The Collector Store

Shrewsbury Lanes Vintage Bowling Alley [Video]

Lupe Medina and Nathan Williams

By Anna Lindquist

Sophomore Anna Pardo sits in her plastic chair behind the counter, tapping absentmindedly on the table. Bowling balls roll across the floor. She hears pins crash together and a cheer from a neighboring lane. Kids in the arcade run around trying to play every game they possibly can. Laughter echoes around the room as a couple eats a cheeseburger in the corner. Even though working at Shrewsbury Lanes is a rarity for her, she still enjoys spending her time in this classic bowling alley that her family has owned for the past three years.

Shrewsbury Lanes is a bowling alley that has been a staple in Shrewsbury, Mo. since 1959. Anna gets to be a part of that history since her mom, Heather Pardo, and her step-dad, Brad Pollard, bought the bowling alley in 2013.

“It’s been here forever,” Heather said. “It’s neat because when we’re here during the day, a lot of time we’ll have older couples that’ll come in and talk about when they were kids and how they used to bowl here. You get to hear a lot of neat stories from people who grew up in the nursery here while their mom and dad bowled. They just like to come through and see how much it’s changed, yet it’s still the same way they remember it when they came in as kids.”

Shrewsbury Lanes is in St. Louis County, which is about 30 minutes away from St. Charles. Despite the distance, Heather and Pollard bought it when it was for sale in 2013. It went into receivership after the bank took it from the previous owner and then they bought it before it could go to auction. Before that, it had changed hands three times from when it was built in 1959.

“We had one gentleman who came in after we had been owning it for a little bit who said he actually got to roll a ball down a lane before they were finished installing them because his dad was involved in building the lanes here,” Heather said. “It’s really interesting hearing stories from when the bowling alley was first built.”

Because of Pollard’s history in bowling, he had always wanted to be the owner of a bowling alley. Pollard started bowling when he was about 10 years old and really started getting into it when he was a college student at Missouri State University. After he graduated, he coached and taught bowling at Drury University. He coached with a silver-level certificate in Springfield, Mo. for 12 years. Once the opportunity arose to buy his own bowling alley, he was able to fulfill that dream. Now it is both parents’ primary job.

“I like that it gives them more time together,” Anna said. “It puts less stress on us. Them working together helps everyone else in the house, and if one of them needs to do something, they can take over each other’s shift. It makes everything a lot simpler.”

Once they bought the place, they resurfaced the 24 lanes, updated the arcade and changed the bowling alley from smoking to non-smoking. Even through all the changes, according to customers, it still has the same classic feel.

“I’ve had multiple people come up to me and ask for a cheeseburger and say ‘Oh, it tasted like it used to when I came here as a kid.’ and ‘It looks so much nicer.’ so they’ve noticed all our improvements,” Emma Pardo, Anna’s sister and FHN alumna, said.

Since working there is both parent’s primary job, they both could suffer if business goes down. Despite the possible challenges, there are many benefits for their family.

“We get free bowling and then somewhere to hang out,” Anna said. “If we want to make some money, me and my siblings could always just work one day there.”