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Right up their alley

Lakeview Lanes in Osakis was busy with activity at a retirement party for the former owners, Doug and Carol Oelfke. They sold the bowling alley to Cathleen Long, and her brothers, Ron and Steve Long, run the business.

For the Long siblings, buying and running Lakeview Lanes in Osakis is a challenge that’s right up their alley.

Cathleen Long recently purchased the business from long-time owners, Doug and Carol Oelfke.

She’ll handle the business end of the venture.

Cathleen’s brother, Ron Long, is the general manager.

He’s been in the bowling business for 39 years, starting out as a janitor and working his way up to managing and owning them.

Ron is familiar with the Osakis area. A friend of his has a cabin on Smith Lake.

“I always said that if I can find a bowling alley where there’s a lake nearby that I like, I’d buy it,” Ron said. “As it turned out, my sister went ahead and bought it.”

Another brother, Steve, is a computer programmer skilled in wiring and mechanical repair. He’s the “go to” guy for fixing the machines if they break down.

A friend of the Long family, Dan Nelson, will also be filling in at the alley where needed.

“We work as a wonderful team,” Cathleen said.

The family is very familiar with the ins and outs of their new business. Their company, World Class Bowling Entertainment, has been in the family a long time.

For Cathleen, the decision to buy Lakeview Lanes was an easy one.

“It only took a split second of thought,” she said. “We jumped right in and we’re having a great time. We love the people and the whole environment up here. It’s just awesome; the best decision I’ve made in a long time.”

The Longs are planning several improvements – new pin-setting machines, new pins, new automatic scoring system and upgrades to the building. The building hasn’t received a major renovation since 1976.

Despite all the work ahead, the Longs are confident that the bowling alley will be a hit.

“It’s already shown signs of being successful,” Ron said. “We’ll work on it together, one step at a time. There’s a lot of work to be done in the next couple of years.

The Longs have already made some changes, adding video games, high definition TVs and cosmic lighting.

They are also pursuing a full liquor license from the city. Right now, they have a license for set-ups and 3.2 beer.

Lakeview Lanes is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year. The facility can also be rented out for parties.

And speaking of parties, the Lakeview Lanes hosted a party with the Oelfkes to celebrate the transfer of ownership. The Oelfkes acquired the business in November 1992 and operated it for 23 years.

“We’d like to thank all our loyal customers over the years,” said Doug Oelfke. “We had a really good time.”

In addition to the bowling alley, Cathleen plans to take on another venture in Osakis soon – opening a dog grooming service. Stay tuned.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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