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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Passing the pins

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  • After being the owner of Play-Mor Lanes for 28 years, Glenn (Jr.) Ashcraft is ready to retire and pass the pins onto a new owner.
    “It’s time to move on,” Ashcraft said.
    Ashcraft said a lot of people recognize him after owning the building for so many years.
    “There’s always somebody that knows me because I’ve been out here so long,” he said.
    One of the things that Ashcraft is most known for is the bowling pins he gives children when they have birthday parties at Play-Mor.
    He got the idea from his brother T.M. after coming back from a birthday party where the child was given an old pin to commemorate the day. Jr. took that idea and refined it by polishing up old cracked and scratched pins, attaching a Mylar balloon to them and writing “Happy Birthday” on it.
    The idea was a big hit, he said.
    “I’ve probably got bowling pins scattered all over this town.”
    Acquiring the bowling alley in 1986, he said there was a lot of work to be done in the beginning.
    “We took it a little bit at a time,” he said.
    Throughout the years, with the help of his friends and family, Jr. has made improvements to the building. They fixed up the snack bar, added more lanes and resurfaced the lanes themselves.
    Play-Mor has been a family business with his wife Susie, two children and all of his grandchildren helping out.
    Susie said she’s sad to see it come to an end, but it had to eventually.
    “It’s been a good thing for our family,” she said. “It’s just, you get to that age.”
    Jr. worked there long before he bought the place though.
    Jr. first began working at the bowling alley he would one day own as a pin chaser at the age of 15 clearing the lanes and setting the pins. A job that now requires workers to be at least 18 years of age due to the hazardous environment.
    After that he worked the counter and coordinated leagues.
    Jr. said that the greatest experience he has had as the owner has been his ability to give back to the community through events such as Bowling for the Cure and organizations such as Big Brother Big Sister.
    When a new owner does come along and it’s time for him to leave, Jr. and Susie plan on being frequent customers though.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I might give up one, but he won’t give up his. That won’t happen,” Susie said.

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