THE WORLD'S ONLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE BUSINESS OF BOWLING
PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager email@example.com Skype: scottfrager
8 SHORTS • Pat Ciniello receives 54th Sam Levine Flowers for the Living Award • Blanding, UT, embraces bowling • Bay Tek welcomes Ryan Cravens and Sammy Harrison • Intercard brings on board Brad Solomon • Escape rooms are on the rise at Creative Works
BEYOND BOWLING 38 Interesting Interview: Bill Diamond
44 Feature: First Impressions
52 OFF THE CLOCK The ‘Bowling Lady’ Who Chases Storms Yvonne Bennett, executive director of the Bowling Centers Association of Wisconsin, has a passion for photography and shiny things.
16 FEATURE It’s Showtime!
By Marci Williams
Music and theater help established Minneapolis and Cleveland centers survive and thrive. By Mark Miller
Snapshots of good times at Bowl Expo.
28 COVER STORY
By David Garber
Ronald McDonald Strikes Big in Canada
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jackie Fisher firstname.lastname@example.org
ART DIRECTION & PRODUCTION Designworks www.dzynwrx.com (818) 735-9424
FOUNDER Allen Crown (1933-2002)
12655 Ventura Boulevard Studio City, CA 91604 (818) 789-2695(BOWL) Fax (818) 789-2812 email@example.com
A Grand Ole Time in Nashville
By Robert Sax
OFFICE MANAGER Patty Heath
55 TRADE SHOW
Ed Sousa, Classic Bowl and Bowl Canada help to keep Canadian families in medical crisis close to each other and the care they need through the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities.
David Garber Patty Heath Paul Lane George McAuliffe Mark Miller Robert Sax Marci Williams
By Patty Heath
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER David Garber
57 Classifieds 62 Datebook 44
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EXPANSIONS, OPENINGS & NEW BEGINNINGS
DORAL, FLORIDA, WELCOMES KINGS BOWL
Glittering lounge in Kings Bowl Doral.
CityPlace, Doral, FL, an urban hub with more than 40 restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, has welcomed the opening of Kings Bowl Doral. This is Kings Bowl’s tenth location, having originated in Boston. The 20,000-square-foot complex has themed rooms, full-service lounges, private dining and gathering spaces, 14 lanes of bowling and a four-lane private bowling suite. A rum room/lounge will feature more than 30 rum varieties from all over the world.
Four-lane private bowling
SUCCESSFUL IDEAS ON THE MOVE
A GROUP EFFORT
TAVERN+BOWL Southern California-based Tavern+Bowl opened its first Arizona location in the Westgate Entertainment District of Glendale, AZ. The 18,243-square-foot space features 12 bowling lanes, a full restaurant, billiard tables, shuffleboard, a large outdoor patio, and an indoor/outdoor bar. Tavern+Bowl also opened one of the city’s first microbreweries, Good Bad Ugly Brewing Co., on site. Tavern+Bowl has four California locations throughout the San Diego and Orange counties. “We are thrilled with our newest location opening at Westgate and believe there’s no better place to begin our expansion outside of California,” said Dan Hurd, owner of Tavern+Bowl.
Osmond, NE, is the quintessential community, pulling together to get things done. That’s what happened when the town’s bowling center of 50 years, Spare Time Alley, closed. The longtime owners retired and Osmond woke up without their six lanes of entertainment. Dennis Kuhn, an Osmond resident, said, “A group of us decided not to give up on it [the center] yet. We’re a strong-knit community here in Osmond, and we wanted to keep this going.” Kuhn is part of a group that recently bought the building and has begun renovating it in their spare time. According to Kuhn, bowling has always been a tradition. “It draws the whole town together a little bit.” The renovation schedule is at the mercy of the weather, since some of the group also farm full-time, but Kuhn says they hope to be back open for business mid-summer.
THE GUTTER The Gutter opened in Brooklyn in 2007. With its popularity entrenched, it has now moved to Long Island and opening a second location in Long Island City. The new venue, housed in a converted taxi garage, will have eight lanes for bowlers, as well as a bar.
ALSO HAPPENING All-Star Alley & Tavern, Syracuse, NY, has replaced Revolutions which closed in January. Managed by Trifecta Management Group, the venue includes 24 bowling lanes, a restaurant and two bars, plus private VIP areas, billiard tables and an arcade with a prize store. Pin Deck will open inside the Scene 75 Entertainment Center in Miami Township, OH. The concept will include 12 lanes of regulation bowling in a lounge setting, TVs, billiard tables, shuffleboard, table tennis and foosball. Pin Deck will have food and beverage service with seating for 200 people and a custom-built bar. The opening has yet to be announced. Strike Zone Entertainment Center is now open in Sebastian, FL. The new venue includes 14 bowling lanes, a 3,000-square-foot laser tag arena, an arcade, darts, a golf simulator, TVs throughout, a full-scale restaurant and bar, two pool tables, and a party and conference room. The old Superbowl in Gillespie, IL, which has been family-owned and operated for more than 50 years, is now known as Besserman Superbowl. Harold and Tressa Besserman are the new owners. HeyDay Entertainment of Norman opened its second location in the former home of Red Pin Bowling Lounge in Oklahoma City. Four lanes of duckpin bowling are the main attraction at Hi and Dry, a bar-restaurant in Cleveland, OH, Tremont area. Hole Bowl of Jackson, WY, has reopened after four months when the roof of the adjoining Sears collapsed under the weight of snow and ice. The damage forced Hole Bowl to close. Without power the wood lanes contracted and had to be professionally fixed. Cinergy Entertainment Group, Inc. announced that it has applied for a building permit in Amarillo, TX, and intends to begin construction in August. The proposed 90,000-square-foot building will feature multiple escape rooms, two full-service bars, eighteen lanes of upscale bowling and ten stateof-the-art auditoriums, a Sky Walker ropes course with a zip line, plus event rooms. August 2017
PAT CINIELLO AWARDED THE 54TH SAM LEVINE FLOWERS FOR THE LIVING AWARD Pat Ciniello, Bonita Springs, FL, is the winner of one of bowling’s most prestigious honors, the Sam Levine Flowers for the Living Award, sponsored by IBI. The award has been given to outstanding people in bowling since 1961 and was presented to Ciniello at Bowl Expo in Nashville. The premise is to acknowledge people now rather than after they pass. A pat on the back, a shout-out to their accomplishments while they can appreciate the accolade is the foundation of the award. Some past recipients have been: Chuck Pezzano, Nov 1976; Dick Weber, Nov. 1979; Chris Schenkel, Jun. 1999; Elaine Hagin, Jun. 2009; and Jim Dressel, Jun. 2011. Jim Goodwin, committee chairman, shared, “Ciniello and his wife Lisa own and operate one of the most successful bowling center companies in the world, Bowland Centers of Southwest Florida, but Pat has taken his career in bowling to even greater heights by serving as Chairman of the Board of QubicaAMF; by leading the International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum for many years during which he was instrumental in moving the facility from St. Louis to Texas to become a part of the International Bowling Campus; and by serving on numerous BPAA committees, and state and local boards, and projects for decades.” With his business acumen, Ciniello, in 2014 and 2015, entered the Family Entertainment Center business with two FECs, Headpinz, and an homage to bowling of the past, with four old-time alleys called Pinboyz Bowling Alleys in his Fort Meyers Headpinz. Committee member Cathy DeSocio said, “His honest and cheerful approach to business and life is what makes us proud to present him with this honor.”
