Dirty Jersey to close, leaving Kamloops with one less pub, bowling alley and concert venue

One of the most well-known pubs on the North Shore is shutting down.

The Dirty Jersey, attached Bowlertime, will be closing in the first week of October, says owner Lance Lestander, after the owners of the building gave him 90 days.

Lestander says the business' financial situation has been tight, and new changes including a higher minimum wage, rising food costs and an expected increase from the liquor board increased that pressure.

"We battle the bank, trying to service all our debt," he says. "Everyone in this industry is battling the same things."

In addition to pressure on the pub side, maintenance of Bowlertime also caused issues.

"The lanes have to be 35 years old; they don't just run themselves," he says. "There's daily maintenance."

Despite the stress caused by the bowling alley, he says its closure is what he'll likely be saddest about.

"We have the brain injury group in, seniors' homes," he says. "A lot of times, it's their only day out."

However, he points out bowling alleys don't seem too financially stable these days, and says he's heard of three other B.C. bowling centres shutting their doors this year.

On top of that, he adds that summertime is a "horrid" time for bowling alleys, as people head to patios and barbecues.

Along with the bowling alley, the city is losing another music venue, one aimed at smaller bands just getting going in the industry.

"We've had some pretty good music here," Lestander tells KamloopsMatters. "And we've always supported local."

Local promoter Drew McLean with Kammerce Promotions started his business booking shows through The Dirty Jersey, and says it's disappointing for things to end, especially for young bands.

"Honestly, particularly for the local bands to cut their teeth in, it's always been great for that," McLean says. "It eliminates a venue that could easily facilitate 50 or 60 people; the reality is that most of the other venues, with only 50 to 60 attending, it's not worthwhile.

"It was a receptive venue to booking anything."

Lestander was notified on July 1, and says he's let his 20 staff members know. While they're not happy about the impending closure, he says they've all agreed to stay on until the last day, adding they might be hoping for a Hail Mary (which he calls as likely as winning the lottery). Once the doors do shut, he says he'll help his staff out.

"Pretty sure EI will have an option for some; others will have no problem getting a job," he says. "I'll help any way I can."

He adds that he's still on good terms with management at Coppertree Holdings, the owners of the property, calling them "unbelievable people" and noting that it was something more akin to a "mutual agreement." He says he's not sure what the plan for the space is yet.

"There's no silver lining," he says "It's a sad day. ... Just got to carry on, it's not the end of the world."

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