find a spot in one of the region’s other four bowling alleys to finish up the season, which will only be half-complete when Red Crown closes.
“It’s been a great relationship from our perspective, so we’re sad to see them being sold,” he said.
Kirkpatrick said that J.B. Hunt plans to demolish the alley’s building to expand its trucking facility, located right over a chain-link fence, as the Harrisburg area continues to grow as a center for distribution and logistics.
“I will really miss my customers,” he said. “If you see the posts on our Facebook page, it’s been just phenomenal.”
Red Crown Bowl n Brew is located at 2471 Sycamore St., Harrisburg (Swatara Township). You can read the company’s farewell at www.redcrownbowling.com or their Facebook page.