FOR CREATIVE WORKS, ESCAPING IS THE LATEST AND GREATEST Infinite Escapes is Creative Works’ new escape room attraction. The WOW company has installed these fun-filled experiences at three new facilities: Adventure Quest Laser Tag in Louisiana; Funopolis in Georgia; and Eastern Shore Lanes in Alabama. Escape rooms are exploding in popularity and are perfect for experience-driven FECs. In these attractions, guests progress through a series of rooms to find clues and solve puzzles to escape. Creative Works currently offers two themes for its Infinite Escapes: Pharaoh’s Revenge and Inventor’s Workshop. Pharaoh’s Revenge is designed to be an ancient stone structure at an archaeological dig site. Guests travel deeper into the Egyptian tomb to solve puzzles and break the Pharaoh’s curse. The Inventor’s Workshop recreates Victorian-era England with a steampunk twist. Guest/detectives must find the recently deceased inventor’s will before the bank arrives. 10
PEOPLEWATCHING Bay Tek Games has brought on two new players for its marketing team. Ryan Cravens has started as the business development manager, a new position within the organization, where he will be focusing on product innovation and growth. Sammy Harrison is the marketing manager, with her eyes on brand communication and Ryan Cravens strategy for Bay Tek Games, as well as sub-brands such as Skee-Ball. Most recently, Cravens was a sales and marketing manager for Andamiro, an amusement game manufacturer based in Seoul, South Korea. Prior to that, he spent five years at Betson Sammy Harrison Enterprises. Harrison has been in advertising and has spent the last five years working on brand and product development for a Wisconsin manufacturer. She will work at Bay Tek Games headquarters in Pulaski. Intercard, a market leader in debit card technology for the casino and amusement industries, has hired 25-year veteran of the telecommunications and software industries, Brad Solomon as its sales manager for North America. He has extensive expertise in technical sales and operations, business development, technical support and customer service. He has Brad Solomon worked with technology and software providers world-wide including Mavenir, Metformx, Amdocs and Sigma Systems.
WATCH THE CRACK THAT GETS ATTENTION Liquid-Plumr is well aware that its product is less than exciting—unless you need it! A series of commercials was created to address that. Saucy but not sexual and very memorable, these cheeky commercials show various people and their plumber’s cracks. IBI selected a bowler. The tag line, “There’s a Plumr in all of us,” plus the Rosemary Clooney’s song, “Too Marvelous for Words,” which plays throughout definitely creates a strike!
ß BITS & PIECES ß ß ß IBMA Awards Chuck Pezzano Scholarship
The International Bowling Media Association has selected a winner for the $5,000.00 Chuck Pezzano Scholarship, presented by the Billiards and Bowling Institute of America. James (Jimmy) Sullivan was chosen from among thirty-seven applicants, the most in the seventeen-year history of the award. Sullivan, a high school senior from Dumont, NJ, will Jimmy Sullivan be attending Fordham University in the fall. Sullivan is an avid sports fan and plans on a career in sports journalism. ---------------------------------------------------------------
Inaugural Africa Nations Cup
Bowling has not found the continent of Africa particularly hospitable. However, the bowling industry and the Tenpin Bowling Association of South Africa are changing that. They recently held the first ever Tenpin Bowling Africa Nations Cup. Three countries, Ethiopia, Mauritius and South Africa, participated in the tournament which was aimed at making bowling popular throughout the continent. The South African team went on to win the inaugural competition. The hope is this will be the springboard and more African countries will participate in future events. ---------------------------------------------------------------
Atairos has Bowlmor AMF’s back
Michael Angelakis, Comcast’s former vice chairman, who manages the $4 billion Comcast-backed investment firm Atairos, now has a financial stake in bowling center operator Bowlmor AMF, which modernizes rundown centers into hipster hangouts and family attractions. Terms were not disclosed, but Atairos representatives are expected to join Bowlmor AMF’s board. The ownership position was previously held by hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management LP. While CEO Tom Shannon has grown the company, starting from six centers in 2013 to over 300 today, the company, according to Bob Fernandes of Phillynews.com, Bowlmor AMF reported a net loss of $1.5 million in 2016 and a loss of $46.6 million the prior year. ---------------------------------------------------------------
The Air Force goes bowling this summer
Air Force installations across the U.S. have welcomed the Kids Bowl Free (KBF) program. Jon Grammer, the Air Force Services Activity director of programs, said, “Bowling is a social activity that helps build and sustain readiness and resilience among our Airmen and their families.” According to Dustin Schmidt, the Air Force bowling program manager, more than 11,000 kids have signed up at more than 70 Air Force centers.
BOWLING BOOK CORNER Who says bowling balls don’t have adventures? Not according to Joan Lodge, a grandmother who takes inspiration from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In her latest book, Barry Bowling Ball’s Adventure, Barry embarks on a quest to become the very best bowling ball. Lodge is extremely fond of bowling and children. She finds much value in children bowling for sport and leisure. Barry is an orange bowling ball. He is, unfortunately, not the favorite of those at Mr. Gordon’s alley. However, Barry comes to realize he is just as likeable as all the other bowling balls. Different is not always a bad thing. Lodge’s Barry Bowling Ball’s Adventure can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites. A little summer reading with the kids is just the ticket after a few games of bowling.
IN REMEMBRANCE A visionary who put the Wisconsin Dells recreation area on the map has passed. Andrew ‘Turk’ Waterman, 77, definitely left his mark. He transformed Wisconsin Dells into a year-round destination. Besides Noah’s Ark and Great Wolf Lodge, in 2007, Turk opened Knuckleheads, an 80,000-square-foot bowling and FEC (IBI ’s cover story for June 2011). The Waterman family has been part of the hospitality industry since 1895 when it purchased the Rose Hotel in downtown Wisconsin Dells and renamed it the Waterman Hotel. Turk is survived by his wife, Judy, their four children and 10 grandchildren.
BOWLING FOR RHINOS The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) hosts “Bowling for Rhinos” on a yearly basis to raise funds for endangered rhinoceros species in Kenya, India, and Indonesia. “There are fewer than 100 left in the wild; they are critically endangered; and, we want to make sure they stick around for years to come,” says Mike Bona, a zoo keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo and president of AAZK L.A. Chapter. Here are just a few of the centers across the country helping the AAZK raise funds: Jewel City Bowl – Glendale, CA; City Limits East – East Lansing, MI; Pinboy’s at the Beach – Virginia Beach, VA; Sunset Lanes – Beaverton, OR; Circle Bowl – Baton Rouge, LA; Cranston Lanes - Cranston, RI; Wynnewood Lanes – Ardmore, PA. OTHER FURRY CRITTERS GETTING HELP The annual Save the Chimps was held at St. Lucie Lanes in Port St. Lucie, FL. Funds raised for this year’s “Bowling for Bananas” aids Fort Pierce’s Save the Chimps, an active lifestyle community for retired chimpanzees. Arizona’s Happy Tails Animal Rescue’s “Bark Bowl” raised funds for medical care and food for rescued dogs at Mesa East Bowl, Mesa, AZ. Deming Animal Guardians hosted its first-ever “Bowling for Fur Balls” tournament at Starmax Bowling Center, in Deming, NM. The proceeds will support spay and neuter programs in the area. TENPINS & MORE ONCE AGAIN HOSTS ARCA BOWLATHON Steve Mackie’s Tenpins & More in Rio Rancho, NM, with benefactor Bob Scanlon, who underwrites the day, held the 9th annual ARCA Bowlathon, benefitting hundreds of adults with developmental difficulties. It was expected to raise between $90,000 to $100,000 after garnering over three-quarters of a million dollars in its first eight years. What is your center doing? Email Patty Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blanding is a small town. Nestled in San Juan County in the state of Utah, it is sometimes described as the gateway to several national recreation areas, one being Monument Valley, and Navajo and Ute Native American reservations. Its population was a whopping 3,668 in 2014, up by 293 from 2010. Quaint, with lots of outdoor activities at hand, the curse of a small town is that same-ole, same-ole. However, four years ago, the owners of the Canyon Country Fuel Center decided to add a little pazzazz. Along with the A&W restaurant and the gas station/convenience store, they added bowling lanes. Eight lanes to be exact. As told to KSL.com, Craig Stanley, store manager, said, “The convenience store, A&W, was okay, but it wasn’t pulling its own weight. When we added the bowling alley, it changed everything and it started pulling its own weight.” The lanes are regulation and bowling leagues have been set up for the locals. Another store manager, Rick Robuck, said, “It’s something that’s maybe not dramatic, but it does increase the quality of life here. It does give you a chance to do something with your kids or your school.”
