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Bowling, other tenants evicted in Pittsfield

August 07, 2018 07:28 PM

PITTSFIELD - It's the end of an era Pittsfield for a business that was once rolling in popularity -- but more than that for George Aslan. It's the end of his livelihood after operating Candle Lanes for 42 years.

Young bowlers began knocking down the candle pins two years after the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic. More than a century later, it's Aslan who has a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

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"There's 28 tenants on these two floors and they all got evicted," Aslan said.

The eviction notices give tenants of the Wright Building on North Street until the end of August to get out. Aslan says it was unexpected news that has left his family devastated.

"When I came home and I told them the news, my daughter was crying," Aslan said. "My wife was sad. She said, 'How are you?' I said, 'I'm fine.' She says, 'You're fine? That was your life.'

For Courtney Gilardi, Candle Lanes had become a third generation recreational fun place.

"My parents took me here when I was a baby," she stated. "I grew up bowling here and my girls have grown up bowling here. We were devastated when we found out the news."

Mike Harding has been knocking down candle pins since he was old enough to walk. He says seeing the business shut down is like losing a family member.

"To see it go, it's like a rug being pulled from under you," he said, "It's heartbreaking, it really is."

JoAnn Beaulieu has been meeting up with friends at Candle Lanes for more than 60 years.

"It's frustrating and it's mostly sad," she said. "I think because you meet a lot of friends and acquaintances you've known for years and now who knows when you're going to see them again."

Perhaps the most remarkable things about Candle Lanes is that even when it was closed, people who felt like bowling knew all they had to do was call George Aslan at home and he'd run down the alley to unlock the doors for them, any time, day or night.

"That is the wonderful thing about George," Gilardi said. "It's such a community business and I love the fact you just call. He lives four minutes away and you can have your bowling here any time. It's a unique business model and it's one that I love."

"It wasn't a business to me," Aslan said. "They're all my friends, they really were."

Aslan says he and other building tenants didn't like the manner in which the eviction process took place, mentioning that notices were slipped underneath everyone's door.

He also doesn't like the abruptness of it all, since he says tenants were given 30 days to make a decision about the rest of their lives.

NewsChannel 13's news partners at the Berkshire Eagle report the new building owner intends to convert the property into residential apartments.

Credits

Dan Levy

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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