THE WORLD'S ONLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE BUSINESS OF BOWLING
PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager firstname.lastname@example.org Skype: scottfrager
6 ISSUE AT HAND
22 COVER STORY
Pathway to the Soul
Competition in the Cloud
By Scott Frager
Virtual bowling provides real competition for fantasy sports fans. By Robert Sax
10 SHORTS • Storm Products tags Steve Kloempken. • Bowling and Broadway are a couple. • Thunderbird Lanes in Philly honors law enforcement. • BPAA industry study, 4th edition, now available.
• AE Puts Fun in Your Center • IPC Plays it Down the Middle • Time is of the Essence • Interesting Interview with George Smith • Showcase
By Patty Heath
16 CENTER STAGE
Bowling Revisted Proprietor Rob Szabo of Palasad North and South went from bowling to billiards, then back to bowling.
26 BEYOND BOWLING
Getting the Bowling Bug 20
By Beth Standlee
Kendra Gaines has had the bowling bug all her life, and now she wants to pass it along. By Mark Miller
56 REMEMBER WHEN
Spare No Effort
This Calls for Bud!
Boost loyalty and sales with the Memory Business Mindset.
By Patty Heath
By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson
50 Datebook 51 Classifieds 47
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER David Garber email@example.com
OFFICE MANAGER Patty Heath firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTORS David Garber Patty Heath Pamela Kleibrink Thompson George McAuliffe Mark Miller Robert Sax Beth Standlee
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Fred Groh email@example.com
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
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
Pathway to the Soul What can be better on Valentine’s Day than a gift from your Honey of chocolate, roses and the old-fashioned candy hearts with those cutesy little messages written on them? How about a 116-page gift from the BPAA? Just a few days ago Pinz, like 364 other BPAA Member centers, received their own personal copy of the BPAA’s 2015 Benchmark & Operating Ratios Survey Results. Inside these pages lie a plethora of Valentine gold for large centers or small, for urban or rural. If the pathway to a person’s soul is through the eyes, then the pathway to the soul of your center or business is discovered by reading and understanding what the data inside this report mean. Love may never be measured in statistics and numbers, but business can be. I can guarantee that your banker’s love for your borrowing ability will be dependent on how your center compares to others across the country. In my opinion, there’s no greater project or role more important than developing a study such as this. Kudos to the BPAA leadership and the dedicated and devoted staff who undertook the Herculean task to produce
this benchmark report. It’s my hope that this report and others can continue to be commissioned by the BPAA. Those bowling center proprietors who took the time to carefully and thoughtfully contribute to the effort must also be acknowledged. Imagine being asked to share your most sensitive sales and operational data and forward that information to a thirdparty accountancy group. While 365 centers, 12% of total centers in the U.S. participating in this effort, made this study statistically accurate, there were approximately 2,000 other BPAA member centers that stood the industry up like an overly anxious bride or groom-to-be leaving the other at the altar. Now that’s not true love! Every business person has an innate need and desire to see where he/she stands among his/her peer group. It’s a matter of pride. A matter of true love. A true love for the business for which we all proclaim a passion. If this study, like those in the past and in the future, are true pathways to our collective soul, it is my hope that the BPAA will continue to invest and its members will fully support their efforts. – SCOTT FRAGER, PUBLISHER AND EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org
4THIS MONTH AT www.BowlingIndustry.com How many of you members, almost 2,500 and counting, have taken the time to browse through the videos posted on IBI Online? It’s fun and informative. With 247, there is sure to be something to catch your fancy. For example, you could watch the making of the Chanel commercial, Chance Eau Vive. For film buffs, there is the 2015 trailer for the indy film Sex, Death & Bowling. Tend to be a little more business inclined? Try Kegel Pinsetter Parts, just one of the companies that has posted a video. Or, for fun, just kick back and watch Stephen Colbert singing the national anthem on his first Late Show—yes, bowling is involved. Not a member? Well, why not? It’s FREE, interesting and informative. Go to www.bowlingindustry.com and sign up. Then, video-away!