CALIFORNIA SMALL BUSINESSES OF THE YEAR The California Small business of the Year awards were presented during a luncheon as part of California Small Business Day™ 2017, an annual program sponsored by volunteer small business organizations throughout the state. The event was held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento. Small Business Day was initiated by the California State Assembly in 2000 to recognize those among the state’s 3.3 million small businesses which are leaders in their communities. Two Northern California bowling centers were acknowledged. Cameron Lee, GM of Pins N Strikes, Elk Grove, 14
received an award from the 9th District Assemblyman Jim Cooper. GM Mike Leon accepted the award for Bel Mateo Bowl, San Mateo, from 13th District Senator Jerry Hill. In Southern California, GM Scott Frager received the award for Pinz Entertainment Center, Studio City, from Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, 46th District. Award winners are (left to right) Cameron Lee, Pins N Strikes, Elk Grove; Scott Frager, Pinz Entertainment Center, Studio City; Mike Leon, Bel Mateo Bowl, San Mateo.
IT’S SHOWTIME! Music and theater help already established Minneapolis and Cleveland centers survive and thrive. By Mark Miller
inneapolis and neighbor St. Paul are well known for their extensive theater communities. Cleveland is home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. With both areas having longstanding affections for bowling, it’s no wonder they have found happiness together. First, at Bryant-Lake Bowl, southwest of Minnesota’s largest city; then at Mahall’s 20 Lanes, directly west of the second-largest city in Ohio, the once-iconic kegling venues were renovated and restored. Both include stages where various forms of entertainment still happen nearly every night, leading to two successful businesses and the revival of two neighborhoods. Though 756 miles apart, they share a bond few other communities can match. The stories of how they reached that point are as unique as the venues.
BRYANT – LAKE BOWL Bryant-Lake Bowl supposedly opened as a Ford automobile garage in the 1920s before being converted 16
to bowling sometime in the 1930s. In the 80s and 90s, the original coffee shop was a hangout for rugby players from the nearby University of Minnesota, including Kim Bartmann. A kitchen cook during her college days, Bartmann vowed to never work at a restaurant again after once being fired for burning her hand and another time for attending a funeral. “It hasn’t always been the greatest environment for workers and I’ve always been focused on that,” says owner Bartmann, who also owns seven restaurants plus a summer concession in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. She channeled that focus into her first business, a coffee shop called Café Wryd in 1991 that a Bryant-Lake Bowl owner Kim Bartmann. decade later morphed into Café continued on page 20...
FEATURE ...continued from page 16
Barbette. Bryant-Lake was next in 1993. “I really wanted to open a beer and wine bar that had an expresso machine where everybody could hang out, which was really uncommon at that time,” she said. “I had sober friends and a lot who were into imported beer and that kind of stuff. There was one wine bar in town, and we thought there should be a less expensive place to buy it. I was driving by the BryantLake Bowl one day and thought it would be a perfect place for a wine bar. It was owned by a guy named Bill Drouches, a local bowling hall of famer who had a bunch of trophies above the bar. I got up the gumption to go in and talk to him.” Bartmann recalls that where the theater is now, Drouches had a pool hall and game room with some pinball games — that was the only place he was making any money. Nobody was bowling there anymore. The pro shop was shut down, and the bar was serving 3.2 beer. “It was pretty run down,” remembers Bartmann. “The day I went in to talk to Bill, there was a police officer hanging a security camera in the game room.” At first, Drouches balked at her offer as he thought she, like others interested before her, would rip out the lanes and add more games. When she told him her plan included keeping the lanes, he became interested. “I wanted to have a beer and wine bar and have open bowling all the time, no leagues, so people can feel like they can come and bowl anytime,” she said. “He said, ‘If you can convince the
HARFORD LANES ABERDEEN, MD (20 LANES) Congratulations to Sarah and Marty Letscher for their purchase of Harford Lanes, a 20-lane center in Aberdeen, MD. The Letschers also own McKinley Lanes in Niles, OH. We wish them all the best in the future. David Driscoll, an Associate of Sandy Hansell and Associates, Inc., served as the broker in the transaction.
Bowling’s Only Full-Service Brokers, Appraisers & Financial Advisors
(800) 222-9131 Check out our current listings at www.SandyHansell.com
28200 Southfield Rd., Southfield, MI 48076 20
landlord to do it, then I’ll do it.’ ” Sixty days of intensive remodeling restored the facility to its early days and made Bartmann’s dream a reality. The Bryant-Lake Bowl Cabaret Theater opened at the same time with 85 total seats – 45 on six rows of risers and 40 on the floor. It features a broad mix of music, dance, theater, current event lectures, films, and improvisational comedy. “We split the door [take] with the producers,” Bartmann said. “We provide them with the room and box office and marketing support and learning how to do shows and getting butts in seats. There’s only one or two others like it in the country, but it’s always worked for us. The theater doesn’t make money, but it keeps a steady stream of people who’ve never
been there coming in, and it’s part of a community I like to support.” Bartmann kept the eight wooden lanes, old-fashioned paper scoring and over-the-lane ball returns. Some of the tables in the 75-seat restaurant are made from old lanes. The restaurant has a broad and popular menu featuring craft beers, organic vegetarian and vegan dishes sourced as much as possible from local outlets. Bryant-Lake is located just east of Lake Calhoun between the Uptown and Lyndale areas of Minneapolis. When Bartmann opened it in 1993, it was the hot spot in the neighborhood. Perhaps starting a trend, it now is one of many, and especially thrives in the winter and spring. “It’s really a multi-faceted operation,” said Dave Robinson, who oversees the daily operations of the 45-
FEATURE employee facility which opens at 8 a.m. for breakfast and closes at 2 a.m. every day. “This is a social venue more than anything,” Robinson said. That proves most true on weekends when no reservations are taken. Mondays also are popular thanks to Cheap Date Night where for $28 on Mondays, a couple receives two entrees, two beers or a bottle of wine and one game each of bowling. Since Bryant-Lake Bowl opened, Bartmann’s company, then called Biltwell Restaurants and recently re-named as The Bartmann Group, has added Bat’s Tap, GD’s Café, Red Stag Supper Club, Tiny Diner, a May-October concession called Bread and Pickle adjacent to the Lake Harriet Band Shell, and her newest venue near downtown called Early Bird that opened in April. Bartmann’s concept at Bryant-Lake Bowl was unique when it opened. Few bowling facilities back then offered the type of food her restaurant did and few people seemed to have as much overall fun as Bryant-Lake’s customers. “It’s kind of been a serious theater in a theater town,” Robinson said. “They talk about the Twin Cities having more theater seats than New York City and Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater has kind of been at the forefront of the small theater [movement], supporting a lot of different groups and styles of theater.”
