6 ISSUE AT HAND
Great Assist! NBA standout Chris Paul plays his other favorite sport with PBA pros and celebrities, all for a good cause.
By Scott Frager
By Robert Sax
THE WORLD'S ONLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE BUSINESS OF BOWLING
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CONTRIBUTORS Patty Heath Pamela Kleibrink Thompson Anna M. Littles Mark Miller Robert Sax
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• LaserTAG360 #14 was a big win. • Florida’s BCAF promotes Specialty Plates • Jim Goodwin will receive Luby Hall of Fame Award. • BowlFit’s Heather D’Errico joins KTC’s advisory board. • Bob Zoellner recruited by Intercard.
30 FEATURE A Star is Re-born in Paterson, NJ How a TV show saved Paul’s Bar and Bowling. By Mark Miller
By Patty Heath
36 CONFERENCE RECAP Ideas to Spare 30
F2FEC 2016 was another winner for attendees. By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson
16 INDUSTRY NEWS Future of the Sport The USBC announces this year’s HOF inductees while Frank Wilkinson lays out a strategic plan.
48 REMEMBER WHEN 1949
By Anna M. Littles
Blatz Beer By Patty Heath
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HOTLINE: 888-424-2695 SUBSCRIPTION RATES: One copy of International Bowling Industry is sent free to every bowling center, independently owned pro shop and collegiate bowling center in the U.S., and every military bowling center and pro shop worldwide. Publisher reserves the right to provide free subscriptions to those individuals who meet publication qualifications. Additional subscriptions may be purchased for delivery in the U.S. for $50 per year. Subscriptions for Canada and Mexico are $65 per year, all other foreign subscriptions are $80 per year. All foreign subscriptions should be paid in U.S. funds using International Money Orders. POSTMASTER: Please send new as well as old address to International Bowling Industry, 12655 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, CA 91604 USA. If possible, please furnish address mailing label. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright 2015, B2B Media, Inc. No part of this magazine may be reprinted without the publisher’s permission.
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THE ISSUE AT HAND
10X Better, Inspired There were plenty of handshakes, high fives and smiles to start 10X Better. That’s what the Three Amigos this conference (Dang, I did it again... It’s much more than a leading the two-year-old F2FEC conference (it’s conference) going in the right direction. actually much more than a conference) were Imagine 185 guests, sponsors and hosts meeting and working asking each attendee to contemplate. At first together to be 10X Better and blush, the 10X Better slogan to re-imagine the business of was too great for me to grasp, Family Entertainment Centers. a little difficult to believe, and It didn’t take me too long to thus hard for me to fully buy fully understand that 10X into…at least in the beginning. Ben Jones, George Smith, WWW.BOWLINGINDUSTRY.COM Better is not an endgame or destination. 10X Better is a Rick Iceberg (affectionately frame of mind, a journey. known as the Three Amigos) The three-day event was completely and brilliantly orchestrated are the three masterminds who organize and from the morning to night so that the attendees could focus on orchestrate this event. F2FEC is not a typical one thing: 10X Better. conference (it’s much more than a conference), not The Three Amigos provided a great sense of comfort and a trade show and in no way could be confused with freedom for the attendees. Doing so gave your average run-of-the-mill meeting. us the chance to open our minds to Every detail, from reserving an entire hotel for reimagine our own futures and the F2FEC attendees, to being greeted upon arrival at possibilities for the industry. the hotel by life-sized stand-ins of the organizers In other words, 10X Better. and sponsors to wonderfully thoughtful personalized goodie bags. Imagine the fun energy when the conference – SCOTT FRAGER, PUBLISHER doors first opened and attendees were welcomed AND EDITOR by a long line of enthusiastic hosts and sponsors. email@example.com
WHAT WOULD 10X BETTER
MEAN TO YOU?
4THIS MONTH AT www.BowlingIndustry.com It’s the April issue; it’s almost Christmas! Well, not quite, but it is almost Bowl Expo! This year’s BPAA mega event will take place at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. It is a great venue and not so far away that you should not start planning your trip. Hey, it’s Vegas, man! IBI can help with the details. With 2,500-plus members, use IBI Online to make initial contact with proprietors, vendors and friends in the industry. Planning makes the time spent at the show that much more valuable. Those moments hanging out with other proprietors can mine great ideas. Sharing is caring. Not a member? Join the growing list of industry people and companies who have made IBI Online another part of their networking and information source. It is FREE. Go to www.bowlingindustry.com and sign up.
PEOPLEWATCHING Intercard, Inc. recently hired Bob Zoellner, a 20year veteran of technology management positons, to the positon of manager of technical services. This is a new position created as a result of the company’s domestic and international growth. Zoellner will oversee customer support services, installations, training, system upgrades and special project implementation worldwide. He will also be Bob Zoellner responsible for managing and upgrading internal systems to improve service delivery, including phones, ticketing system and networking. Prior to joining Intercard, Zoellner served eight years as general manager for St. Louis-based Telescan. He has a BS in Business Administration from Lindenwood University and is pursuing an MA from Saint Louis University. The Kegel Training Center (KTC) announced the addition of Heather D’Errico as an advisory staff member. She will be making appearances at events at the Training Center to give seminars on mobility, injury prevention, functional strength training and conditioning as it pertains to the sport of bowling. D’Errico is the founder of BowlFit, a website where bowlers can go to request a customized training Heather D’Errico program. She also writes articles for Bowling This Month and is partnered with Bowling Revolutions to provide BowlFit seminars at clinics around the world. Del Warren, VP of KTC, shared, “Her vision, like ours, is to improve the image of our sport by making bowlers become true athletes in every sense of the word. Her expertise will help KTC provide students with education on what to do on AND off the lanes to truly excel for years to come.”
