Rebman Recreation, a Lorain institution located at 5300 Oberlin Ave., usually has the sound of heavy bowling balls smashing daily.
For 75 years, it has been the sound of balls hitting the slopes and then crashing into the pins.
Rebman celebrates his 75th birthday.
The company opened in 1946 in a two-story building on Broadway Avenue under the management of the father-son Rebman duo of Dominic and Dom.
This building is long gone.
It was razed to make way for the Nardini underground passage.
In 1955, the company moved to its current location where it now houses 48 tracks.
Before the expansion, there were 24 lanes.
It has a state-of-the-art Qubica score, pro shop, and snack bar / lounge.
In addition to the alleys, there are the On the Avenue party rooms, which are perfect for hosting a birthday party, wedding party, or birthday party.
The family business is now owned and operated by the four Rebman children.
From the oldest to the youngest, they are Rick, Patti, Rob and Mary Lou.
“Lorain is very supportive of us or we wouldn’t be here,” said Patti Rebman-Bellman on a recent Friday night as bowlers from various leagues downed pins and conversed. “We wouldn’t be here for 75 years without their support.
The story of how the business started is an interesting one.
After World War II, the young Rebman wanted to open a bowling alley.
Elder Rebman wanted to open a bar.
The Broadway location featured a bar and four lanes when it opened, but then added eight more lanes.
“He wanted to go into business where people could be socially active and keep families involved,” Rebman-Bellman said when asked what made his father, Dom, go bowling.
Dom Rebman and his wife, Mary, who have both since passed away, did the heavy lifting to launch the business on the Broadway site.
The couple did the back-breaking job of lacquering the alleys, according to family tradition.
Mary Rebman poured in the hairspray and her husband pulled out the applicator.
There were no pin reset machines.
Students at Lorain School were paid three cents per game to do the work.
The Rebman kids said they learned a lot from their parents about running a business.
Patti Rebman-Bellman said the biggest takeaway from these parenting lessons was to keep the place clean.
“My dad taught us that you keep his house clean,” she said. “This is the famous Walt Disney thing, keep it clean and they will come.”
Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult, but the company has been successful, said Rebman-Bellman.
“We had to take every other lane,” she said. “We had to use masks, we had to put on plastic shields (to keep the separation).
“We disinfected the balls and people were playing with gloves. “
But the company has recovered and is doing “well” in the new normal, Rebman-Bellman said. The party rooms are also always occupied. “I’m doing pretty well with that,” Rebman-Bellman said.
As for bowling, it’s about 25 to 30 operational leagues, which is down from the 50 leagues the company hosted at its peak when the steel mill was in full swing and the Ford factory was hunting. the Thunderbirds.
But times are changing.
And, there is good news for the Rebmans, however.
Young people these days seem to be walking the tracks.
“From bumpers up to probably 18, we get a lot of business,” Rebman-Bellman said. “And high school bowling is huge.”
So if you like bowling and are in and around Lorain, she said you can always go to Rebman.
“We always try to do our best for the bowlers and make it a great experience,” she said.