New Brattleboro Bowl owners focus on community

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BRATTLEBORO — New owners of the bowling alley on Putney Road want their business to be about less than strikes and spares.

"It's not just a bowling alley," said Kevin Napaver, co-owner. "It's a 20,000-square-foot community center."

Napaver and Andrea Papanek, of West Chesterfield, N.H., want to offer a place to gather and hold even more events. The couple has been involved at Brattleboro Bowl since they moved to the area from Marblehead, Mass., three years ago. They closed on the building on Friday, Sept. 22.

"We are working on cleaning it up," Papanek said. "We've got some roof repairs we have to do and we're taking things day by day, bit by bit, just to re-freshen."

Slowly but surely, she said, other improvements will be made.

Napaver and Papanek like to bowl a lot so they spent a lot of time at Brattleboro Bowl. The business "needed owners that lived here and it called to us," Napaver said.

The previous owners, Audrey and Burl Penton, have also sold their bowling alley in Springfield and moved to North Carolina.

"They're well loved but they've been gone for six years and it's just time," Papanek told the Brattleboro Select Board at a meeting on Aug. 1. "We're really looking forward to sort of bringing back to where it was when they were here, having more events. They were very involved in the Bowl for Kids' [Sake]."

The couple plans to keep running the fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windham County and wants to expand the bowling alley's programming. Adding items to the snack bar also is part of the plan.

Napaver bowled a perfect game at Brattleboro Bowl and when they remade the lanes, the material from the lane he used then was given to him. Now, it serves as the couple's kitchen table.

In August, the Select Board approved a liquor license for the owners who are doing business as Papanap, Inc.

"It's a great spot, it's a great location and very well loved," said John Allen, board member.

Seven leagues with anywhere from 34 to 80 people are now signed up at Brattleboro Bowl. The idea is to create new leagues for businesses to participate. Eight-week leagues are going to be introduced for those who believe that 30 weeks is may be too big of a commitment.

The bowling team at Brattleboro Union High School will host two matches at Brattleboro Bowl. And the New England Classic Tournament is expected to bring the best bowlers from New England and New York to town during the last two weekends in November and the first two weekends in December.

The couple said they do not want to lose anyone in the transition. If an arrangement was made with the previous owners, they would like to honor that and encourage people to reach out via Facebook.

Kim Seligman, who has been the manager for 10 years, will stay on in the same role.

Papanek is a lawyer who practiced in Massachusetts and is licensed in New Hampshire.

"But this will be my full-time responsibility," she said.

Napaver previously worked as a process improvement manager for DHL Express in Boston, Mass.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays

at 802-254-2311, ext. 273,

or @CMaysBR.


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