During the 1980s, Steve and Pat Vosika and their young children, Matt and Jennifer, traveled during summers from the Metro area to vacation on Leech Lake.
Steve, a native of Duluth, worked for a bowling alley at the time and was looking for an opportunity that would allow the family to move to the North Country. Pat, a Twin Cities native, also loved the area.
So, when the chance to buy Bemidji Bowl from Jerry Tuomala came up in November 1990, they were happy to make the move.
"We've been remodeling it ever since we came to town," Steve said. "We've been looking for different locations for about 10 years."
Now, the Vosikas have found a new location for Bemidji Bowl - 3455 Laurel Drive N.W., the site of the former CBS Fitness. Steve said they signed the papers Friday on the deal, which consists of 3.5 acres. They will break ground for the new Bemidji Bowl sometime in January and demolish the fitness center.
The new Bemidji Bowl is to open in August. The current Bemidji Bowl, located at 2317 Bemidji Ave. N., covers 12,000 square feet. The new business will consist of 30,000 square feet and feature 24 bowling lanes, an arcade with more than 30 games, a bar with seating for more than 90 people, three private party rooms, outside patio, expanded menu, and pool tables, dart machine and golf simulator. There will be parking for 180 vehicles, as well as snowmobile parking. And open bowling at all times.
Steve said the current Bemidji Bowl is for sale.
"We don't know what's going in this place," he said.
Pat said she and Steve met when they were students at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Before settling in Bemidji, Steve worked for some friends in a bowling business in St. Paul Park. Matt and Jennifer were in high school when the family made the move to Bemidji, and they still live here. Matt manages Bemidji Bowl and has a 1-year-old daughter, Cassidy.
Steve said he and Pat bowl recreationally in a couple league and Pat bowls in a women league. Pat said they sometimes bring Cassidy to Bemidji Bowl.
"She loves the noise; she sits through leagues with us," Pat said.
She said the family is lucky they found a business that allowed them to live in Bemidji, and they appreciate the response people in the area have given them.
"The community has just supported us so much," Pat said. "We hope we're adding to its growth."