A WEALTH OF INFORMATION Creative Works, Inc. successfully completed its 14th LaserTAG360 education event. The two days featured presentations from many industry experts covering all aspects of opening and operating a family entertainment center with a focus on laser tag attractions. Topics included selecting the right building, financing, facility design, staff training and additional revenue-generating options. The next LaserTAG360 event will be held May 17-18. Go to LaserTAG360.com. 12
FLORIDA’S PUSH FOR SPECIALTY BOWLING PLATES Andy White, current director of Bowling Centers Association of Florida (BCAF) and manager of Brandon Crossroads, Tampa, with the encouragement of his BCAF board, set about to get a bill passed for specialty license plates which would put bowling in the eye-line of the driving public but also would support statewide youth scholarships and the BVL. Not an idle task to say the least. But with a will, there’s a way, and White is successfully driving down the highway. White’s first task was to get the backing and endorsement of Florida Senator Tom Lee. The next
was to have Florida’s ED, Chris Gallas, send out announcements to all Florida centers to get bowlers to call their senators and representatives to garner more support. Besides helping to grow bowling, the money collected from the plate sales will be split over Florida’s 28 state bowling associations that have youth bowlers and will be awarded in the form of scholarships. The other charity will be Bowlers to Veterans Link (BVL). Florida has the third largest population of veterans in the nation after California and Texas with more than 1.5 million vets. If passed, this will be the only specialty plate in which 100% of the proceeds will go to charity, While the goal was to get the specialty plate bill passed in the January session, time ran out. Senator Lee is still on-board and feels that with bowlers’ signatures on petitions, the next legislative session might just be doable. Good ideas are to be shared and passed along. While Florida bowlers need to do the legwork, IBI would like to pass along encouragement. For additional information, Andy White can be reached at Brandon Crossroads Bowl at (813) 621-2362. Who knows, maybe this state idea could just become a nationwide phenomenon?
ß BITS & PIECES ß ß ß Bay Tek purchases Skee-Ball
Bay Tek Games, a designer and manufacturer of redemption games, based in Pulaski, WI, announced the asset acquisition of Chalfont, PA-based, 107-year-old brand Skee-Ball. The deal was made official on Feb. 23. Bay Tek has purchased four other competitors, Coin Concepts, Seidel Amusements, Meltec Games and Victory Lane Ideas, from 1997 to 2004. Bay Tek wil be rebranding its recently launched alley lanes, Fireball Fusion, to SkeeBall.
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß PWBA Tour taps Pepsi as Official Sponsor
According to a USBC press release, the PWBA announced a new sponsorship deal making Pepsi the official soft drink of the 2016 PWBA Tour. Pepsi will be the title sponsor of the tour stop in Lincoln, NE, June 9-12 at Sun Valley Lanes. As an official sponsor, Pepsi will also be featured during 2016 PWBA Tour telecasts on CBS Sports Network which will include 13 events. “Seeing Pepsi as an official sponsor of the PWBA Tour gives us a great feeling of pride,” spokeswoman Kelly Kulick said. “Pepsi has a rich history in bowling, and we’re looking forward to our new partnership.”
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß Live Oak Lanes in Buellton, CA, gets a ‘go.’
After acquiring five acres in Buellton, outside of Solvang, CA, four years ago, Carol Lesher Peterson and her family have been vying with the property’s neighbor over a swath of environmentally questionable land which borders both properties. However, after much ado, the City Council will allow the development of Live Oak Lanes to move forward. The proposed project includes a 16-lane bowling center, arcade, bar and party rooms, in addition to outdoor batting cages and bocce ball courts, as well as a warehouse.
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß Big FEC opens in Algeria
Robert’s Group, a Lebanon-based FEC operator and developer, has opened a new location in Algeria. Dream Games covers 15,000 square meters and is located in the city of Setiff, about three hours’ drive from Algiers. The huge location has 17 rides and attractions, 120 games, tenpin bowling, laser tag, a softplay area, party rooms and are all covered by an Intercard debit card system.
IBMA AWARD WINNERS The 2016 International Bowling Media Association awards were announced and will be presented during Bowl Expo on Jun. 28. IBI’s recurring writer Jim Goodwin received the Luby Hall of Fame Award which is given to an individual who has made a distinguished contribution to bowling in print, broadcast, telecast Jim Goodwin or photographic coverage over a period of at least ten years. Other awards were as follows: The Crowe Meritorious Service Award, presented to an individual or organization for outstanding long-term accomplishments in and for the sport of bowling, went to Bill and Barabara Chrisman of Storm Products Inc. Fran Deken received the Hennessy Award of Merit for outstanding long-term service to IBMA, including BWAA and National Women bowling Writers. Bowler of the Year was shared by bowlers Jason Belmonte and Liz Johnson, while Senior Bowler of the Year went to Robin Romeo and Parker Bohn III.
IN MEMORIAM Randy Isenberg, Texas proprietor, shared the passing of his father Emory Isenberg in October 2015. The elder Isenberg was a bowling proprietor from 1962 to 2012 who actively promoted youth bowling. During the summers, Randy reminisced that his father, with Randy as the youth director, had 1000 kids per week bowling in organized programs. It required two school buses to pick up the kids in neighborhoods in the summer and at schools during the school year. In the early 1970s, they had 600 kids per week. Emory Isenberg was an active member of the BPAA legislative committee for 10 years at the national level, the Southwest BPAA regional vice president, and the Texas Bowling Centers Association president. He was also one of the early supporters to help fund the Grand Prix Scholarship Program.
