Construction of the Walmart Neighborhood Market at the site of the former Cedar Lanes Bowling Center is finished and the store is scheduled to open April 1.
But the past won’t be forgotten here.
The bowling alley, a beloved business in Fresno for more than five decades, closed and was torn down in the summer of 2013. A new 41,000-square-foot Walmart grocery store was built in its place at 3131 N. Cedar Ave.
The store will feature a display case of items Walmart workers found when they took over the building. They include a bowling pin, trophy, an old pair of bowling shoes, a Junior Dragons bowling team shirt and a menu.
Most of the memorabilia was rescued before Walmart got there. The lanes themselves, along with other salvaged materials, were made into furniture by ReVive Industries. Some wood from the lanes even went into one longtime bowler’s casket last summer.
The site looks totally different now, with 85 employees busy stocking shelves with new merchandise. Many are from the neighborhood and one in particular has a connection to the site.
Jarod Luhm, 24, got his first job at Cedar Lanes at age 15 as a bus boy. He cleaned up after bowlers who were eating and drinking, and was also a part of its junior bowling program.
He met many friends and his wife there.
“I miss it,” he said. “I miss the people.”
Luhm worked at the bowling alley for six years before leaving to go to pharmacy technician school.
He got a job as a pharmacy tech at the new Walmart’s pharmacy. Instead of picking up after bowlers, he’ll soon be helping out customers filling prescriptions.
“It was sad to see it go, but it’s exciting to see something new,” he said of the spot.
The store will have a grand opening starting at 7:30 a.m. April 1 and will open after its 8 a.m. ribbon cutting. The store is a full-line grocery store with a full-service deli, bakery, produce department and a hardware section that includes air conditioning filters and other household goods.