ß BITS & PIECES ß ß ß Brunswick Welcomes Chinese Delegation For the first time, a delegation from the Chinese Bowling Association (CBA) visited the U.S., hosted by Brunswick Bowling Products and Frank Zhao of Longmarch Bowling, a Brunswick distributor in the People’s Republic of China. “The CBA delegation is excited to experience American bowling, learn how the world’s leading bowling organizations operate, and discover ways to grow the sport of bowling in China,” said Zhao.
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß 2016 World Cup is headed to Shanghai
QubicaAMF announced in Las Vegas after that 2015 tournament that the 52nd Bowling World Cup in 2016 will be held in Shanghai, China, from October 14–23. The venue will be Hao’s Bowling, which opened in September 2015, and is one of the Chinese Bowling Association’s national training centers for junior bowlers. It has already hosted the CBA’s Men’s Chinese Championships for South China. The 24-lane center is equipped with QubicaAMF’s latest BES X.
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß Smiles replace Strikes and Spares
Special needs students from Bristol school systems in Tennessee, as well as Washington County, VA, and Sullivan County, TN, took part in the 3rd annual Adaptive Bowling Tournament at Belmont Lanes in Bristol. Students from Tennessee High School were on hand to help out the bowlers. Tennessee High Special Services teacher Miller Foutch helps organize the event each year. “The best thing about this is the smiles on everybody’s faces,” says Foutch.
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß Sex, Death and Bowling—IBMHF Film Project
IBMHF is promoting representations of bowling in film by hosting the Frame 4 Frame Project, a 12-month long movie festival that honors filmmakers who depict the sport artistically in their movies. The project has two primary goals: to celebrate the long and storied history of bowling in film; and to help preserve the IBMHF’s world-class film collection. One of the featured films, Sex, Death and Bowling, is now being offered on DVD at 20-percent off the retail price, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the project. Also, funding grants for tomorrow’s filmmakers and preservation of existing films are key goals.
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß BPAA Industry Study Available Now
How one’s center stacks up to other centers of equal size throughout the country can be found within the pages of BPAA’s 4th edition of the BPAA Bowling Industry Benchmarking and Operating Ratios Study, which is now available. It covers revenue per lanes and food-and-beverage profits to name a few items. Center operators who participated in the survey process will receive a complimentary copy. Others may purchase a copy online at bpaa.com. The price is $99 for BPAA members or $199 for non-members. 10
PEOPLEWATCHING Storm Products’ president Dave Symes, announced that Steve
A smiling Steve Kloempken stands between Dave Sims, president, on the left and Bill Chrisman, owner, on the right.
Kloempken is now the executive director of marketing. Kloempken has worked for Storm since 1996 as a sales representative and product specialist and most recently as technical director. Kloempken has been instrumental in the development of several new technologies, plus responsible for new products, including bowling balls, bags, gloves, and accessories. “Steve’s done an amazing job over the years as our technical director and spearheading new product development,” Storm president Dave Symes said. “He is a top performer and has shown excellent decision-making ability.” Kloempken, an accomplished bowler, will be inducted into the Outstanding USBC Performance category of the USBC Hall of Fame in the spring. He was the first collegiate bowler to win three consecutive collegiate national championships. Kloempken resides in Pleasant View, Utah, with his wife Marcia, a former PWBA member and current educator. Dave Bolt has been elected president of the IBPSIA and will lead the newly elected board of directors in 2016. Bolt is from Champaign, IL, and operates DB’s Elite Pro Shop and Instruction. He has been a board Dave Bolt member since 2003.
EXPANSIONS, OPENINGS & NEW BEGINNINGS 50-year-old Mountain Lanes in Wausau, WI, has a new lease on life as does its owner/operator Connie Nowicki. In 2013, Nowicki was diagnosed with a potassium deficiency called Hypokalemia. Due to the severity of the illness, she was put into a medically-induced coma without a lot of hope for recovery. However, that is just what she did. She is now back on her feet and Mountain Lanes is open full time. May 2016 be the best year ever for both Connie and Mountain Lanes.
Little Rock (AR) Historic District Commission is considering plans for a Dust Bowl Lanes & Lounge, a chain of centers established in Oklahoma. The center is a throwback to the classic bowling alleys of the 1970s. The building in question was a former American Legion Rendering of the proposed Dust building. Lease negotiations are in full swing. Bowl Lanes.
