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Art King talks about owning and operating Prosperity Lanes in Grass Valley. Bowling is open daily.
Photo: Elias Funez

Growing up in British Columbia, Art King (or King Arthur, if you prefer nicknames) couldn’t have believed that one day he would own a bowling alley in a small town in northern California.

King opened Prosperity Lanes in Grass Valley in 2001 and found that one of his favorite hobbies had turned into an interesting profession.

“I started bowling in Canada when I was living there,” King said. “I probably first bowled around the age of 16; a friend and I bowled a few games and that was probably it for 10 years, or a long time.

The game he started with consisted of five pins, and eventually he started bowling against 10 pins, which is the common game found in the lane.

The pro shop at Prosperity Lanes is stocked with all your bowling needs.
Photo: Elias Funez

While it’s fun, King said running a bowling alley is hard work and high maintenance.

“A lot of ongoing repair work all the time. Everything you do is a destructive thing, impacting pins and lanes, people use chairs, sofas and rugs. Everything always needs to be replaced or repaired.

Part of lane maintenance effort is using proper shoes, so your first step when bowling is to swap your own shoes for special and often rented bowling shoes.

“We want to protect our approaches, not scratch them, whether it’s a nail, a stone or anything else. You need shoes that have a predictable sole. They will slip; won’t slip much, but that 2-3 inches is slippery. This is for safety as well as to guard the lanes.

Another popular attraction at any bowling alley is the ubiquitous cafe, and King is particularly proud of his – Shirley’s Grill – named after his wife’s sister.

“Our food is made here entirely from scratch and made by chefs. Our leader is a real chef. We have the best food around. It’s a great place for us. We’ll make sure it’s first-class before making it profitable.”

Prosperity Lanes hosts league play, although drop-in play remains the bulk of their business. The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact as they were forced to close for eight months. Now they are coming back strong, seeing an increase in the number of people ready to return to indoor sport.

Bowlers of all ages enjoy the game at Prosperity Lanes.
Photo: Elias Funez

King said: “We want to do business with you – we appreciate (people) coming in first. We don’t hide it. We try to maintain the best possible level and keep things consistent with you.

Prosperity Lanes is located at 420 Henderson St. in Grass Valley. They are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be contacted at [email protected]