MAHALL’S 20 LANES While Bryant-Lake caters to open bowlers, Mahall’s 20 Lanes, which annually certifies with the United States Bowling Congress, has a mix of competitive and recreational customers. It was pretty much all-competitive when John Mahall opened
it in the Lakewood section of Cleveland in 1924. Sons Arthur and Cornelius took over in 1958, with Arthur’s son, Tom, becoming owner sometime later. The 20,000- square-foot facility is believed to be the oldest continuously operating bowling facility in the state and actually consists of two buildings joined together by a common roof. “It’s unassuming when you walk in because of all the nooks and crannies,” said Colin McEwen, who bought the facility from Tom Mahall in 2011 with wife Kelly Flamos and former brother-in-law Joe Pavlick. “You don’t realize how big the place is.” After partnering in the nonprofit world for several years, the trio knew their varied backgrounds could work in the business world. Pavlick was a mergers and patent attorney in New York, McEwen a former journalist and now public information officer for the City of Lakewood, and Flamos had a background in social work. “We’re not really in this to make money,” McEwen said. “For us, it’s about historic preservation.” They chose Mahall’s, after looking into other ventures, primarily to help revive a quaint, historic neighborhood. The new owners restored the ten original basement lanes to wood two years ago but kept the hand scoring and above-lane ball returns. The upstairs ten lanes, installed in 1958, remain synthetic. “We knew bowling has been on the down swing for more than 30 years, so we knew we needed to do some continued on page 26...
FEATURE ...continued from page 22
different programming to keep this going,” McEwen said. “Obviously we’re passionate about bowling as a sport, but we’re also passionate about this building. We just had to introduce some new revenue streams to keep this business going.” Among those new streams was the resurrection of what had been a pool hall into a main stage for a broad spectrum of up-and-coming and legacy musical acts to perform. It’s proven to be a great decision. “What we learned was the market responded,” McEwen said. “The community responded. The neighborhood has rebounded in some ways. We’ve been told by our local leaders we’re sort of the anchor of the neighborhood. We’ve seen changes within just a couple of blocks of our business. I’m not bragging, but we’re proud people are beginning to reinvest in this particular neighborhood.” None of the partners had any background in bowling. In fact, McEwen was turned off by the sport when his grandfather, Jim Brode, wanted him to learn how to hook a bowling ball as a youngster. “I always tell my mom how strange he would think it is that I’m part of a group that bought a bowling alley,” McEwen said. One of the first decisions was to retain three long-time employees – bowling counter manager, Chris Chabek (45 years); maintenance manager, Curt Brudigan (42 years); and general manager, Sue Shestine (20 years). “We have a team that’s passionate about bowling,” McEwen said. “Chris is the face of the business because he’s the bowling counter guy. Everyone comes in and recognizes him. He’s sort of our rock star.” The ten upstairs lanes replaced the original ballroom where the house musical group was led by the legendary big band, swing, and jazz musician and Lakewood native Sammy Kaye. “It’s interesting that people today say what a great idea that we’ve introduced music into this old bowling alley. We clarify that it’s always been here. It’s been a part of this business from the beginning in 1924,” McEwan said. Downstairs, the lanes feature the old Brunswick Crown masking units and pinsetters. The original brick walls also remain clearly visible. There’s a very small stage near the basement lanes and an even smaller venue in the 2,000-square-foot upstairs apartment that mostly hosts standup comedians. So on any given night, three acts might be performing. “What we identified as the new trend in bowling was entertainment,” McEwen said. “It’s less about the sport and more about entertainment. Basically we’ve capitalized on that.” 26
Besides reinvigorating the music, the new owners created a kitchen known area-wide for its fried chicken. The Food Network already has visited with The Travel Channel scheduled to follow this summer. The famous dish is chicken and donuts that includes three pieces of fried chicken plus two Old Hushers doughnuts. “When we took over, we threw away the freezer and have a very small menu,” McEwen said. “We went for local, fresh ingredients. With a very small menu, we can better control our inventory and source our food locally when we can.” Mahall’s reputation certainly is getting around. In late April, it was chosen as best bowling alley in Cleveland Scene’s Best of Cleveland contest. And around the same time, it was visited by actor
Matthew McConaughey during a break from filming the movie White Boy Rick. “We have a lot of interesting people come through the business,” McEwen said. Such is what happens when places like Mahall’s 20 Lanes and Bryant-Lake Bowl mix bowling with other forms of entertainment. ❖
Mark Miller is a freelance writer, editor, and public relations specialist from Flower Mound, TX. He's the author of Bowling: America's Greatest Indoor Pastime available at Amazon.com or directly from him at email@example.com.
RONALD MCDONALD IN
Ed Sousa, Classic Bowl and Bowl Canada help to keep Canadian families in medical crisis close to each other and the care they need through the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities. By Robert Sax
d Sousa loves football, especially the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only are they his favorite team, but on a beautiful afternoon in October 2010, the “Stillers” inspired him to become a charity fundraising powerhouse in the Canadian bowling industry. During the game, Ed noticed that the players were sporting pink mouth guards, pink-accented boots and pink towels, all in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ed had lost his mother and a young nephew to cancer and had been searching
for a big idea he could use to raise money to fund research to fight the disease. “I came to the office on Monday and called a friend of mine, who's in the shoe manufacturing business in China,” says Sousa. “I said ‘Colin, I'm going to start this campaign for breast cancer research, and I need pink bowling shoes.’” The following January, Sousa launched the Knock Down Ed, Marloe, Taryn, Mike, Cash & Ronald McDonald. Photo by Kathryn Harrod .
COVER STORY Cancer campaign at Classic Bowl, the 60-lane center he manages in Mississauga, Ontario near Toronto. That month he rented pink bowling shoes to every customer and donated the proceeds to the Canadian Cancer Society. To date, this now-annual campaign has raised more than C$400,000, the highest total donation yet raised by the Canadian bowling industry for a charity campaign. Sousa has gone on to run additional fundraising campaigns for other causes including Movember (men’s cancers) and Wounded Warriors Canada. That’s an impressive record for a man who reluctantly got into the bowling business at age 16 when his friend’s dad opened up a 32-lane, ten-pin center in Brampton, Ontario. Sousa’s friend suggested they go work there, but he was more interested in playing football. "My friend said, ‘Try it out. If we don't like it, we can always quit,’" recalls Sousa. “So I started as a little pin chaser, a would-be mechanic, and it was great. We had a little mechanics’ room where I could do my homework.” After high school ,Sousa got a business degree in marketing, a skill that has helped him succeed as a proprietor and a fundraiser. The center ownership group that he had been working for part-time asked if he wanted to run the facility. “All of a sudden, it's like 25 years later and to me this industry is by far the best industry to be a part of,” says Sousa, who joined Classic Bowl in 2001 after stints at several other bowling centers. In 2016, Sousa teamed up with Ronald McDonald, the internationally-known spokesclown for McDonald’s restaurants. His goal was to raise money to support Ronald McDonald House in Toronto, one of several special guest houses across Canada that the McDonald’s charity maintains for children with cancer and their families. Sousa’s late nephew Greg had spent a lot of time there during his five-year battle with leukemia, and Sousa knew what a valuable source of support it was for Greg and his family. Sousa took his cue from the annual McHappy Day fundraiser, when McDonald's restaurants in Canada join with their communities to raise money to help children in need across the country. He created McBowl, a fundraiser based on his previous successful events, and took his plan to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) in Toronto for approval. Although RMCH had never held a bowling event, they agreed to sanction McBowl because of Sousa’s passion for the cause and his successful track record with previous events. The first McBowl was held exclusively at Classic Bowl in 2016 and featured bowling tournaments and kids’ and family activities. For fellow football fans, Sousa brought in the Grey Cup, Canada’s professional football trophy, and let visitors be photographed with it if they donated five dollars. Sousa also staged two full-blown concerts at Classic Bowl and charged a modest admission. Two classic Canadian bands, Honeymoon Suite and the Spoons, rocked out on
a stage set up over the lanes. “We had over 800 people attend the concert, and we literally had to turn away hundreds at the door,” says Sousa. “One person drove down from Elliot Lake, which is a nine-hour drive.” The first McBowl raised $22,000, “which is incredible for a first year event that is managed by volunteers,” says Mary Proulx, director of development and communications for RMHC. That summer Sousa pitched Bowl Canada, the trade association, about turning McBowl into a nationwide program. He told executive director Paul Oliveira that McBowl was "an opportunity for our industry … to branch this out across Canada because there are Ronald McDonald Houses in every province in Canada.” Shortly thereafter, at their national annual meeting, the group voted unanimously to support Sousa in expanding McBowl in 2017. “We want to associate our industry with top brands,” says Oliveira. “McDonald’s is a strong brand that means a lot to communities across Canada, and bowling’s association with RMHC reinforces the concept that bowling centres are caring and contributing members of their local communities.”