GreatLIFE Malaska Health and Fitness Club has agreed to purchase Suburban Lanes in Sioux Falls, SD. Remodeling is set to begin in summer 2016. Thomas P. Walsh, Sr., CEO/chairman, said, “Bowling is a family, lifetime sport and it fits right into the GreatLIFE vision.” Besides Suburban Bowl, free bowling has been extended to Empire Bowl for GreatLIFE’s 21,000 members. Times and dates have been set.
Bushwick, aka Brooklyn, is looking forward to a new “go-to-hang” place. Punch Bowl Social, a Denver company specializing in arcades for adults has taken over a 20,000-square-foot space plus a tentative 10,000-square-foot rooftop space. There will be eight to ten bowling alleys; three private karaoke rooms; ping pong, foosball tables, skee-ball and vintage arcade games. Bars and food will definitely be part of the package. When? The amusement center is set to open in the fall of 2017. A little bit of a wait but certainly something to look forward to.
Round 1 in Taunton, MA, is now open for fun. The amusement-chain corporation, Round 1, which got its start in Japan in 1980, now has nine venues in the U.S. Taunton has 20 lanes of 10-pin bowling, at least 400 arcade games, eight regulation-size pool tables, Pin-pong tables, private karaoke rooms and long hours of operation.
Jessisca and Brandon Mascareno, owners of newly renovated Tornado Alley Lanes in Abilene, TX, unofficially opened over the New Year’s holiday. They were not planning to open for a week or two but pressure from the public set the opening in motion. Improvements include new carpet, updated color scheme, renovated bathrooms, lighting and new Brunswick lanes. 12
FROM THE BOARDS
TO THE LANES
Thursday night is bowling night for teams in the Broadway Show Bowling League, an after-show tradition for Broadway cast and crew members. There are presently 26 teams and about 150 members who come together to imbibe, keep an occasional eye on the score and sing along to Top-40 hits until a 2 a.m. closing. “We all need a Jersey Boys’ John Rochette little bit of an outlet, bowls at Frames in because the business Manhattan after the show. can be draining,” said Photo credit: Cassandra Giraldo, The Wall Street Jim Stanek, the Journal standby for “Fun Home” lead Michael Cerveris. The night and bowling offer a fun way for teams to get to know their Broadway neighbors and even their own show members. The league also has a serious side. Through team registrations and raffles, it has raised more than $125,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS since 1997.
IN MEMORIAM SYLVIA BROYLES, USBC HALL OF FAMER, DIES AT AGE OF 80 Sylvia Broyles of Spring Branch, TX, a USBC Hall of Famer, died Dec. 17 at the age of 80. According to Aaron Smith of USBC Communications, Broyles spent nearly 30 years as a member of the WIBC board of directors and served on more than two dozen committees during her career. Her service at the state and local levels dates back to 1962. Broyles competed in her 50th USBC Women’s Championships earlier in 2015. Her first tournament appearance was in 1965. She had participated every year since 1968.
SHORTS David Zeitz, owner/operator, of Thunderbird Lanes in Philadelphia shared the center’s second annual Christmas for FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) Survivors Fundraiser. He said, “The funds raised are for the families of current fallen police officers [in the area]. We have a big contingent of police that bowl in our center, and we felt it was a way for us to give back to the men and women that protect us.” Santa joined in for photo ops with the kids. Over $5,000 has been raised over the last two fundraisers. Valencia Lanes, Santa Clarita, CA, held its fourth annual Bowling for Kids charity event which will benefit Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. $9,500 was raised for the Susan G. Komen Foundation breast cancer research initiative. It was the fourth year of Bowling for Boobs, held at Sunset Bowl and Lounge in York, NE. Lori Keller, an event organizer, pointed out that 75 percent of the money donated stays in Nebraska, while the other 25 percent goes directly to research. One in five children in Adams County, Quincy, IL, lives
without knowing if they will receive their next meal, according to feedingamerica.org. As a project in a Quincy High School leadership class, four seniors organized a bowl-a-thon to help bring awareness to this hunger issue. Tangerine Bowl was the venue and more than $2,000 was raised for the Horizons Social Services, which provides more than 25,000 meals a year at its food pantry. For the past nine years, the local bowling community in Santa Cruz, CA, has been fighting hunger through Strike Out Hunger, held at Boardwalk Bowl. This year, approximately 8,000 cans of food and $800 in cash donations went to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County. Boardwalk Bowl is no stranger to helping out. It has held Big Brother Big Sisters fundraiser, Haven of Hope, for 35 years. The South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division hosted its second annual Bowling Buddies, a fundraiser for the SC Special Olympics. Approximately 30 athletes and 11 law firms participated in the event, which was held at The Alley in Charleston.
