Photofinishing and bowling are just a little of what this family has brought to Morgantown over the generations.
When Steve Lorenze Jr. was in high school in Morgantown in the early 1950s, he drove a circuit for the family business. He picked up rolls of film to be developed from as far south as Fairmont, West Virginia, and north to Uniontown, Pennsylvania, then delivered fresh negatives and prints. What had started as his father’s, Steve Sr.’s, hobby was becoming Superior Photo Service, a Morgantown go-to for half a century. Steve Jr.’s mother, Florence, worked at the business, too, and later, his younger brother joined in.
Steve Sr.’s parents had come over from Norcia, Italy, around the turn of the century. He was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in 1913. But by 1930, the family was living in Morgantown, and Steve Sr.’s father was working in one of the glass factories. Steve Sr. married Florence Lucci in 1934, and they had three kids: Steve Jr., Sandy, and Jimmy.
Steve Jr. was still driving that photofinishing circuit when he and his high school sweetheart, Ginger Lee Sanders, were married in 1954. They settled in Westover and, over the following decade, had children Cindy, Jerry, and Gregg. Like Steve Sr. when he was a young father, Steve Jr. had a hobby, too: He liked to bowl. He bowled in a league at Mr. Schulz’s Suburban Lanes outside town on two-lane Chestnut Ridge Road. In 1964, Schulz offered to finance Steve’s purchase of the business—and, again like his father, his hobby became his job. Superior Photo ultimately became brother Jimmy’s operation, and Steve and Ginger’s children grew up pitching in at the bowling center. “I helped out at the front desk and even in the back with the machines,” says Jerry, today operator and co-owner with other family members. “My brother and sister and I were all involved in the grassroots of it—we were cheap help!” he laughs. When Steve Jr. opened The Old Mill Club beside the bowling center in the mid-’70s, the kids sometimes bused tables and washed dishes.
It was a hard-working, family-centered lifestyle with a lot of appeal. “As I grew up, I had a love for this business,” Jerry says, and he went straight into it from St. Francis High School. Gregg got a business degree at WVU, then joined Jerry at Suburban Lanes. And Cindy married and lived for some years in Moundsville before the couple came to Morgantown to raise their kids.
In the late ’80s, Steve Jr. closed The Old Mill Club, and he soon turned his attention to an exciting new venture with his friends Milan Puskar and Parry Petroplus: Platinum Properties. Among other projects, Platinum Properties played a major role in the redevelopment of the Wharf District. Its highest-profile projects, in partnership with WVU, the City of Morgantown, and others, included One and Two Waterfront Place, where WVU administrative offices and the Waterfront Marriott operate today, as well as the riverside building where Table 9 is located.
Jerry and Gregg missed The Old Mill Club and, in 1994, they got the idea for Kegler’s—“kegler” means “bowler” in German—a casual-dining companion to the bowling center. And they added Stefano’s, named for their father, in 2008 for an upscale dining experience. Over the years, the family’s real estate holdings expanded to include the lots surrounding Suburban Lanes as well as rental properties in other locations. The family also owns the Euro-Suites hotel and a second bowling center, Emerson Lanes, in Parkersburg.
Entrepreneurship runs strong in the family. Jimmy’s son David, cousin to Cindy, Jerry, and Gregg, is a principal at Black Diamond Realty. And it extends to the fourth generation, too. Of Cindy’s two children, her son, Matthew, runs Emerson Lanes. One of Jerry’s two daughters, Alexis, opened and runs Personally Yours women’s and children’s boutique in the retail area behind Suburban Lanes. And two of Gregg’s four daughters, Katie and Stephanie, work with the businesses.
Lorenze family causes have long included the Red Cross and Wounded Warriors. Closest to Steve Jr.’s heart, though, has been WVU Medicine Children’s, where, in 2021, the family capped a long series of annual donations in the tens of thousands of dollars with a donation of $1 million. The gift honors the late Ginger Lorenze’s lifelong passion for children.
Jerry appreciates what his family has been able to achieve in Morgantown. “Dad would tell me stories about how they would look in the couch for quarters so they could go to the drive-in movie,” he says. “Our family grew with the town, and it’s been a good thing to be able to thrive as we have.”
Steve Jr. expands on that. “Morgantown means the world to our family,” he says. “All of our family has stayed here. We’re all together, one happy family—we’ve been blessed.”