A long-time family bowling center in Allentown has a new owner.
Playdrome Rose Bowl – an entertainment destination on the city's west side for decades – has been sold to the owner and operator of Haja Lanes in Palmerton.
Jim Haja's love for the sport has led to his recent $2.6 million purchase of the 36-lane Allentown bowling facility at the intersection of 15th Street and Roth Avenue, which also includes the adjoining Mixx Nightclub. The new lanes are called Haja Rose Bowl Inc.
Haja has owned and operated the Palmerton bowling facility for nearly 30 years and looks forward to providing an affordable place in Allentown for league bowlers and families.
"I want people to come here and not break the bank, and I want them to keep coming back," Haja said. "I have already reduced prices at the snack bar and in the lounge."
Jeff Barber, principal of Lehigh Financial Group of Allentown, and business colleague Gary Chromiak worked with an approved Small Business Administration lender to arrange financing for the sale.
"Jim [Haja] is the right guy for this," Barber said. "It's at his heart, because he loves bowling, and his goal is to make the place bigger and better."
Haja had his eye on the Allentown spot for a few years. Last February, Haja received a call from Jeff Oleksinski and Jon Perper, owners of the Playdrome Rose Bowl, asking if he was still interested in the purchase. Oleksinski and Perper also own Playdrome bowling centers in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Devon.
The time seemed right, Haja said.
Haja, who will manage the facility, added seven employees to the Allentown staff and retained all but two of the existing staff.
According to Haja, he'll put up new signs later this year and he plans to advertise or promote the business on billboards, in local media and through social media.