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New Ebey Bowl partner ready to roll
After taking a break, Ebey Bowl is back in action.
The bowling alley was closed for about a month, and reopened mid-October.
On Sept. 22, Traci Wisdom received a phone call from Matt Iverson and Mimi Johnson, the siblings who own Ebey Bowl, asking if she wanted to become a partner. The siblings own Allstate Insurance Company in Oak Harbor as well. Between the business there and the bowling alley, they were not getting to spend as much time with their families, Wisdom said. By her managing Ebey Bowl, it helps everyone out.
Wisdom worked at Oak Bowl & Mario’s Pizza and managed the kitchen for six years. She said John Youngsman Sr. taught her when he worked there and the Cockrells also helped her learn to run a business. That experience gave her the confidence to take on this project.
“I’ve always wanted to have my own diner, and something to call my own,” Wisdom said.
Wisdom and her husband, Gary Wisdom, are now partners with Iverson and Johnson.
And Wisdom has been busy since reopening.
The revamped menu at EB’s Diner in Ebey Bowl has changed some, but Wisdom is still keeping old favorites. She added all-you-can-eat fish and chips on Sundays and created a build-your-own burger menu.
The bowling alley still has the same features customers love — the old Pacman and Donkey Kong video games, as well as the old Brunswick pin setting machines. The business has been rich with history since opening in November 1959 after Bill and Anne Engle decided to give their barn a makeover.
“This is what people like. It’s got one of those feelings that takes people back to their childhood,” Wisdom said.
Wisdom graduated from Oak Harbor High School and has been friends with Iverson and Johnson for a while. When she got her driver’s license at 16, she actually bought her insurance from their father. When they first took over Ebey Bowl in 2010, she helped them put together their menu, and taught them everything she knew from her previous experiences.
“We’re just one big happy family,” Wisdom said.
After high school, Wisdom joined the Army military police and served in Virginia for 10 years. She moved back to Whidbey Island in 2002 to be closer to friends and family.
Winter is the busy time at the bowling alley, Wisdom said. The weather isn’t as nice outside, and the sun sets sooner. League bowling started Nov. 7 and is every Thursday for 12 weeks not counting the holidays. It’s non-sanctioned, Wisdom said, so bowlers play for fun and, of course, for bragging rights.
A new addition to Ebey Bowl’s offerings is karaoke. The first night will be from 7-11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15. Wisdom is excited because it will be family friendly, and encourages kids to participate.
“If a 5-year-old kid wants to sing “I’m a little tea pot,” she can do that if she wants to,” Wisdom said.
Wisdom’s goal is to make Ebey Bowl a place families and community members want to come and enjoy.
“It’s all about giving families a nice, fun place to go,” Wisdom said.