After 33 years, a Central New York business is closing its doors, leaving a legacy of laughter, love, and family. "It was a place where you felt at home."

Adirondack Diner and Lanes in Trenton has been in business since 1987. Fitz Hardiman, the father of Tim Hardiman, of Tailor and The Cook, bought the business that was once Sportsman's Lanes back then. As his son puts it,  he's "been working every @#$&? day since then. No joke."

Photo provided by Tim Hardiman
Photo provided by Tim Hardiman

Tim Hardiman penned (okay, Facebook-ed) a beautiful tribute to his father, Fitz, on the eve of his retirement, capturing what it meant to his father, to his family, and to the community to have what was truly a labor of love for his Dad, and later his Dad's wife, Millie. It's a story that any small business owner will relate to, and everyone else should take the time to read.

Tim describes what it took for his Dad to really be successful running a small business, in spite of a great staff, and the sacrifices that were made. "It didn't take long for my Dad to become that bowling alley. He was always handy, but in order to tackle those bowling machines, he traveled to Muskegon, Michigan and the Brunswick headquarters to learn how to diagnose, repair, and maintain the 8 bowling machines and the lanes that led to them."

Tim describes missing his dad while he was gone, but "he came back a bowling machine mechanic extraordinaire, but the funny thing is - even though he was just a mile up the road, sometimes he might as well have been in Michigan. Don't get me wrong - Dad was there when I needed him. But that Bowling Center became his life's work. It had to. This was not one or two, but THREE businesses in one: a bowling center, a bar, and a restaurant. Dad defined an entrepreneur. What he didn't know about running this business, he learned. He learned it out of necessity and out of determination to succeed. He learned it because this was HIS business."

Fitz Hardiman didn't just build a successful business, he "built and maintained a remarkable youth bowling program, and was instrumental in the formation of the HPCS Varsity Bowling team. He taught the game of bowling to so many of us."

Beyond that, Fitz built a place an entire community could call home, "that is what Fitz cultivated at Adirondack Lanes - a neighborhood place where you could bring your family, meet your friends or make some new ones. Adirondack Lanes has a lot to offer: Great Food, Cold Drinks, Good Times... but most of all, I think it's just a place where you could feel welcome and AT HOME."

Now, after 30 years, millions of cups of coffee, and eggs over easy, thousands of burger, and, Tim estimates, roughly 171,600 lb of haddock - on Saturday, the doors to Adirondack Diner and Lanes will close. Fitz and Millie, a valued employee who later became Fitz's wife, will finally retire. "And on Sunday morning, when he opens his eyes as a retired man, he can roll over and put his arm around Millie, and they can go back to sleep," writes Tim.

To read Tim's tribute to his father and to the legacy of his Dad's business, see below. And grab a tissue.

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