Your Bowling Center closed after 35 years in business on June 30th with packed house at a farewell party. This marks the second recreational business that has closed within the last month in Douglas County, following the closing of Dazzles Skating Rink, which was also located on Longview Drive.
A sign on the door read, "Thank you for your patronage but as of July 1st we are closed!
Originally opened in 1982 as West Georgia Bowling Center, the facility was purchased by Mahmoud Nabulsi in 2005. At the time, Mahmoud was the manager, so he was very familiar with the business.
After purchasing the business, he undertook a major renovation and tried various activities for the other half of the building, known as World of Fun. World of Fun always had plenty of arcade games and pool tables in part of the area, and at one point had an indoor mini golf, inflatables and a laser maze called Lazer Frenzy, all at different periods of time.
The center had many loyal long term customers, but was hampered by a rough economy during the recession, as residents were spending less on recreation. A hidden location, and the opening of Thunderzone in Douglasville also made it difficult for the business to support the overhead of the big building.
Despite the difficulties, there was still a large regular crowd who enjoyed the center, or who played in leagues. Customers posting on the Your Bowling Center Facebook Page expressed their sadness, posted fun memories, and thanked the owner, Mahmoud Nabulsi, for all that the bowling center had done in the community.
Mahmoud expressed his appreciation by hosting a party for about 200 long time customers on the final night of business, June 30. There was plenty of laughter mixed with tears as guests had a chance to relive memories and enjoy the friendships forged over time. Everyone also had a great time bowling as they said farewell to the center. Mahmoud humbly expressed his sentiments by saying, "You know, I never realized how important the center was to so many people until we closed. I was always working behind the counter and knew people enjoyed coming, but I never understood how big a part of their lives this business was. I am so appreciative to everyone who has been a part of this business, from customers to employees over the years".
Mona Nabulsi, Mahmoud's daughter, described what the final night at the bowling center was like, as she took hundreds of photos of the event. "It was truly an amazing experience to see all the laughter and feel so much love that the bowling community shared on that night. I was really proud to be a part of it and proud to see what a unique environment my Dad fostered for so many years. The bowlers and their families are all extended family to each other and to us".
Chapel Hill News & Views has a special tie to this business, as back in 2001, when the magazine was only a year old, West Georgia Bowling Center hosted one of the weeks of the News & Views Celebrity Survival Challenge. This was an event where local celebrities like the Mayor, County Commission Chairman, Sheriff, and others competed in a number of off the wall events, and sold raffle tickets to raise money for Charity. A couple of the events were "Speed Mini Golf" where contestants had to complete the course in the shortest time possible, and "Spin Bowling", where the contestants had to spin around several times, then try to bowl, while slightly dizzy. Having great sites like the bowling center, and the mall helped the contest raise over $50,000 for local charities.
It's obvious that despite it being vacant now, Your Bowling Center will live on in the memories of many Douglas County residents. I know it will always be a fond memory of mine.
Here are more scenes from the Farewell Party