Family favorite South Lanes to close next week

A family favorite on the south side is shutting its doors for good next week. But like many family owned businesses, when the family wants to retire, the business retires too. In September of 1953, a staple of the La Crosse community opened its doors.

“It’s a lot of memories.. its been here a long time,” said Jackie Topel, one of the owners of South Lanes.

Sixtyseven years to be exact.

Within those sixty seven years, the South Lanes bowling alley has undergone plenty of changes. But this next change is permanent.

South Lanes will be closing its doors forever after its estate sale next week. But the owners and employees are grateful for the messages they’ve received from the community.

“How much they miss it, how long they’ve been coming here, how long they… they bowled here when they were kids and they’re retirees now. So that’s a long time,” said Dave.

“They met here, their parents met here, there’s lot of stories about that stuff,” said Jackie.

The owners have a special memory here too.

“We got engaged here,” said Dave Topel.

And employees felt the love too..

“This has always been a family owned place, and they’ve always treated me like family,” said Larson. “September 11th would’ve been my 30th anniversary, so I’m going to come up a little bit short. Thanks guys!”

Even with the loss, Jackie says the bowling spirit won’t die.

“We’ll probably see you in town because we’re in the bowling community and we’ll probably be down at All Star, and Play-mor and all over the place for tournaments. We’ll still keep bowling,” said Jackie.

And they have one last message to the bowlers:

“Thank you. I’ll miss you. I won’t miss your ball getting stuck! But I definitely will miss the camaraderie,” said Dave.

Jackie said one of the coolest things she’s found while cleaning out the building has been the original bowling lanes from the 50s. You can see and purchase some of the old memorabilia as well as bowling balls, pins and shoes at their estate sale next week. In the coming months, South Lanes is set to be bulldozed, and a Caribou Coffee will be built in its place.