A Future for the Sport The USBC announces this year's Hall of Fame honorees while Frank Wilkinson lays out a strategic plan. By Anna M. Littles
lection to the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame is the highest honor USBC can bestow for extraordinary contribution to the sport, both on and off the lanes. An honoree can be nominated in one of three categories: meritorious service, superior performance and pioneer. In 2016, five exceptional people will join the USBC legacy. USBC's mission is to be mindful of the present and ensure bowling’s future through thoughtful research, planning and delivery. USBC has been enlisted to protect and nurture the sport with a mutual admiration and respect for all who enjoy bowling. To that end, USBC president Frank Wilkinson explains his thoughts, ideas and proposals for the upcoming congress convention in April.
Award for Meritorious Service:
Joan Romeo Joan Romeo laughed and wept when she learned that she was inducted into USBC Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service. Joan explains, “Normally, a committee votes you in and you get a call from the president that you’ve been inducted.” In Joan’s case, convention was tossed aside as she learned of her induction in the most beautiful way. Joan and her daughter, Robin, were invited to a dear friends’ wedding. That dear friend happened to be Bob Johnson, editor for Bowler’s Journal. Bob interrupted his wedding and made an announcement that Joan had been inducted into USBC’s Hall of Fame. Joan was surrounded by family and friends, which made Bob’s
INDUSTRY NEWS announcement more meaningful than she could ever have imagined. In the history of USBC, that had never been done before. Bob took it to a whole new level when he presented Joan with flowers, orchestrating a very profound and special moment in her life. Not only was this special, it was also historical. Joan and her daughter, Robin Romeo, a member of the USBC Hall of Fame since 1995, are only the second mother and daughter to have ever been inducted in USBC’s history. Originally from New York, and a mother of five children, Joan and her family moved to Los Angeles more than 30 years ago. She made the sacrifice to provide her children an opportunity to bowl professionally. The move paid off with Robin’s big success. In all the excitement of Joan’s nomination, it still is a bittersweet moment. The one person who has been by her side through thick and thin, her husband, Raymond Romeo, passed away in 2000. Raymond was very active and supportive of Joan and Robin. It makes Joan sad that he is not here to see the fruit of all their labors. Still, Joan is grateful for her bowling family. They have been consistently there for her and have proven time and time again to be a pillar of support in Joan’s life. Her bowling family has been just as much a part of her journey and Joan would love to thank them all, even the ones who have also passed on. Joan reflects on all the beautiful memories she has and concludes that regardless of how bittersweet the moment will be, it’s a celebration of her life. And it gives the bowling community the opportunity to say thanks for all that Joan has done and continues to do for our industry.
Award for Superior Performance:
Steve Kloempken Steve Kloempken considers himself a lifelong bowler. In college, he set his sights on a career to bowl professionally. He studied at Wichita State, home of the best bowling program in the country. There, Steve bowled on a team that won three consecutive national championships, an amazing feat! It was a great experience that provided him excellent exposure. After graduating in 1995, Steve realized that bowling in the amateur arena offered him the best opportunity to continue working in the field as well as pursue his competition goals. And being a goals orientated type of person, it was a good fit. As his career advanced, the list of Steve’s accomplishments grew and grew. Still, Steve never considered that one day he would be a USBC Hall of Fame inductee, until he received that phone call. He was stunned, surprised and truly honored. For Steve, being nominated is the result of hard work, and doing your best at every event. What’s next? For Steve, amateur bowling is the pinnacle of the sport for him. He will continue to focus on competitions and events he has yet to win. And definitely, he will continue to bowl his best, no matter what. Steve wants to thank all the people who paved the way for him to enjoy 18
a career in bowling, such as Dick Weber and Don Carter, to name a few. They put the sport of bowling on the forefront, making it competitive, and helping amateurs thrive. He also wants to say a big thank you to everyone who loves the sport and who shares the vision for what bowling could become. n n n
Remaining 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees Kim Adler of Melbourne, FL, Mike Durbin of Hollywood, CA, and PBA senior stand-out Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Township, MI, will be honored in the superior performance category. Congratulations and thank you to all inductees. n n n At 29 years old, Frank Wilkinson is already establishing a legacy. Known in the world of bowling as a young man who has consistently and successfully built youth leagues at his family-owned and run bowling center, Rab Country Lanes in Staten Island, NY. Frank worked side by side with his father until his father’s untimely death 10 years ago. His father did well in preparing his son to step into his shoes. Rab Country Lanes is a 42 thousandsquare-foot facility with 48 lanes with 80 plus leagues that is home to 4,000 league bowlers. Frank has observed, “Bowling centers are a lot of different things to different people. It’s where the community comes together.” Currently, Frank is building a redemption arcade, a full service lounge and full service pro shop. There is a snack bar and one of the best pizzerias in all of the New York City area. Frank sees his USBC mission: it’s his job is to work with the board of directors to set the direction of the organization. With a membership base of over a million, Frank has a full agenda, starting with: 1. Dues: Inflation is a reality that has not been discussed since 2012, when a proposal was presented that would have provided flexibility for the board of directors to set the national dues. The 2012 proposal did not have the 2/3 votes needed to pass, and there has not been a discussion since then. The fact that inflation continues to rise means it has to be addressed in order for USBC to continue to operate at its current service level. USBC’s ability to operate as it does today will be short-lived without an increase. Frank
INDUSTRY NEWS admits, “It’s hard to put a value on nontangible items. However, what is ensuring tomorrow worth to those of us who are passionate about the sport?” The proposed increases are nominal at $3 per member to be implemented for their 2017-2018 season. And if it is determined that the organization is financially stable, no other increases would be considered until the 2022-2023 season. 2. Merger: It’s a complex discussion and a hot bed issue rolled up into one. Back in 2005, as USBC was being formed, delegates from ABC, WIBC, YABA and USA Bowling set a precedent that associations on the local level had the option to merge in their jurisdiction. And since the first joint convention in 2006, there has been an ongoing discussion of whether or not the local associations should merge. Needless to say, that discussion is back on the table. Unification on a national level means there will have to be give-and-take on all sides. Over the last decade, a lot of associations have come to the conclusion that they should merge, which would help stream-line operations. It took some time, but many associations are finally at the point where making that decision, on their own, is the best option. The majority of the delegates believe that is the best way for the organization to move forward. 3. Goals: Over the last couple of years the focus has been on the core competency of the organization as a national governing body. Frank explains, “When you become too many things to too many people, it takes away from the success of the organization.” One of the driving goals is efficiency and core competency and focusing on those issues begets a stragic plan. a. Operating efficiently: financial stability and excelling in the core competency of the organization sums up the plan. Frank believes, “You have to strive to be better tomorrow than you were yesterday.” b. Partnership and messaging: USBC’s story is important. It’s just as important as how well that story is told.
