Bingo! A new tenant for bowling alley

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Dorman Center Bingo fundraiser will move from Simpsonville to Midland Trail

By Todd Martin

The Dorman Center Bingo operation will be moving back to Shelbyville but a date isn’t quite set yet.

Kitty Simpson, who is on the board for the early intervention preschool and runs the bingo fundraisers with her husband, Scott, said the group was set to move into the former Bluegrass Bowling Center building, 1857 Midland Trail in Shelbyville, starting Friday, but now they’re going to have to wait.

“We’re unsure when we’ll get to move now because of a permitting issue, but it will all work out,” she said. “We’re a little disappointed we can’t move now, but we’re going to remain open in Simpsonville until we move. People that want to keep up with it can follow us on Dorman Center Bingo Facebook page.”

Larry Rogers, who owns the building, said the bingo games will be there for the long haul and that it’s not just a short-term move.

“It’s going to be long term,” he said. “We will continue to own the building, but we’re planning on them being there for a while.”

Although they can’t move in soon, Simpson said she and her husband are excited to open the new venue, which they’ve been working on for the last couple months.

“It’s totally different,” she said. “Hopefully we can even open it up for wedding receptions and parties, too. There are no venues in this area for a reception with more than 150 people, but we’ll have room for it.”

That larger size is precisely why the group is moving, Simpson said.

“We had just outgrown the place [in Simpsonville],” she said. “We’re averaging about two hundred people a night.

“So now we’ve gone from little to just huge.”

The former bowling alley, clothing manufacturing facility and warehouse will house about 700, she said. “We won’t have to turn anyone away anymore.”

Since Simpson and the Dorman Center Bingo began seven years ago in the building that now houses Tractor Supply in the Midland Square Shopping Center, it has grown tremendously.

“Oh, we used to be happy to get 65 people when we were up there,” she said. “We got up to about 150 people a session there, and that’s when we moved to Simpsonville about five years ago. We were fine at about one hundred and sixty or sixty-five people, but now, at about two hundred or two hundred and fifteen, we just need to move again.”

Simpson said on the nights they host Cosmic Bingo – played under black lights and featuring glow necklaces and other items – the crowd can get up to 300 or more.

She also added that moving back to Shelbyville seems appropriate because the Dorman Center is located in town.

“It’s good to be in the immediate community of the Dorman Center,” she said. “We may lose a few players from Louisville because it’s about five miles further, but hopefully, since we’re close to the expressway [Interstate 64], we won’t.

“I do think we’ll pick up some players because we’ll be within walking distance of a lot more people. We loved Simpsonville, and it was a great building for us, but I think this is going to be really good for us.”

Currently the building will house only Dorman Center Bingo, which by law can only operate two nights a week. Simpson said if another charity can be found and is interested, they could add up to another two nights per week.