What is your center doing? Email Patty Heath at email@example.com.
OUTBACK BOWL TEAMS BOWL FIRST AND COMPETE SECOND The Outback Bowl was held on New Year’s Day in Tampa, FL, at Raymond James Stadium. The University of Tennessee Volunteers faced the
Tennessee safety Brian Randolph gave his all while bowling with teammates.
Northwestern University Wildcats. Prior to the big event, both teams had some time for some lighthearted bowling competition at Splitsville in Channelside. While the bowling was fun, the UT Volunteers took no prisoners at the bowl game, with a final score of 45 to 6 over the NWU Wildcats.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL BOY’S BOWLING AVERAGE RECORD SET Nick Sommer (16), a sophomore on the Hononegah High School’s boy’s bowling team, in Rockton, IL, helped lead his team to an undefeated conference bowling season and, in the process, ended up setting a new local conference and national scoring record. Sommer recorded high games of 299 and 300 and two 800 series (814 and 824). He ended the conference season averaging 252.1. Sommer credits his record-setting scoring run to the support of: his family; high school coaches Brad Sommer, Dennis Mowry, Tony Hall and Jeremy Woody; private bowling coach, USBC Gold Coach Richard Shockley; his teammates; Storm Bowling Products; and Mike Dole of BowlersMart Pro Shop in Rockford.
BOWLING REVISTED By Beth Standlee
eet Rob Szabo, owner of Palasad North and South, both in London, Ontario, Canada. What is a “Palasad’ you ask? It’s a swanky name for a bowling-based FEC business. In 1994, Szabo’s family took advantage of an opportunity to purchase a 24-lane, Brunswick five-pin center, which was leasing space in the building they owned. They
M Proprietor Rob Szabo took his business from bowling to billiards, then back to bowling.
CENTER STAGE removed all the lanes and put in 43 upscale billiard tables and put heavy emphasis on food and beverage. After the billiards craze cooled in the early 2000s, they put 10 lanes back and included above ground ball returns. While billiards still play a role at Palasad North, there is more: a cozy bar overlooks the billiard and bowling areas; a Ping Pong room doubles as an event area; another group space, rich with wood tones, has comfortable seating and a fireplace; and a game room filled with redemption prizes that are selected from a cool toy bus. Palasad South was purchased from AMF in 2000. Szabo removed 12 lanes from the 32-lane center to accommodate an expansive food and beverage offering plus gaming. In 2013, the South added laser tag. Accessible comfort is the name of the game with several group spaces. There are billiard tables, a Ping-Pong room which can be transformed into a birthday space that includes karaoke; and several other group areas that create a relaxed atmosphere and private boutique spaces. Palasad South is an event plannerâ€™s dream. How Szabo went from billiards and food and beverage to the creative, multiplespace venues was a journey. The bowling business 20 years ago was primarily bowling leagues. Szabo made the decision to not floor leagues and make food and beverage a main component of the business, which became 60-70% of his total
revenue. The difficulty with food and beverage for Szabo was the unpredictablity. Szabo wanted to stabilize the unpredictability with group events. In 2013, Szabo heard Beth Standlee speak at a conference. He hired her to update his business, and says, â€œThrough TrainerTainment, Beth has helped us become a sales-focused and goal-driven company while giving great support to our people.â€? THE PLAN BEHIND THE SUCCESS: A SALES-FOCUSED BUSINESS The Palasad centers have a group sales manager at each location who is primarily responsible for group sales. These managers target companies, youth groups, and churches and host a few fundraising activities during down times. The focus is on Past Party Outreach (PPO). To generate new business, there are also outreach goals in target markets. The sale process involves connecting 18
with the guest, qualifying their needs, presenting an event based on those needs, and then closing the sale. This takes an order-taker and turns them into a fullfledged sales pro. Further, each sales person understands their role in the overall success of the company. It would be incorrect to suggest that this is simply a sales success story. The operation teams at both North and South locations do an outstanding job of delivering what the sales pros sell. Szabo has worked hard to develop a sales culture that permeates the front of the house through to the back of the house. He and his staff take the time to train, support and follow-up. Szabo reflects that the group and party business has allowed his business to be future focused. “Our group revenue has grown tremendously, my sales staff are constantly being challenged, and they have gained confidence. I’m sure that this totally sounds like a late night infomercial for TrainerTainment, but it is what it is; there is no disputing our results.” ❖
Beth Standlee is the CEO and founder of Trainertainment. The company is devoted to growing people and their businesses. Beth and her team provide fun training that produces serious results for your sales, service, and leadership. Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org www.trainertainment.net | 817-887-4840.