Groovin' with the Spoons. IBI
Pattykakes about to paint Luca & Barbara. Photo by Kathryn Harrod.
For the second annual McBowl event at Classic Bowl last May 2017, Ronald McDonald himself appeared to roll a few frames, high-five other bowlers and pose for photos with families and kids. Participants could also purchase official McBowl logo merchandise, created by Sousa that included balls, shirts, teddy bears and yes, bowling shoes in the familiar red and yellow McDonald’s colors. The merchandise is also now available online, and there are additional merchandise lines for his other campaigns. Since McHappy Day last May, more than ten centers across Canada have held McBowl events. Sousa hopes to raise “over six figures” from centers large and small; one twelve-lane center in Cornwall, Ontario, raised over $10,000. “In Alberta, the same thing, they raised $10,400,” says Sousa. “A lot of these centers have never participated in anything [like this] but they felt the partnership was so important, and the [fact] that the funds stay locally.” In the province of Alberta, for example, the money raised goes to support the Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton, the provincial capital. Oliveira says that early reports from participating Bowl Canada members indicate that the relationships created with RMHC houses across the country have been very positive. “The bonus to it all is the opportunity for the proprietor to create a relationship with their local McDonald’s restaurant owners,” he says. “Great stories are coming in about their support of McBowl ... the owners are getting to know a little more about the bowling community.”
As talented and dedicated as Sousa is as a fundraiser, he readily acknowledges all the help he has had from his volunteers, supporters and partners. He is especially grateful for the generosity of Karl Fay and Karl Fay Investments, the company that owns Classic Bowl. Since Sousa began putting on fundraisers, KFI has underwritten the cost of the events. The first McBowl, with its two live concerts, cost the company in the six figures. “To set up the stage alone in our facility was about $20,000,” says Sousa. “Whatever I could say about Karl Fay and his entire family simply wouldn't do them justice.” “[McBowl] is definitely one of the most significant volunteer-produced events to date for our charity. It is also the event with the greatest potential to grow, because everywhere there is a
Carmelita, Round-a-bout The Balloon Clown & Rita. Photo by Kathryn Harrod.
Ronald McDonald House, and there are supporters who are bowlers,” says Proulx. Will McBowl spread to the United States? If it does, Sousa will be especially pleased that it started in Canada. When pitching it to his fellow proprietors, he urged them to overcome the supposed “Canadian inferiority complex” and compete with their neighbors south of the border. “Don’t wait for the Americans to tell us that it’s a good idea,” he said. Ed Sousa may be a proud fan of an American football team, but he’s an even prouder Canadian.❖
Robert Sax is a writer and PR consultant in Los Angeles. He grew up in Toronto, Canada, the home of five-pin bowling.
Classic Bowl staff, Kris, Evan, Jonathan, Tahir, Rose, Nick & Michael. Photo by Kathryn Harrod. 30
According to George oy, it feels like we just left Bowl Expo and now we’re into August and the back-to-school season is upon us. Speaking of Bowl Expo, I’m sure those who attended will agree that it was a great show in Nashville. It was very well attended and a great buzz of excitement on the trade show floor and in the seminar rooms. My first Bowl Expo was eleven years ago. As an FEC guy with a recent experience of how bowling, arcade, and family entertainment attractions worked well together, I was there to learn about the bowling side of the business. AAMA, the American Amusement Machine Association, had a booth with a dozen games from various manufacturers. Embed, the debit card system provider, had a 10 x 10 booth. That was about it from the FEC side. This year the aisles were full: AAMA was still there but several manufacturers and distributors had their own booths. Debit card and software folks, the laser tag suppliers, and redemption specialists were all there. Perhaps most importantly, the buzz among proprietors included a healthy dose of discussion on arcade and family entertainment. May’s Beyond Bowling marked our fifth anniversary. Yes, it was only five years ago that IBI, the leading bowling industry publication, created this focused quarterly section on the aspects of the bowling entertainment center not directly related to bowling. A lot has happened in that five years as the BEC model proved successful and grew. Inside this section, you’ll read about David Breen’s centers in Massachusetts, which span the center universe: traditional, hybrid, and BEC. David provides his perspective on the value of each.
Check out our showcase of great industry sources and hot products and, finally, our interview with Bill Diamond. Bill was our first interviewee back when we launched Beyond Bowling. As a real estate developer, he become involved in our world accidentally with one location. Now, five years later, his company owns and operates nine BECs with more on the way. As we move forward, we expect the growth to continue. We’ll keep working hard to supply information on products and services to help you to thrive. We thank our loyal advertisers. And we thank you, our readers, for your interest and support and for doing what you do every day as you play your part in entertaining your guests.
George McAuliffe Principal, Pinnacle Entertainment Group
4The Cocktail Hour Have you seen IBI’s The Cocktail Hour Report which is sent twice monthly (or whenever necessary) by David Garber, associate publisher? If not, consider this your invitation to join. This digital newsletter is IBI’s informal way to touch base with friends in the industry and enjoy news, centers far and wide, and other eclectic bowling tidbits of interest, … and to have a little fun as well. Want to sit, put your feet up, sip and read? Email David Garber at Garber@bowlingindustry.com and let him know you want in! By the way, the news is on us; the libation is yours to choose.
Interesting Interview A few minutes with Bill Diamond, CEO, Spins Bowl and Grand Prix New York.
By George McAuliffe Bill Diamond was our first interviewee when we launched Beyond Bowling in Spring, 2012. At that time his company operated one center, Grand Prix New York (GPNY) in Mount Kisco, NY. Back then Bill explained how his real estate company accidently entered the bowling entertainment business when a go-kart tenant defaulted on their lease. Today, the entertainment division of Diamond Properties operates nine entertainment centers in New York and Ohio. 1. Share with us how you went from GPNY to nine centers and counting. After taking over the Grand Prix space, we made some major changes to the operation. After fixing the business, we came to the conclusion that the family entertainment space was an interesting one that could be quite synergistic with our core real estate business. Diamond Properties, a real estate company at heart, has always been known to be extremely entrepreneurial and willing to take calculated risks. We own close to 8,000,000 square feet of commercial space spread out over roughly 65 properties, so the idea of purchasing some older properties that require renovation was not a scary concept for us. We began looking around for older centers and found three centers within a roughly one-hour drive of our corporate headquarters. We decided to purchase all three and that formed the foundation of our Spins Bowl Entertainment Group.
2. Any surprises along the way? I think one interesting thing we have experienced is how adaptable the existing staff is at a traditional bowling center. We have had tremendous luck keeping the legacy teams in 38
place and developing new managers and assistant managers from this same team. Conventional wisdom was that staff at an old bowling center would not be able to handle the required skill set of a new FEC. We have found that is not the case, and 80% of the team is thrilled to come along for the ride and grow with us.