c. Changing of the Guard: The final key – and critical component of that vision-is building the volunteer base and embracing the next generation of proprietors. As far as Frank is concerned, “We have to embrace change and build the future leadership for tomorrow.” He feels strongly that USBC invests at the grassroots level in order to build the future
of the organization. Building and mentoring leadership is a tall order, and involves succession planning on all levels: local, state and national. ❖ Anna M. Littles, a screenplay and freelance writer and producer originally from the Bronx, NY, now resides in Santa Monica, CA. You can see her work on YouTube, IMDB, or on her website at www.alittleLA.com.
PBA commissioner Tom Clark and Chris Paul celebrate the CP3 tournament and charity.
By Robert Sax
Basketball star Chris Paul takes a night off to play his other favorite sport with PBA pros and celebrities, all for a good cause.
n February 23, 2016, pro basketball star Chris Paul (aka CP3) of the Los Angeles Clippers was in the midst of a long and grinding NBA season, having averaged 33 minutes and 19.5 points per game over more than 50 games. So why did he spend a precious night off hosting a charity bowling tournament with the PBA? For one thing, Paul is a long-time bowler who truly loves the game. He also loves to help people out. As any NBA fan will tell you, Paul is known for his assists on the court (9.5 per game) and off (the many kids helped by his family foundation). Supporting a good cause is as natural to him as setting up a basket by passing off to a betterpositioned teammate. Paul hosted the seventh annual CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational tournament at Lucky Strike Lanes in downtown Los Angeles, just across the street from his “office,” Staples Center arena. The primary goal of the event is to generate awareness of the Chris Paul Family Foundation and encourage people and organizations across the country to become involved. The tournament was presented by GoBowling.com with sponsors that included Brunswick, Ebonite International, MOTIV, 900 Global, PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress. ESPN recorded the event for broadcast on February 28. Paul was joined by an all-star crew of pro athletes that included former NFL star Terrell Owens, running back CJ Anderson of the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, Olympic and World Cup champion goalkeeper Hope Solo of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and Olympic champion sprinter Alysson Felix. Among the pro bowlers were Pete Weber, Jason Belmonte, Gary Faulkner Jr., Chris Barnes, Sean Rash and Clara Guerrero. Former All Star major league pitcher John Burkett, now playing on the PBA50 tour, had a foot in both camps. Paul began the evening by acknowledging the great job done by the PBA in presenting and publicizing the tournament. “I can’t say thank you enough to the PBA. Tom [Clark], you guys have been amazing,” said Paul. “When I travel during the season, some people forget that I play in the NBA. They just know that I bowl.” An avid bowler, Paul has more than 20 bowling balls and also owns a PBA League team, the L.A.X. “This is my other passion,” Paul told ESPN magazine in 2015. “Some guys have other hobbies but I’ve been bowling since senior year of high school. That Christmas my mom and dad got me a bowling ball that looked like an ABA basketball - it was red, white and blue... I just love bowling. My family bowls all summer long.” Paul has expressed a desire to earn two rings in his career, an NBA championship ring and a 300 game ring. Asked which he thinks he will win first, Paul smiled and replied “Man, I’ll take ‘em both at the same time.” PBA commissioner Tom Clark described the origin of the tournament, which began when a friend, who was Paul’s sports agent, told him about his client’s love of bowling. “I showed Chris how to set up a pro-am at his foundation in North Carolina. We went and had a regular pro-am event, no TV, and when I got there the people that walked in were LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard,” says Clark. “All these [NBA stars] were there and I said, ‘This is a TV IBI
COVER STORY show.’ The next year we did a show with LeBron and Dwayne Wade and Kevin Durant in his rookie year; that kicked it off.” The annual TV event on ESPN has boosted the national profile of the PBA and Chris Paul and his foundation, says Clark. “Everywhere Chris goes in the country, people talk to him about his bowling. He’s been one of the key people in my career and one of the key people in bowling I think for many years.” Clark had also enlisted Paul as part of organized bowling’s bid to get in the 2020 summer Olympics. “When he tweeted out that bowling should be in the Olympics [while playing in the 2012 London Games], we used that as an endorsement from a great athlete who’s an Olympian.”
