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Moore bowling center won't be rebuilt after tornado

Property where AMF Moore Lanes once stood has been sold, and it won't be developed as a bowling alley.
by Brianna Bailey Modified: December 14, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: December 14, 2013

The merger was part of AMF's bankruptcy reorganization.

Narrow escape

Fisher and two other employees fled the bowling alley in another manager's car just a few minutes before the May 20 tornado plowed through the building.

Employees initially thought they could ride out the storm by hiding inside the bowling machines, but decided to outrun the storm when local TV news reported that the tornado was headed directly for Moore Lanes.

Fisher tried to lock the doors as they fled the building.

“Don't even worry about it,” Fisher recalls his fellow manager telling him.

Fisher could see the massive funnel cloud approaching as they drove south toward Norman. When the workers returned, the building had been leveled.

Business, jobs gone

It took Fisher a week to find his car after the May 20 tornado — the storm scooped up the vehicle from the Moore Lanes parking lot and tossed it onto the other side of Interstate 35.

Although he's found temporary work as a part-time substitute teacher, Fisher is still in search of a more permanent position.

Moore Lanes employed 28 people, all of whom were laid off over the summer after the May 20 tornado. The company told the bowling center employees only that Moore Lanes would be closed for the foreseeable future, several employees said.

“The company didn't tell us anything,” said former AMF Moore Lanes assistant manager Jo Hess said. “There was no communication on what they were going to do, or whether they were going to rebuild.”

Hess has since taken a tax course and will begin working at H&R Block for the upcoming tax season.

Stubblefield was able to transfer to the AMF Windsor Lanes bowling center near NW 23 Street and Meridian in Oklahoma City, but the commute was too long and she quit after a few months to work at a Moore restaurant.

Although the company gave the Moore Lanes employees generous severance packages that included payouts for all of the workers' accrued vacation time plus two extra weeks of paid leave on top of additional severance pay in some cases, many workers felt like they were never given answers from the company as to why the center would not be rebuilt, several former employees said.

“AMF didn't owe us any explanation, but some of us felt like we had earned an explanation,” Fisher said.

by Brianna Bailey
Business Writer
Brianna Bailey has lived in Idaho, Germany and Southern California, but Oklahoma is her adopted home. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and has worked at several newspapers in Oklahoma and Southern...
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