SPARE NO EFFORT Boosting loyalty and sales with the Memory Business Mindset. By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson owling entertainment centers offer birthday packages, food and beverage, and games and equipment to entice customers. But according to Dr. Lori Sipe, the business is really about creating memories. Bowling center operators offer an experience that people remember. In a presentation about the Memories Business Mindset, Dr. Sipe pointed out that in the amusement business, a memorable experience is more powerful than good, or even great, service. Before teaching in the tourism and hospitality management arena, Dr. Sipe was an executive for Sea World. Her expertise and research focuses on innovation and strategic leadership in organizations whose main economic offering is an experience, such as bowling centers. Sipe explained how operators can embrace the Memories Business Mindset. The organization must offer experiences that engage customers in a memorable way. Customer interaction with employees, the environment and activities combine to create the experience. BECs do not just offer a chance for families or friends to get together; they provide experiences. “The power of providing unique experiences resides in the organization’s ability to create a strong emotional bond with customers, resulting in a greater likelihood of customer loyalty and premium prices," shared Dr. Sipe. “The most memorable
experiences are multi-sensory. We tend to remember experiences that engage all five senses in an emotional way.” Sensory triggers could include the odor of popcorn (smell), nostalgic music (sound), lights (sight), or temperature (feel). Some emotional connections are thrill, joy or nostalgia. “People also tend to remember social interactions, the moments when they engage in some way with other people. Things out of the ordinary – surprises – as well as variances to our expectations are memorable.” How can you make an experience unique? Through the social interaction of your employees. That face-toface interaction is what makes your bowling center memorable. “People have positive memories when they are rewarded, as long as the reward results from their own actions,” stated Sipe. They must play a role in the interaction. Businesses that sell commodities, goods or services can’t make the same profit as those offering experiences. Businesses that offer experiences can charge more for their offerings because the consumer perceives a greater value on experiences. Sipe pointed out that coffee could be a commodity (the beans sold), or put into a can (like Folgers), or sold at a restaurant (services). But Starbucks has transformed coffee into an experience and the consumer is willing to pay a higher price for that experience. When an emotional value is attached to a purchase, a premium price can also be attached. Distinction Dr. Lori Sipe
BUSINESS and differentiation lead to a competitive advantage. “Differentiated value is central to the experiential offering,” observed Sipe. “The value propositions for services and experiences are different,” Sipe continued. “The value proposition is functional for services, and emotional for organizations which offer an experience. Transitioning to a memories business begins with diving deeply into the organization’s economic offering.” Bowling centers offer tangible and intangible products, services and experiential offerings. A growth strategy for owners “may reside in continuous innovation of the experience.” Sipe observed that when delivering services, the goal is consistency and the value is functional. However, when delivering experiences, the goal is differentiation and the value is emotional. Guests will attach an emotional value to their experience based on interaction. An experience is produced and consumed simultaneously as an interaction of the guest with the activities, the environment and employees. “You’re in the Memories Business Mindset if you embrace complexity,” noted Sipe. “Understanding the unique guest experience, as well as the hot spots and touch points, becomes critical.” What then is the role of the employees? Rethink the roles of employees in a collective experience. Adopting the experience mindset, rethinking boundaries and blurring the lines can create innovation. “Continuously refreshing the experiential offerings is an opportunity to engage the diverse passions, curiosities, and talents of people,” encouraged Sipe. It is imperative that employees understand who you are, your values, your mission, your goals. Dr. Sipe explained how to develop the experience or memory mindset in five steps or stages: 1. Intrigue (think about it) 2. Initiate (try something, perhaps a meeting). 