Elk Grove Bowl closing after nearly 60 years in Elk Grove Village

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (WLS) -- After nearly 60 years in business, Elk Grove Bowl is closing its doors this weekend in northwest suburban Elk Grove Village.

Longtime customers gathered Friday for one last game - and to take a look back on the history of the business before it's gone.

"This is the first place I ever bowled and now it's my number one sport," said Jeffrey Ford, 16. "I just like it so much. It's sad. A piece of history from Elk Grove just gone."

After 60 years and three generations of family ownership, Elk Grove Bowl is closing.

"We want to retire and it's really not any more complicated than that," owner Chris Beckord said. "It's been a great run, but it's time to move on and do other things."

Like so many other family-owned businesses that have recently shut their doors, the next generation is not interested in taking over the family business.

Best childhood friends Jim McCormack and Wayne Tocki decided to come back for one last game and a beer.

"Last time I was here bowling was 1976ish maybe," McCormack said.

And the last time Tocki was here 36 years ago, he met his wife. Returning after decades brought back a flood of childhood memories for both men.

"We would walk here, we were that close," Tocki said. "Spent our summers here after school bowling, playing pinball."

And when the kids grow up, they come back with their own kids.

After the bowling alley closes, the building will be torn down. The property was bought by the Village of Elk Grove Village for redevelopment.

But, all the equipment will live on. Every bit of it has been sold to other bowling alleys.

It's all bitter sweet for Chris Beckord, whose wife's family has owned Elk Grove Bowl since 1962.

"There is a great staff here, they get along so well together," Beckord said. "They are fun to be around, the customers are fun to be around. That will the hardest thing."
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