Assisting On and Off the Court Chris Paul is an elite point guard who has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, two Olympic gold medals, and led the NBA in assists four times and steals six times. In 2014 Paul became the seventh player in NBA history to top 6,000 career assists before the end of his ninth season. That put him in the company of such legendary players as John Stockton, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson. He has also been selected to nine NBA All-Star teams, seven All-NBA teams, and seven All-Defensive teams. Off the court, Paul serves as president of the National Basketball Players Association and is one of the best-known and most popular players in the league. Paul is also well known for his community work. The Chris Paul Family Foundation strives to help individuals and families by providing resources that
Terrell Owens sends one down the lanes.
enrich and strengthen communities. Through partnerships with Feed The Children, Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Clubs, LA's BEST, The Reachability Foundation and Habitat for Humanity, the foundation supports literacy and technology initiatives, health and wellness programs and afterschool enrichment. The foundation’s efforts are truly a family affair and Paul’s parents, wife, brother, sister-in-law and extended family members are involved. The foundation’s 26
NFL great Marcellus Wiley celebrates his big shot.
emphasis on community involvement has won them the NBAâ€™s Community Assist Award three times. This monthly award is given to an NBA player who consistently shows passion for philanthropy and community service. To learn more about the Chris Paul Family Foundation, visit www.cp3foundation.org.
Serious Action on the Lanes The atmosphere at Lucky Strike Lanes was festive but the bowling was competitive, not surprising given the top pros and accomplished guest athletes involved. In a key match, Guerrero and Solo eliminated Paul and three-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte, 74-58, in their quarterfinal match before defeating nine-time PBA Tour winner Sean Rash and his partner, Broncos running back C.J. Anderson, 78-67, in a close contest. Tied in the ninth frame with 49 each, Guerrero doubled in the 10th to clinch her teamâ€™s trip to the championship match. The championship match was a battle of the sexes, between the team of PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber and Terrell Owens, who defeated Guerrero and Solo, 78-54, in a special four-frame doubles Hope Solo in perfect form.
COVER STORY format championship match. On their way to the championship match of the event, now in its seventh year, Weber and Owens beat two other pro/celebrity teams. In the quarterfinal round, they defeated seven-time Tour winner Bill O’Neill and Shawn Stockman of the group BoyZ II Men, 68-48, and 2015 Rolltech PBA World Championship winner Gary Faulkner Jr. and former major league All-Star pitcher and PBA50 Tour competitor John Burkett, 64-52, in the semifinal round. The event also included a sudden-death best ball “celebrity clash” which included actor Anthony Anderson, star of ABC-TV’s Black-ish and hip hop artist Too Short. John Burkett, who had a best PBA50 Tour finish of fourth place in his 2015 rookie season, outlasted the other celebrities by bowling a nine-count to Terrell Owens’ seven-count in the ninth and final frame for the win. Chris Paul sees his tournament as a great way to promote the game as a sport as well as a pastime. “I think a lot of times people look at bowling as just a social event. But bowling is competitive, it’s fun and it’s something you can do for a long time. I had an uncle who was 84 years old and was still bowling.” If you attended the event or watched the entertaining ESPN coverage a few days later, you will understand what Paul means. If you didn’t, mark your calendar for the 2017 event, at the least to see if hardworking Chris Paul is sporting some new rings on his fingers. ❖
RESULTS CP3 PBA CELEBRITY INVITATIONAL PRESENTED BY GOBOWLING.COM Lucky Strike LA Live, Los Angeles, Sunday (Four frame, alternate frame elimination format)
Championship Match Pete Weber/Terrell Owens def. Clara Guerrero/Hope Solo, 78-54. Semifinal Round Weber/Owens def. Gary Faulkner Jr./John Burkett, 64-52. Guerrero/Solo def. Sean Rash/CJ Anderson, 78-67. Quarterfinal Round Weber/Owens def. Bill O’Neill/Shawn Stockman, 68-48. Faulkner/John Burkett def. Chris Barnes/Marcellus Wiley, 99-49. Rash/Anderson def. Ronnie Russell/Allyson Felix, 80-64. Guerrero/Solo def. Jason Belmonte/Chris Paul, 74-58.
Robert Sax is a writer and PR consultant in Los Angeles. He grew up in Toronto, Canada, the home of five-pin bowling.
r a t S A is rn o b e
show V T a Bar How s ’ l u a saved P ing. l w o B and
Paul Awranko, third-generation owner of Paul's Bar and Bowling.
By Mark Miller
nless you read the signs out front or to the side, you might think it was a neighborhood grocery or convenience store. Tucked between homes on Crooks Avenue on the Paterson side of the border with Clifton in northern New Jersey, you’d never think it included bowling lanes. But for most of its nearly nine decades, Paul’s Bar and Bowling was the place to be with double-shifted leagues every night plus enough pool, horseshoes and shuffleboard games to keep the neighborhood of mostly Italian, Irish, Polish, and Eastern European people happy. They were avid keglers who enjoyed a drink or three whenever they visited the joint which offered four lanes on the ground level and four upstairs. “That was the sort of thing to do, in our area go to the bowling alley, shoot pool or horseshoes,” said Paul Awramko, whose grandfather, of the same name, opened the facility in 1929 and has been in the family ever since. “Every family had three or four kids and everybody worked different jobs. When they got out of school, they’d come in all the time.”
Paul with staff members Roger Ghafour (left) and John Quagliano (right).
Only bowling center left in Paterson, New Jersey.