3. Invest (use time and talent in order to adopt) 4. Integrate (the mindset is across all aspects of your business.) 5. Infuse (the Memories Business Mindset is part of the company’s culture). The BEC business is all about making memories and experiences. A certain game, food item, or attraction re-ignites a fond memory or brings a smile to a guest’s face. Each positive or fun memory provides a reason for guests to return and continue to enjoy and build on those memories. Positive memories and experiences improve business through repeat visits and word of mouth. Creating lasting memories for guests can by achieved. Proprietors can do that by elevating the experience, providing a take-home item to trigger the memory, and encouraging guests to document the moment on social media. These three pillars, individually or collectively, help to create and retain memories. Another way to elevate the experience is to make sure guests feel special. Managers should focus on customer service and really understand what BECs are selling: memories and entertainment. The staff needs to lay the groundwork for a memorable experience. With the Memories Business Mindset, bowling center owners and operators will be more open to innovation and creating unique, memorable experiences for their guests who will want to repeat their experience and bring their friends. That increases sales and profits, which improves your game. ❖
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.
Virtual bowling provides real competition for fantasy sports fans. By Robert Sax
he hottest consumer story in sports in 2015 was the explosive growth of daily fantasy sports (DFS), in which players use the stats of real pro athletes to compete online for daily or weekly cash prizes. The industry leaders in the U.S., DraftKings and FanDuel, spent big, big bucks on TV and online advertising that enticed players with prizes as much as a million dollars. How hot is this market? As estimated by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, more than 57 million people participate in DFS, rotisserie leagues and other fantasy sports. DFS players are young, tech-savvy and mostly male, an enticing demographic that includes many bowlers. According to analyst Eilers Research, DFS players are plunking down more than a billion dollars a year in “entry fees” (please don’t call them bets.) How might bowling proprietors leverage the trend for their benefit? At one extreme is Latitude360, a small eatertainment chain with bowling, movies and games, which acquired a DFS company, Major League Fantasy. The chain has announced plans to offer in-house sports book lounges, where customers can dine and drink while watching games on TV and playing proprietary fantasy contests on
IBI February 2016
their wireless devices. But more cautious proprietors might want to hold off on such ambitious projects for now. That’s because the hot summer became a rather chilly fall for DraftKings and FanDuel when the attorney general of New York State and the Nevada Gaming Commission declared DFS to be gambling and banned the games in their respective states. At press time, a New York State appellate court had stayed the ban, and the matter will now move through the court system. In late December, the attorney general of Illinois declared DFS games illegal in her state. The DFS companies face challenges from other quarters too. Last October, there were reports that a DraftKings employee won hundreds of thousands of dollars playing games on rival FanDuel, possibly using insider information; the company quickly scrambled to prohibit such play. Then, wide receiver Pierre Garcon of the Washington Redskins football team filed a class action suit against FanDuel
COVER STORY on behalf of all NFL players, alleging that the company “knowingly and improperly exploits the popularity and performance of Garcon, along with all the other National Football League players at offensive skilled positions without their authority or a valid license.” With the DFS companies determined to fight for their businesses, there’s no telling how long it will take to sort out these messes. Fortunately, some creative bowling app publishers are already offering alternative ways to leverage the appeal of daily fantasy sports while avoiding the potential legal problems. These alternatives are worth considering if you want to boost league play, especially among young males with disposable income.