3. You are involved in several other businesses. From a business fundamentals standpoint, what are your favorite aspects of the bowling entertainment business? Well, it certainly does not appear to be one that Amazon will be able to cannibalize quickly. Traditional retail is definitely
INTERESTING INTERVIEW a scary place to be right now, and I believe that is why we are seeing a lot of big money moving into entertainment. We are witnessing roll outs in bowling, trampoline parks, and probably soon go-karting. To me, that is proof that smart money is betting that entertainment could be a stable vertical that can withstand much of the migration towards the online economy. 4. How about challenges? What does our industry need that it doesn’t have? I will answer that in a few ways. For starters, a big challenge is the ever-increasing cost of labor. Government mandates surely do not help us. And it is only going to
get more expensive to maintain a great quality staff. That brings me to my second concern. Our partner vendors need to expedite their development of credible solutions that improve the overall customer experience while simultaneously reducing operating expenses. For example, where is our seamless solution for on-lane ordering of food and beverage — directly through an easy-to-use touchscreen? And in addition, why do our customers still need to go to a front desk to get a lane on a weekday when every lane is sitting vacant? A customer should be able to walk up to any vacant lane, swipe their debit card, and have the lane turn on, as well as pay for shoes at the lane. Paying for shoes through a touchscreen would likely eliminate a major area of theft in the center, which may actually pay for the entire upgrade over time. I can check in a for a flight and pay to check a bag right through a kiosk at the airport, but I cannot get a bowling lane at a center through a touchscreen? Something is wrong with that. And to resolve the ever-increasing shortage of qualified mechanics, why are string machines not allowed for league bowling? How much easier would it be to operate a league center if string machines were allowed? The industry as a whole needs to recognize the challenges of operating in this intensely competitive market and make adjustments for long term success and survival. 5. Can you boil it down to the top three factors for your company’s success? We live by a few principles that guide our corporate culture: 1) Continuous 1% improvements. We continually look for what we are doing wrong and how we can improve, even if it’s just 1% at a time. 2) Calculated risk-taking and mistakes are okay. We are not afraid to take risks and experiment with new ideas and/or
INTERESTING INTERVIEW products. We tell all of our teams throughout our companies that making a mistake is okay, just learn from it. Better to make a decision and move forward than to not make any decision. 3) Perseverance. This may be the most important characteristic in life and/or business.
6. I’ve had the opportunity to see how you work up close. You’re very thorough in your approach to every aspect of the business, from menu to IT to game and attraction selection. Is there a particular process that you follow in evaluating components? I am not sure if we have a formal process in place. A lot of what we do is gut instinct. There is no doubt that there are some really great operators in this vertical, like Main Event, Bowlmor, Round 1, and even other terrific operators with their own model like Punch Bowl Social. We understand and recognize that if we are going to be one of the leaders in the industry, we need to move quickly, invest in and experiment with new technologies and products, and stay relevant in an everchallenging and increasingly competitive market.
What are the different components of your BEC? We all love the redemption arcade component. It’s successful with so many different demographics. We certainly like all of the other activities, whether it is bowling, laser tag, go-karting, escape rooms, ropes courses, etc. We do look at all of these activities independently, and then depending on the space we are renovating or building out, determine which make sense to add to the venue.
What’s coming down the pike? We are going to make some big bets on escape rooms and possibly some really big bets on VR. We just installed our first indoor/outdoor ropes course, and we are going to try and start installing as many of these as we can outside our bowling centers. At least where we can get town approval which is not always the easiest.
in suburbs, so we have what we think is a good overall product for a wide demographic segment. Our overall design and DNA is targeted at a Millennial crowd, understanding that if we can attract that demo, then we probably appeal to the other demographics by default.
10. What are the next phases for expansion? Your vision for the next five years? We started this group about four years ago. We now have nine locations. Our goal is to get to 20–25 locations within the next five years. We look at a lot of centers for sale, and when we find one that meets our criteria, we move relatively quickly in acquiring it. We recently bought two centers in Ohio, and we have both under extensive renovation at the moment.
11. Any other wisdom to share? We all know that it is a great time to be in this industry. We luckily, for now at least, do not have the Amazon threat looming directly over us, and the product we offer seems to be increasingly popular across multiple demographics. The flip side of this is that there are really big operators that are keenly aware of this. And, they are backed by large private equity groups. Together they have tremendous resources, smart and capable management, and aggressive expansion plans. As a $500,000,000+ real estate group, I feel grateful that my organization has the financial wherewithal, the management team, and most importantly, the perseverance, to hopefully go toe to toe with any operator in the space. I wake every morning knowing full well that we may unfortunately find ourselves facing one of these large, well organized top tier operators moving into one of our territories. We are preparing for this each day. We know the proverbial winter is coming, and we are getting ready. I recommend you do as well.
9. How do you handle the adult vs family customer segments? Does your approach vary by location? We do not really have a problem with this since most of our locations are not in dense urban settings. We are more located 42
George McAuliffe has operated family entertainment centers from 2,000 to 150,000 square feet as a corporate executive and entrepreneur. As a consultant he has helped hundreds of clients add or improve redemption game rooms and FEC attractions. He is currently the principal of Pinnacle Entertainment Group whose clients include Embed, Redemption Plus and Shaffer Distributing Company. He writes for RePlay and International Bowling Industry magazines and speaks at FEC industry conferences.
First Impressions David Breen is all he seems to be – plus a successful proprietor. By Paul Lane
here’s an old saying, “You can only make a first impression once.” The first impression when you meet David Breen, the proprietor of two centers in Massachusetts, is that he’s an outgoing personality, a man with a mission who knows where he is going and how to get there. Subsequent meetings only serve to reconfirm that first impression. This is hardly surprising when you consider Breen’s rich, colorful résumé: former board of directors member of the International Roller Skating Association; former selectman for the town of Mendon, MA; private pilot of fixed-wing, single engine aircraft; radio announcer and on-air talent with a major Boston market radio station; CEO/owner of a real estate management company; CEO/owner Skate Palace Roller Skating and Skate Park; and CEO/owner of two bowling centers in Milford and Kingston, MA. David Breen opened his first center in the town of Milford, MA, in 2006 — a 20-lane facility including a 4-lane private bowling suite, a 200-seat, full-service restaurant, two premium bars, three function rooms, laser tag, billiards, arcade, an outdoor patio and much more.