That began to change because of a double whammy of societal issues. Not only did business begin dropping when leagues stopped competing, but the children of the older inhabitants married and moved out for a better life. Over the past 10 years, the city has morphed into one of the largest Arabic/Muslim populations in the United States. While the new residents opened up their own businesses, most haven’t ventured out and very few bowl. “The neighborhood’s gone,” Awramko said. “There are no people who come out and hang out with the shuffleboard and pool table and eight bowling lanes. We’re kind of winging it. We’re just trying to keep it going on a daily basis.” That combination sent profits downward for eight straight years with Awramko ready to shut the doors in 2014. Then along came a Food Network show called Restaurant: Impossible that finds places needing an update. Paul’s Bar and Bowling definitely fit that description. “I told them when you don’t have any money, you fix what you need to fix,” he said. “They got a kick out of that.” Awramko doesn’t know how people with the show found him but he’s sure glad they did. It all started when a field producer called about visiting the place, which turned into a five-hour walkthrough and filming session. Though the woman loved the 32
history and thought the food was great, she didn’t think her producers would feature such a place without a dining room or snack bar. “I said ‘I don’t have either,’ ” Awramko said. "I have a 6x6 kitchen, eight lanes, four up [stairs] and four down [stairs], we're really unique." About one month later, the producer called to say that of the 50 places they visited, they were down to the final six and Paul’s was one of them. “I was still not believing anything would happen after that,” he said. “Then (Chef) Rob Irvine and his crew came and took over May 7, 8, and 9. I signed over everything - the stain glass windows, the mushroom-shaped bar and everything. They advertised on the Internet to help renovate Paul’s Bar. They put a pod outside and took everything off the walls, every picture, [all the] bottles.” Over the next 36 hours, Irvine and his design team did as much as their original $10,000 budget could achieve and considerably more. Upstairs, they gave the place a new ceiling, sidewalls, floor, lighting and tables with iPads so people no longer needed to use pencil and paper to score. Though the crew didn’t touch the kitchen area or the downstairs level, they did upgrade the food choices, including recipes for slider-style cheeseburgers, sloppy joes, soups, chili and sweet-and-sour wings. Irvine and crew started Thursday morning around 10 o’clock and finished Friday night at 9 o’clock when they had a grand opening. Awramko wasn’t able to watch the work so he The billiard and bar area downstairs.
Newly remodeled lanes 5-8 upstairs.
March 2015 when Eric died. Paul then lost his sister in October. “Now I’m here all alone and we’re trying to keep it going,” he said. Down to one league with 16 bowlers on Wednesday nights, he must make his money from people who bowl by the hour, birthday parties, plus the food and bar business. For someone like the 64-year-old Paul Awramko, who never married or had children, his employees and customers are his family. Some have worked for him or visited with him for more than 25 years. “If it wasn’t for the Restaurant: Impossible segment, I would have sold and been out of the business already,” he said. “You just can’t pay all the taxes and the bills. Recently the city of Paterson raised the real estate taxes by 60 percent going back to August’s tax bills. That’s what we’re going through. It’s just been really tough.”
huddled in the basement the entire time. “It was unbelievable, except the one thing they didn’t tell us was they cut every wire in the place so when we opened Saturday after the grand opening, we had no TVs, no phones, no ATM, no credit cards,” Awramko said. “They were gone already, plus we were packed until 3 a.m. in the morning. We didn’t know what to do. We contacted the utility company, but they were closed on Saturday and Sunday.” Business went up by about 30 percent in May, despite the gaffs, then again in August when another party was held when the show aired. People came from all parts of the country just to see what they saw on the show. “It was a fantastic promotion,” Awramkol said. “Everyone had a great time. It was phenomenal. It really was. It just looks great. They helped me out big time, and I’m paying off a lot of old debts as long as I can do it.” Things certainly were better for many years when his grandfather opened the lanes after selling his ice business. When his father, Howard, got out of the Army in the early 1950s, he bought the Original lanes 1-4 on the ground floor. place from the elder Paul. Younger Paul and his three siblings, brothers Eric and Howie and sister Kathy, began working there every If Paul’s Bar and Bowling is able to hang on for a while, Saturday and Sunday. “My job was the toilet and the old booth for the it might get a boost after the closing of other long-time phones,” Paul recalled. “I used to spray inside with Fantastic, go wipe establishments in Paterson and Clifton. It will be the only it down and come out for a breath of fresh air, then go back in again.” center within 5-6 miles and the only one left of the It opened with just four lanes on the lower level, then adding the four more than 22 he said were once in Paterson alone. upstairs. Like a shrinking number of other older bowling establishments, Plus, it is the only one in town to star in its own Food Paul’s Bar and Bowling still features wood lanes and the old Brunswick Network show. ❖ Crown automatic pinsetters installed in 1968. Before then, Paul, Eric and Photos courtesy of John O'Boyle. Howie chased pins. “Anyone who bowls well here at Paul’s will bowl 20 pins better anywhere else,” he said. “Everyone says if you want to know your true Mark Miller is a freelance writer, editor, and public average, bowl at Paul’s.” relations specialist from Flower Mound, TX. He's Howard Awramko suffered a massive stroke and died in 1969, so his the author of Bowling: America's Greatest Indoor Pastime available at Amazon.com or directly from wife, Helen, who started there as a waitress, took over. She died in 1985 him at firstname.lastname@example.org. leaving the place to Paul and Eric who operated it together until 34
The Three Amigos, from left, Rick Iceberg, George Smith and Ben Jones.
