The iconic black, wooden Squire’s Loft horse no longer looks out over Route 18 as it had for decades. It’s absence, however, is a symbol of the changes taking place inside Webster Timber Lanes, which is undergoing its biggest interior renovation in years.
The candlepin bowling center has been closed since May 4th, when the Baker Administration shuttered all non-essential businesses in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
For new owners John and Suzanne Pumphrey, the closure came just as work started in the renovations, which they had hinted at last year when they appeared before the Board of Selectmen to take over the facility’s liquor license.
“With everything going on, renovations are easier to do, but it’s also slowed it down,” said John Pumphrey. “We’ve been very careful to have only a few people on the job site at a time and spread out to maintain safety.”
When social distancing restrictions end, and Timber Lanes reopens, families will see a new restuarant inside called Luci’s.
Named after the Pumphrey’s youngest daughter, Luci’s will be a fun, casual restaurant for all ages with a bigger menu offering pizzas, salads and sandwiches, in addition to fried food appetizers. There will be an expanded bar and space to accommodate corporate and private events up to 100 people, as well as the opportunity for entertainment and music.
“From inside the bowling alley, Luci’s is going to have an inside-out look,” explained Pumphrey. “As if you’re coming upon a cool restaurant in the North End as you’re walking down the street.”
The familiar Squire’s Loft horse was removed last week to make room for new , large windows. But Pumprey reassured it will be back.
“The horse is only taking a break and is not gone forever,” he said.
Down the road, the business is hoping to expand the arcade, and utilize some of the Squire’s Loft medieval decorations to outfit the arcade in a family-friendly way.
Even with COVID-19 on the forefront of people’s minds, Pumphrey is still forging ahead with summer plans. A recent Special Olympics event at the lanes has been postponed to a later date, and summer leagues are still being scheduled. There is, as with all businesses, concern over health and safety when it comes time to reopen.
“We need to make it as safe as possible. Everyone is wrestling with the same questions. How do you put people in a confined space for a fair amount of time so that they can safely enjoy themselves and feel be healthy and safe going out,” added Pumphrey.
“We’re hoping to come out of this strong, finish what we started, and give the town something great.”
Written by Michele Christian