EP's Bowling Academy Closing For Good. A Sad Day.
Popular Bowling Academy Closing This Week
One of East Providence's most iconic landmarks is closing its doors for good. June 2017 will see the last of the famed duckpin balls rolling down the glossy hardwood alleys. The Bowling Academy on Taunton Avenue has been a family run operation since 1963 when Manuel "Cap" Capello bought it. Cap Capello ran the business until selling it to his son Peter in 1976. Peter continued his Dad's tradition of providing a fun-filled atmosphere for young and old until recently deciding to sell the business. The business isn't closing because of economic reasons, rather it was time for Cap's son Pete, to retire. Peter Capello has had some health trouble with his back and has been spending a lot of time in Florida.
"It is with deep sadness that I need to inform our customers that after 54 years in the Capello family, I will be closing the doors of the Bowling Academy on June 25, 2017." The news was sad to many local families who have been bowling at the "Academy" for many years. The Bowling Academy was known for a perfect spot for kids parties and adult bowling leagues. On this Tuesday evening, June 20th, when we stopped in to visit, there was a bowling league going on. At least a few patrons had tears in their eyes and all were reminiscing about decades of bowling academy memories.
In addition to bowling, patrons could buy a pizza, hot dog and other treats. Soda, cold beer and wine were also available to those taking a break from the action. Pizza parties were a favorite for parents looking for a fun and inexpensive venue for a kid's party. The friendly staff took care of everything one needed to make a special memory happen.
On Tuesday night we found bowlers still having fun a day or two before the alley closes forever. "Another icon gone," said a teary eyed Onna Moniz. "I love this place. We've been coming here for years, it's very sad," she said. While half of the alley was hosting a league full of adult bowlers, the other half was closed as demolition was being readied. The building was bought by former East Providence resident and businessman Joseph Ruggiero. Ruggiero was the owner of several car dealerships including one in Barrington and a few others. He has also purchased a Barrington marina, a Fall River dealership and bar in that city. He has also owned a car dealership in East Providence. Ruggiero won't operate the bowling academy but instead will demolish it. He has also purchased the adjacent Edmund Place Health Center which has been closed for years. Ruggiero couldn't be reached for comment but is believed to be planning a development of the combined properties.
"With great pride I continued serving these families and others, including many who came as kids, then brought their children and then the grandchildren," said Peter Capello. "We even have some great-grandchildren of the original kids who love telling tales of Cap! I wish this could continue, but with my recent back issues I no longer can provide the personal service you have come to expect from this family business," added Capello.
Capello mentions his staff who were well known to patrons through the years. "We have been blessed with dedicated staff throughout the years who helped make the business what it is today. Steve, who was with us for 30 years, and Mike, who was with us for 25! That says it all!"
As patrons, please know each one of you has been a very special part of our lives for all this time. You were more than customers; you truly were “family” to us, and my dad and I loved being part of yours in whatever small way we could. Whether you were here for a birthday party or part of a league or even just for a fun night out, The Bowling Academy appreciates your patronage," Capello added.
For many, the demolition of the Bowling Academy means the loss of a piece of Townie history. "The Special Olympic Townies will certainly miss it there," offers Diana Neves. "Wishing you all the best! Thank you for providing such a nice environment to have fun for all those years," said Lynne Kenyon Chelo. "Wishing you healthier days in the future. My family and I loved bowling at your place. We were always made to feel welcome and your birthday parties were the best. Best of wishes to you," writes Heather Baldassi. On and on went the tributes to Peter Capello and his staff. "A sad day for East Providence," said Robert Amaral.
Indeed a sad time for those who fondly remember family fun outings where cell phones and tablets were replaced for a time with "rock & bowl", birthday parties, bowling leagues, graduation parties and just plain fun and exercise for kids from 1 to 100. Soon to be replaced by a parking lot and real estate development, maybe Townie Joe Ruggiero will decide to keep it as a bowling alley for a new generation of kids and families. The odds are decidedly against this possibility ever happening though.
"I humbly thank you all for being part of our business and our lives. I wish you all good health and continued fun with your families. You were like family to us, not customers. I sincerely thank everyone," said Cap's son Peter Capello.