Breen opened his second center in Kingston, MA, in 2016 and will open a third in Hadley, MA, before the end of 2017. Why the sudden momentum with the opening of two more centers ten years after the first and with two more planned for 2018 we asked. “When we opened our first center, Pinz, in 2006, we had no idea what we were doing,” said Breen. “It was a huge learning David Breen curve, and we made many mistakes along the way. In short, we had to learn the hard way and, for sure, we did not want to replicate our mistakes in multiple venues. We were simply just not ready,” he added. The Milford facility was originally an ice skating rink, later converted to roller skating, and then to a family entertainment center (FEC), including bowling. Roller skating was Breen’s introduction to the recreation and entertainment industry. “We
soon discovered that bowling is an entirely different business with only a few comparisons to roller skating,” said Breen. Unlike the Milford conversion, the second Pinz center, located in Kingston, occupies 36,000 square feet in a redeveloped shopping mall, with access from the parking lot and within the mall. The amenities at Kingston are similar to the Milford center with the addition of a 5,000-square-foot, dual-purpose concert venue and function room called Pinz Live, with a 1,000-1,400 person capacity, depending on usage. When the room is not being used as a live performance venue, the space is available and used for private events and parties. Pinz Live has a fully equipped stage featuring state-ofthe-art lighting and sound for all audio visual needs. The special effects lighting and audio visual systems were provided by New Jersey-based DFX Sound Vision. Mike Bovino, the president of DFX, said, “The Pinz projects include bowling, sports bars, arcades and a nightclub/concert live entertainment venue. We needed to create the wow effect throughout the space while being versatile, energy efficient, easy to operate, and on budget. Versatility was essential throughout each of the venues.” The live entertainment venue had to accommodate small local and large national acts. The bowling area needed the ability to easily switch between environments for party and corporate team building events, birthday parties and fund raising promotions. To accomplish this the system had to include additional audio, video and lighting ports and programming to provide the required flexibility. DFX used digital audio and video processors, VersaLamp high-efficiency, color-changing LED lighting fixtures and Crestron automation systems. All of these systems work seamlessly together from programmable touch panels to achieve the goal. “The concert/function room was already planned in the construction. Being an old radio man [disk jockey and announcer], the idea of a room that could serve as a concert venue appealed to me,” Breen replied. “Typically, we feature local and national bands and singers on an average two nights a week, for example, Friday and Saturday. These are usually sold out with ticket sales averaging 800 to 1,000 a night,” he added. 46
Kingston also features a large restaurant with a 300-seat capacity, which can easily be reconfigured to accommodate up to 400 when necessary. “Having flexibility with space within the various amenities is a key factor for our business,” says Breen. “It enables us to tailor our space and services to meet the needs of any given corporate group or party.” And unlike the Milford facility, Kingston features 16 lanes equipped with string machines from US Bowling Corp. Presently Milford has 20 lanes with traditional AMF 82-90 free-fall pinspotters. “Since we have no leagues whatsoever, string machines from US Bowling are the best option for us. They are energy efficient and virtually maintenance free, and we don’t need a full-time mechanic to service them. On occasion, we may get a die-hard traditional bowler complain that this is not real bowling, but for the most part, that type of customer does not visit our centers. Our customer base is driven by the market segment that’s looking for a fun night out, with bowling, good food, time in the arcade, laser tag or billiards, dinner in our restaurants, and/or a few drinks in our sports bars,” added Breen. David Frewing, president of US Bowling Corp., had this to say about David Breen and his partner, Jim Smith, “These are two people who are focused and who have developed a business model that’s right for the recreation/entertainment market and for their management style. Their choice of string machines from US Bowling is a perfect fit for their customer base. There’s a misconception about string machines that the pins do not fly or score like pins set by a traditional free-fall pinsetter. That’s why, at US Bowling, we do not hide the pins or the strings behind a shield when they are being magically raised or lowered to the pindeck. Everything is in the open which dramatically adds to the recreational bowler’s entertainment value. And, the pins are USBC approved pins that have simply had strings added. Combined with our flat gutters, kickbacks and David Frewing, president of US pindecks that meet all USBC Bowling Corp. specifications, the pins will fly and will react almost the same as free-standing pins. The difference is negligible. This is a rapidly growing trend and 80% of our quotations for bowling center packages today include string machines.” Always on the lookout for something different, David Breen plans to install US Bowling Corp.’s MML-3000 Black Lanes at his next project in Hadley which will open before the end of 2017.
FEATURE The Hadley center will include 8 lanes with string machines and Pulse Scoring from US Bowling, along with a 200-plus seat restaurant, an arcade, sports bar and other amenities similar to his centers in Milford and Kingston. Like Kingston, the Hadley center will be located in a shopping mall with access from the parking lot and inside the mall. All three Pinz locations feature a large arcade with the emphasis on redemption machines. “Redemption machines are very popular, as players like the challenge of earning points and redeeming them for prizes, usually a prize they set as a goal for themselves in terms of earning points. 80% of our arcade games are redemption machines, with the remaining 20% being crane and video games,” said Breen. Pinz specializes in team building, corporate meetings, fundraisers and special occasions like graduations, rehearsal dinners and holiday and birthday parties. Catering options are available for all meetings and events, whether it’s fine dining in a full-service restaurant, or buffet-style catering anywhere within the facility’s various amenities. Depending on the location, Pinz can accommodate groups from 10 to 1,500. And, large groups can arrange for a facility buyout where Pinz becomes their own private playground. The demographics of the three centers are similar in terms of median household income. “Of the three, Hadley has the smallest population, but it enjoys a thriving tourist industry which is a good fit for our business model,” said Breen. “With its bowling, restaurant, sports bar, arcade and other entertainment and recreation amenities, the Hadley facility will be a venue that will attract both locals and tourists.” Each Pinz venue has a general manager and departmental managers or supervisors. With a third venue on the horizon, plus two more in 2018, Pinz has added a regional general manager who interacts with CFO Jim Smith and the general managers. Between them, they share and review P & L reports which enables the department
PINZ BOWL AND THEIR INDUSTRY PARTNERS ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢
Bowling equipment from US Bowling Corporation Lighting and audio-visual by DFX Sound Vision Swipe card system by Intercard Top five redemption games 1. Ticket Time RFID 2. Wizard of Oz 3. Big One Crane Extreme 4. Bar-Ber-Cut 5. Jurassic Park BPAA Member
Note: They own their arcade game machines.
The rock band Fuel’s sold out concert at Pinz’s Kingston location.
managers to monitor performance. The goal is for every department to be independently profitable without one department subsidizing another. The ownership team at Pinz is David and Susan Breen and business partner Jim Smith. David is the CEO and describes himself as the crazy extrovert, the ideas man who creates innovative marketing programs and is hands-on in all aspects of developing the physical properties. Susan Breen manages human resources and sales, including managing the team in the sales offices. Partner Jim Smith is the CFO who works quietly behind the scenes serving as the catalyst in the overall business. “Having a team with contrasting personalities and skills is what it takes in this business, and Susan and my partner Jim Smith are invaluable to our success,” says Breen. The goal for Pinz is to have five centers operating by the end of 2018 or early 2019. All five centers will fall within a 100-mile radius of their head office in Milford, thereby making the cluster manageable from a control and administration standpoint. The message below the Pinz corporate logo reads Eat ▪ Drink ▪ Bowl ▪ Play. “That’s pretty much what we are all about, along with dynamite service,” added Breen. However, they are a lot more than that, and David and Susan Breen and Jim Smith will continue to introduce innovative ideas into their business. They clearly understand the importance of being versatile and flexible and anticipating the ever-changing wants and needs of today’s and tomorrow’s entertainmentseeking customers. ❖
Paul Lane is former Director of Marketing and Marketing Services for AMF Bowling, Inc. He has been the director of 18 AMF World Cups, an officer in national and international trade associations, and a pro bowler during a career that spans more than 60 countries and 50 years.
HANDHELD ALL-IN-ONE CONTROL
QubicaAMF has designed the complement to the Conqueror Pro POS and Management System. The conqueror QPad is the only handheld solution that extends the power of Conqueror to any service point, anywhere in your facility, allowing you to deliver a superior guest experience and drive revenues. As a result, the QPad will help you improve your staff effectiveness and efficiency, and deliver an additional layer of customer support to your center. Conqueror QPad addresses the changing operational needs of today’s bowling and entertainment business by enabling centers to provide improved service levels and a better guest experience. Learn more at www.qubicaamf.com.
Brunswick Bowling continues to introduce new, custom options for several of its Center Stage™ furniture pieces, including brass-colored, nailhead trim and tufting on seats and backs. Brunswick custom furniture helps create the ‘wow’ factor that draws in guests. Soft seating features an industryleading, 10-year warranty. Interior design can really elevate the bowler experience, impacting a center’s bottom line. New to the custom Center Stage lineup are curved and inline ball racks, which can be tucked in various spaces, including behind corner units. Inline ball racks provide additional counter space and can work as a divider between lanes and concourse. Custom ball racks can be placed logistically closer to bowlers. For more information, go to www.brunswickbowling.com.
Steltronic is proud to announce that its Focus scoring system is now interfaced with ORACLE, also known as MICROS®. With the popularity of the MICROS® terminals as a point of sale system for food and beverage, Steltronic has now interfaced to the MICROS system allowing the cashiers to open lanes, rent bowling shoes, pool tables, and POS products. Everything within the Focus software is interfaced with the MICROS terminals to process payments. “We are YOUR bowling center management specialists.” For more information: (800) 942-5939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bay Tek Games’ Super Shot is the classic arcade basketball game, and now you can enjoy it with more customizable options! The motion option is the version you know and love which allows players to choose from four different gameplays: Classic, Continuous, Push Back or Stationary. The NEW standard option is a modified version that is a little more straightforward by keeping the hoop static throughout, without the option to pick a gameplay. Less buttons, less upkeep, same fun! The new jackpot marquee allows you to link a bank of games, making a dramatic impact on the esthetics of your room, plus the enhanced backboard lighting and the brightened time and score displays. These improvements are certain to add a pop of excitement to any game room. For more info, visit www.baytekgames.com.