Ideas to Spare
F2FEC 2016 was another winner for attendees. Pamela Kleibrink Thompson owling center visionaries, innovators and leaders were entertained, enlightened and inspired at the second Face to Face Entertainment Conference (F2FEC) held Feb. 23-25, at the Kona Kai Resort in San Diego, CA. Hosted by The Three Amigos–Ben Jones, a senior lender specializing in entertainment centers at Live Oak Bank; Rick Iceberg, president of CJ Barrymore’s; and George Smith, president of the Family Entertainment Group–the conference is an entertaining, interactive strategy forum with useful information for innovators of the entertainment center industry. The Three Amigos kept the event instructive, lively and relevant by leading discussions, presenting challenges, and offering action steps. Scott Danger, president of Box Thirteen Productions in Harbor Springs, MI, noted, “The Three Amigos, Jones,
Icebeg, and Smith, changed the conference landscape with the F2FEC. [It is] by far the most relevant education and networking experience across all sectors, industry-wide.” Inspired by Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One, the theme for F2FEC 2016 was “10X Better.” Two of the concepts in Zero to One, which were presented were how technology can complement human capital, and the importance of assembling the right team. TED-like presentations led to lively interactive tabletalk sprinkled with humor. Presenters included Brad Little from Hey Day Entertainment; human resource consultant O. Lee Mincey, Paul Chambers and Katie Decker of Element5 Digital; Lori Sipe from San Diego State University; Jim Kessler of Lasertron; Bruce Nussbaum of Trifecta Management Group; Joseph Vajda of Aria Group Architects; and Rick Barsness of America’s Incredible Pizza. The Three Amigos opened by encouraging participants to, “Sweat the details. Reimagine. Refresh. Revitalize. Focus on your
CONFERENCE RECAP niche. Push the boundaries. Provide a great product or service and never be complacent. Be a great listener and praise your people. Build partnerships. Share information.” Iceberg noted that, “Relationships help change the business.” He encouraged attendees to meet new friends and share information and have respect for fellow operators. An instantaneous, anonymous texting poll revealed some intriguing facts about F2FEC attendees: Over a billion dollars of annual revenue was produced by businesses of the 191 attendees. They employed 7,713 full time staff and 21,674 seasonal employees. They represented 699 facilities in the United States and Canada. Revenues averaged $1.4 million per facility. Barry Zelickson, owner of Big Thrill Factory, an FEC which offers black light bowling on its eight lanes, in Minnetonka, MN, noted, “It was an opportunity to speak to seasoned operators and compare notes, as well as share best practices. A key takeaway is that we need to stay relevant. You can’t stop investing in your business.” Iceberg shared how bowling transformed his entertainment center business six years ago. “Bowling changed the atmosphere,” beamed the owner of CJ Barrymore’s. “Bowling was the catalyst.” In 2008, revenues at CJ Barrymore’s were $3.8 million, but after adding bowling in 2009, revenues have grown with additional investments each year, and, in 2014, revenues were $6.5 million. He encouraged other attendees to take a hard look at their businesses and discover places where they can also offer more. Iceberg projected that his business would clear $9 million this year. The Three Amigos stimulated discussions by posing questions such as “Are your prices too low?” “Are you visible and are you bankable?” “Can you pay your staff a starting wage of $15 an hour?” Floor discussions led to animated exchanges. George R. Ward, II, CFO, Incredible Pizza Franchise Group, LLC, which offers miniature bowling in Springfield, MO, stated, “There seems to be a groundswell regarding compensation and how to increase minimum wages and the compensation for the rest of your employees. Without movement on our part, employees will go to the national chains (i.e. Walmart) and we will miss the opportunity to hire the best.” Jones assured the crowd, “There are no secrets. You may think you do something exclusively, but you probably are not. One key to becoming ten times better is to focus on fewer things and exploit the [expletive] out of them.” 38
One principle of particular interest to bowling center operators was the vulnerability of stand-alone attractions and the need to broaden the demographic of customers to their businesses. There was a general consensus that every entertainment center had to offer a variety of attractions, games and upgraded food and beverage services to remain competitive. Andy Bartholomy, owner of Andy B’s based in Springfield, MO, with 10 bowling centers in four states commented, “I view F2FEC much like I view our seminars at Bowl Expo. As a long-time bowling proprietor, we are adding more attractions to our centers that are not bowling related. Just as we learn about the bowling industry from those of us that have made it our life's work, we can learn from experts from these other industries that can greatly reduce our learning curve. Ben Jones, Rick Iceberg, and George Smith did a fantastic job putting the conference together!” After attending the first F2FEC, Brad Little, partner and general manager of HeyDay Entertainment in Norman, OK, said, “We’ve put into place a leadership training course for our management team and rewritten our customer service manual for our staff. We also incorporated a couple of the marketing ideas shared at the conference.” After his first F2FEC, Phil Huffman, Party Czar at BAM! in Holland, MI, took a critical look at his arcade and party rooms and transformed some into VIP suites and made the game room more adult friendly. BAM’s state-of-the-art bowling center in a lounge atmosphere offers rock-and-glow bowling, junior youth league, and bowling leagues. Iceberg guaranteed the crowd that they would learn at least one idea that would be worth $50,000. Michael Getlan of Fun Fuzion in New Rochelle, NY, stated that he had learned at least one idea that was worth $50,000 at the previous F2FEC. At the conclusion of the second annual F2FEC, it was clear that these leaders of the entertainment center industry are passionate about creating memorable experiences for their guests and genuinely wanted to help others succeed. The F2FEC conference strengthened bonds and created a sense of camaraderie and provided two days of straight talk and practical wisdom. The Three Amigos are truly transforming the industry. If you get an opportunity to attend the next F2FEC in February 2017, don’t miss it. ❖ RESOURCES: f2conference.com For more information contact: Rick Iceberg, CJ Barrymore’s, email@example.com; Ben Jones, Live Oak Bank, firstname.lastname@example.org; or George Smith, Family Entertainment Group, email@example.com. Pamela Kleibrink Thompson lives in Idaho. In addition to writing, she is a career coach and scenario role player for peace officer training. Pamela worked as a production manager on the Emmy Award-winning animated series The Simpsons, where she bowled regularly with members of the crew. She speaks on career issues at conferences all over the world. You can reach Pamela at PamRecruit@q.com.
CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE BRUNSWICK FRAMEWORX SEATING PACKAGE (16 lanes) includes: 16 Team Tables with (4) attached swivel telescoping seats; 4 High Tables with (2) attached swivel telescoping seats; 16 moveable separate seats. Call Jim @ (313) 715-7921. NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com. FOR SALE: two brand-new, state-of-the-art X-31011 Antari Fazer, Haze Fog Combo machines. One box opened only for successful testing. Retails at $675 each. Plus, Platinum Series Premium Fog fluid (a $136 value). Total package $900. Call Scott at Pinz Bowling Center, (818) 769-7600. REPAIR & EXCHANGE. Call for details (248) 375-2751.
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CLASSIFIEDS CENTERS FOR SALE NORTHERN GULF COAST: 24-lane, split 16/8, FEC. Built in 2006. 2.5 acres and 28,000 s/f building. Brunswick GSX, well maintained. New Brunswick scoring system and Aloha cash register systems in 2014. Fully enclosed bar/restaurant, full kitchen, walk -in freezer/cooler and pizza oven. Kegel lane machine and new ball drilling equipment. Call Pete, (228) 348-6921 or email: email@example.com. CENTRAL WISCONSIN: 8-lane Brunswick center w/ A-2 machines, AS-80 scoring, kitchen & bar, pro shop & game room. Established nightly leagues. 8300 s/f + 2 outbuildings on 2.016 acres. $348,750.00 includes business & real estate. Sue Decker, C21 Gold Key Realty (715) 305-6096 or firstname.lastname@example.org. CENTRAL IDAHO: 8-lane Brunswick center with Anvil lanes, 50-seat restaurant with Drive-Thru Window. All new appliances. Only bowling center within 60 miles. Call (775) 720-2726. PENNSYLVANIA: 20-lane popular & busy, newly renovated, historic 80-year-old Brunswick center. Includes 20 A pinsetters, auto scoring, and a stage. Just remodeled. In an up-and-coming Pittsburgh suburb. Website with lots of info available. Call (412) 503-3606. WESTERN WASHINGTON: 32-lane center in urban area with colleges and military nearby. Strong revenue with upside potential. A-2s, HPL, Qubica scoring. Real estate includes extensive recent upgrades. Large building with generous parking included. Ken Paton, (503) 645-5630.
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COLORDAO, ASPEN: Profitable 16-lane center with pro shop, game arcade, snack bar & bar/restaurant including indoor & outdoor seating. Family owned for 22 years. Only league-licensed center within 50+ mile radius. Plenty of parking. SBA financing available to qualified buyer. Priced to sell @ $575K. Contact John Hornblower, VR Business Brokers, Aspen Co. (970) 429-8220. NORTHEAST INDIANA: Busy 16-lane center complete with snack bar, includes beer & wine license. Electronic scoring, upgraded audio & video systems. Highly visible location on Highway 27 in Portland, IN, with ample parking. Pics & info @ Century21adv.com. Contact Rob Green, Century 21 Advance Realty, email@example.com or (260) 525-8474.
CLASSIFIEDS CENTERS FOR SALE WESTERN OREGON: 16-lane center in growing small town with high quality of life. Revenue per lane above average and cash flow trending up. Strong state license video poker revenue. A-2s, wood lanes, Qubica scoring, Frameworx seating. Includes real estate. Ken Paton, (503) 645-5630. APPRAISALS: LARRY DOBBS MAI, ASA. (214) 674-8187. Bowlingvaluations@yahoo.com.
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HELP WANTED Center Management Opportunity. Are you an assistant manager, manager or assistant general manager looking for an opportunity to grow professionally, as well as financially? Do you have the motivation, drive and energy needed to grow our centerâ€™s business? If so, you will want to contact us today. We are a Los Angeles area bowling center seeking a bilingual (Spanish/ English) candidate who is eager to help our business grow. We offer salary (commensurate with experience) plus 401k and vacation. Relocation costs may be provided for the right candidate. To apply, please email your resume and salary history to email@example.com.
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n this Blatz beer ad, a well-dressed Hank Marino salutes beer and bowling. A top bowler in the 30s and 40s, Marino was a four-time National Match Game Bowling Champion and a charter member of the Bowling Hall of Fame. During his career, he rolled five 800 series and eleven 300 games. Notice anything odd in the ad? A hint…the bowling ball. Two-hole balls, for the middle finger and thumb, were popular during Marino’s era. In
researching this, I discovered that you can have a multiplicity of holes drilled in your ball, eleven, to be exact. There can be six finger holes and five vent holes. I had no idea! In 1949, bowling was definitely on the rise. ABC had 32,999 active leagues and the WIBC had 15,054. There were 1,368,000 members in the ABC and 495,880 in the WIBC. Blatz Brewing Co. knew It was a good time for Milwaukee, beer and bowling. ❖ - Patty Heath