By Jesse Wood
With Mario and Diana Perret-Gentil selling the Boone Bowling Center, effective Monday, July 20, after more than 30 years in business, a retirement party is being held for the couple on Monday, July 13, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce announced.
“Through the years Boone Bowling Center has been a place to grow up for so many. Everyone is invited to Boone Bowling Center next Monday night from 7 – 9 p.m. for a covered dish party to wish Mario Perret-Gentil, Diana and staff well before change in ownership,” Barbara Armstrong of the Boone Area Chamber wrote in an email.
The Charlotte-based owners, High Country LLC, which is purchasing the property, plan to put in a restaurant and bar. The registered agent, Patric Zimmer, is business partners with two others that operate other bowling alleys in Charlotte, such as Park Lanes.
Park Lanes Bowling Alley was an iconic ‘60s era bowling alley that the business partners renovated and added a restaurant and bar called Ten at Park Lanes, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.
In 1984, the couple moved from Curacao, a Dutch island in the Carribean, because it wasn’t a safe place to raise kids and decided to live in Boone because Mario loved the mountains, Diana said.
Initially armed with an investor’s visa, the couple searched for a business to purchase. They looked at Granny’s Donuts near the Boone Mall and Christmas Creations on N.C. 105, but the couple settled on the Boone Bowling Center because Mario liked sports and Diana didn’t necessarily want to listen to Christmas music all year round.
As for Mario and Diana, they’ve been ready to retire for a few years now. The property was on the market since at least the summer of 2013. Wright Properties had the property listed at $1.8 million for the business, building and nearly one acres of land.
After earning enough to put their two children through college, Diana said in 2013, “It’s time for younger people to take it over.”
Armstrong with the chamber forwarded a testimonial from fellow businessman, Terry Thompson of Thompson’s Seafood:
“I wanna wish a long time, very good friend and Boone Bowling Center owner Mario Perret-Gentil and his wife Diana a very happy and very healthy retirement effective July 20, 2015. I’ve known him since 1985 about 3 years after he bought the bowling center and he has treated me like family for a very long time. He has a life long dream of sailing around the world so now he will have the time – if people didn’t know he is a heck of a carpenter and an awesome woodworker and woodcrafter. It’s been a pleasure bowling with him on the same teams and also serving as a house director for Boone for many years Happy retirement Mario.”
For more information about the party, contact Barbara Armstrong 828-264-2225 at the Boone Chamber.