Waterloo Lanes owners have to say goodbye for good

After 64 years of business in the Waterloo Uptown core, citizens of Waterloo said a final farewell last month to the city’s only bowling alley, Waterloo Lanes.

The alley’s managers Pauline and Tom Clayfield along with their daughter Pamela had hoped to buy the business from former owners Dave and Gerry Roeder; however the owner of the property, Brad Marsland, plans to build a seven- storey apartment building in its place, bringing the family’s plan to an abrupt end.

Pamela Clayfield spoke to The Cord, sharing her frustration with the closure of the longtime business.

“At this point the only option we would have would be to go ahead and either leave the project the way it is, which is non-existent, or it would be to plow ahead, try to get the financing, which is going to be the biggest hurdle I would think and try to find someplace else for space,” she said.

After the emotional closure of the alley, the Clayfields have taken a short break from their plans to recreate the business. “You work so hard at something and you just need to take that step back and relax for a bit and be able to regroup and determine where we want to go from here,” said Pamela.

The family, when combined, has invested close to 100 years of experience working for Waterloo Lanes. The business represented much more than a workplace for the family.  “It’s extremely frustrating that there wasn’t more time,” said Clayfield, “every time we seem to turn around there was one more roadblock. If we had a site to start negotiating a lease, the bank wouldn’t come through with the money we needed. Then we would lose the site and the bank would give the approval finally. Then we would go out and look for a site, and it just kept going in circles.”

“You figure 10, 000 people at least have probably walked through the doors of Waterloo Lanes in 64 years and if every one of those people gave $5 it would be $50,000 towards a new centre.”

Clayfield shared that on the night of the farewell event at Waterloo Lanes the customers were clearly upset to say goodbye to the business. They were insistent on knowing how the plans were going to reinstate the business. “The leagues all wish that they had Waterloo Lanes back to go to in September. All of the league heads said we will go somewhere for one year, but if you get a centre going for September 2014, we will be back.”

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