AMUSEMENT GAMES AND MORE
Betson Enterprises, a leader in providing profitable solutions to the location-based entertainment industry, offers a comprehensive product line which includes amusement games, vending equipment, parts, and billiards. Through its nationwide network of 16 offices, Betson offers client-specific solutions for the design, installation, service, and exporting of equipment. They offer competitive interest rates for leasing and financing, as well as deferred payments through the private in-house lending company. Betson has been the recipient of the AAMA’s Distributor of the Year award for the past 5 out of 7 years. Betson Enterprises is a division of H. Betti Industries, Inc. and is headquartered in Carlstadt, NJ.
UNIQUE FURNITURE CONCEPTS
With its unique, stylish look and interesting features, Facility Concept’s new Apollo line of lane furniture made a big splash at Bowl Expo this year. Featuring a rounded seating end, LED-lit cup holders and base lighting, plus durable construction, the Apollo is a great choice for your bowling or family entertainment center. Whether it’s the Apollo or another of the stylish lane furniture offerings, metalor wood-frame seating, tables, booths, millwork or interior décor, Facility Concepts can provide whatever you need to elevate the comfort and style of your center. When they say complete furniture solutions, they mean it! For more information call (800) 915-8890 or go to facility-concepts.com.
LASER TAG ARENA
Studio41b recently installed a custom laser tag arena at the Rocky Springs Family Entertainment Center in Lancaster, PA. The theme is an abandoned amusement park, with a design inspired by the Rocky Springs Amusement Park that sits abandoned today. Locals familiar with the park will recognize many of the rides and features, along with the park’s iconic Laughing Sal. The façade doubles as a photoop, and, before entering the arena, players are treated to a custom briefing video, which tells the history of the park and the mysteries that exist today. For more information on what Studio41b can do for you, visit Studio41b.com.
LOANS TO ENHANCE A CENTER
As an owner of a bowling center, you have the special challenge of keeping a classic game fresh and fun. Sometimes that means buying new equipment or remodeling your space. Live Oak Bank’s team of entertainment center lending specialists is uniquely positioned to help you reach new growth. They offer bowling center loans up to $5 million for modernization, expansion, refinance and more. Live Oak has made the loan process transparent, and they will get the funds to you fast. Express loans up to $350,000 are also available for equipment, furniture upgrades, and other working capital needs. Contact liveoakbank.com/bowling-center-loans to learn how they can help you achieve your bowling center dreams.
OFF THE CLOCK
Incredible photo taken by Yvonne Bennett while storm chasing.
asing. storm ch e il h w cond — t for a se s ju — s ose Yvonne p
By Marci Williams
Yvonne Bennett, executive director of the Bowling Centers Association of Wisconsin, has a passion for photography and shiny things. 52
or Yvonne Bennett, shiny things are not diamonds or new fancy cars but rather things that shine through her camera lens. She has been a shutterbug for as long as she can remember — always excited about capturing and sharing the world around her. It's incredibly obvious that she not only has a passion for photography but an exceptional talent as well. Her desire to capture pictures worthy of sharing with others has taken her throughout the United States and Canada and as far as Tanzania in East Africa where she photographed while on safari
OFF THE CLOCK
. t another storm Yvonne facing ye on the Serengeti. She wrote for IgoUgo.com, sharing her camera lens and passion for travel. She was awarded media credentials for several events including the 2011 Iditarod, and has continued her travel blogging over the years. Bennett grew up in the Washington D.C. area where she lived through Hurricane Agnes in 1972, which sparked her interest in weather. While traveling from Washington D.C. to Wyoming to visit her grandparents, she remembers seeing a tornado and being quite frightened. Her parents assured her she was safe, but it intensified an interest in learning more. Years later, while being active on SpaceWeather.com, she met a new friend who helped guide and nurture her desire to photograph severe weather, in particular tornadoes. Not wanting to be a yahoo
Yvonne capturing the sights in the Arctic Ci rcle. IBI
OFF THE CLOCK (an unsafe thrill-seeker), she signed up for meteorology classes at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL, where they offer an AA degree in meteorology. Bennett stated clearly that, when storm chasing, the biggest risk is not the weather but the yahoos making bad decisions. There are storm prediction models which help meteorologists predict severe weather. Storm chasers chase supercells in hopes of capturing a tornado and it is not spur of the moment or haphazard; meteorologists can predict conditions conducive for the perfect storm three to five days in advance. Bennett sounds like Sheldon on The Big Bang Beautiful shot Theory when she excitedly tells about of a lighthouse . learning to map weather systems using air temperature, dew point, wind speed and a multitude of that contribute to severe weather. It's not something she strikes out on her own to them." She took two good DSLR cameras along with her do. The College of DuPage experience was a very camera phone. organized adventure. Her storm chasing field trip spanned Her passion for photography grew and meshed well with her 11 days and 5,600 miles through seven states as part of interest in severe weather; there are lots of shiny objects in nature, and she would love to share as many as she possibly can with as many people as she can. Bennett has many Facebook friends and other digital media friends that she's never met in person, but who enjoy her ability to capture sights that we all would enjoy seeing. Of course, she uses her photography talents to benefit the world of bowling with great pictures of bowling centers, and bowling is never far from her mind. When preparing for her latest trip, she took Storm bowling jerseys with the lightning strike on them, and it created great conversation. Thereafter, she was known as "the bowling lady.â€? Whether photographing bowling, national parks, wildlife, barn quilts, lighthouses, sled dog teams or storms, Yvonne Bennett's goal is to capture beauty and to share it with as many people as cheetah. a of t possible. She does it spectacularly; check her out ai tr or p l ntia d the quintesse re tu p ca on Facebook. You'll feel as though you are there, ne on Out on safari, Yv that you are experiencing the adventure with her. â?–
a two-van caravan that included two professors and 14 students. When asked if all the students were striving to get the perfect picture, she confessed, "No. A lot of the kids are more interested in selfies with the storm behind 54
Ms. Williams worked at Learjet Inc. (now Bombardier Learjet) for 33 years before retiring in 2005 as a corporate tax accountant. She served on the USBC board of directors for nine years, the BPAA board of directors for four years and the BVL board of directors for seven years. Her high game is a 300, and she is a proud supporter of the Wichita State and Newman University bowling programs.
PAA was in tune with the future of bowling this year at Bowl Expo in Nashville, TN. Education seminars kicked off the event, along with a key note speech from retired NBA all-star Shaquille Oâ€™Neal. These events led into one of the best trade show events I have attended in the last 15 years. US Bowling, QubicaAMF, Brunswick, and many others helped make the show a success for attendees. Thank you to Mr. Hero Noda for taking thousands of wonderful pictures during the entire event. Looking forward to another great show next year in Las Vegas. â?–
Trainertainment Team at Expo.
Kimberly Schilling of Creative Works showing off their of Game of Thrones, Bowling Throne. Flowers for the Living Award given to Pat Ciniello. Cathy DeSocio, Lisa Ciniello, and David Garber presenting Pat his award. IBI
Steltronic team in full force during Bowl Expo.
Brenda and Cowboy Bob from Cobra take a moment to say hi.
US Bowling and part of their terrific team headed up by Daroll and David Frewing.
Bart Burger taking a break after an incredibly busy trade show day.
QubicaAMF showed off two full size blue lanesâ€Śany University of Florida fans out there?
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