Win More without Bowling More
Mark Duca founded New Jersey-based LeaguePals with life-long bowling buddy Bill Savastano after a frustrating night of league play capped by not having any cash for the league envelope. That was the lightbulb moment that got them thinking about a better way to collect league dues and manage play. The two young men realized that many in their generation handle financial transactions electronically. “We have credit cards, recurring payments, mobile payments, and direct deposits to help us complete transactions,” says Duca. “Cash is quickly becoming a grand inconvenience.” They set out to build an online platform that would make it easy Bill Savastano to collect league dues in a “digital envelope.” They then became inspired to make every aspect of league bowling easier to organize. LeaguePals debuted in August 2014 as a secure web application that can be accessed via any computer or mobile device with a browser. Bowlers and bowling centers can use LeaguePals to track weekly payments, view stats and standings, search for nearby leagues, create and fill teams, receive payments electronically and much more. There is no mobile app yet, but one is in development. In 2015 LeaguePals added online play, which Duca enthusiastically calls “the way to win more without bowling more.” Players compete by signing up for short-term virtual leagues and submitting their verified real league scores to LeaguePals. Winners are posted each week and players can collect their winnings by check or direct deposit to their bank accounts. Rolltech, a pioneer in bowling apps Mark Duca
(see IBI February 2015 issue), also jumped on the trend when it introduced its Action Bowling feature last November. The name is a tip of the hat to the legendary high-stakes competitions between ace amateur bowlers, backed by professional gamblers, in the New York area in the 50s and 60s. Rich Belsky, Rolltech’s Las Vegas-based founder, says Action Bowling lets league bowlers using the Rolltech app deposit money into secure accounts and then choose the virtual contests they want to enter. After bowling their league games, players submit their scores to the contest they entered along with a photo of their league recap sheet. If a player's total pinfall exceeds that of other Action Bowling participants in the contest, the player wins the prize money. Unlike real league play there is no waiting until the end of the season to collect winnings; players can withdraw their prize money as Rich Belsky soon as it is credited to the player’s account. Action Bowling was initially available only to players at Rolltech’s 40 partner bowling centers. Then in late December, Rolltech purchased VirtualTournaments.com, a pioneer of online bowling contests, from software publisher Scott Scriver. Also included in the deal is an exclusive license to use Scriver’s popular LeagueSecretary software for virtual bowling. Now any league bowler at any center in the United States can participate in Action Bowling and upload scores easily via LeagueSecretary. Belsky estimates the potential IBI
COVER STORY player pool to be more than a million league bowlers. To date 1,500 or so Rolltech users have entered contests, and more than $35,000 in prize money has been awarded. "If you've ever thought you could bowl better than other league bowlers around the country, this is your chance to prove it and win money at the same time," says Belsky. Duca says that several hundred bowlers have competed in LeaguePals online tournaments, which have given out $20,000 in prize money to date. The company has also awarded merchandise prizes from Storm and hopes to add additional industry prize sponsors soon.
Game of Skill or Chance?
Are DFS games legal? State governments regulate gambling in the United States, and prior to 2006 most would likely have considered DFS to be gambling. Then along came the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a federal law that sought to eliminate illegal Internet gambling (especially online poker) by making it a crime for online gaming businesses to accept most forms of payment. The act exempted several forms of gambling, including lotteries and Indian gaming. These “carve-outs” also created a loophole that the DFS providers have exploited to create their business model. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, the UIGEA specifically exempts fantasy sports games by allowing online contests with “an outcome that reflects the relative knowledge of the participants, or their skill at physical reaction or physical manipulation.” On its website, the FSTA maintains that “fantasy sports leagues are games of skill. Managers [players] must take into account a myriad of statistics, facts and game theory in order to be competitive. A manager must know more than simple depth charts and statistics to win; they also must to take into account injuries, coaching styles, weather patterns, prospects, home and away statistics, and many other pieces of information in order to be a successful fantasy sports manager.” The DFS companies maintain that their offerings are games of skill 24
because players rely on their knowledge of athletes’ performance statistics only and have no control over factors like injury, illness or suspension that can affect how a particular athlete performs at any time. But to opponents of DFS, fantasy sports games are no more a game of skill than picking a winner at the horse track or in a football pool.
How Virtual Bowling Differs
Rolltech and LeaguePals believe their offerings are not gambling because players use their actual bowling scores to compete. Rolltech says its legal counsel has carefully evaluated the laws in each state where it offers Action Bowling and is confident that its bowling tournaments are legal in those states. At press time, Rolltech had identified Alaska, Arizona, Delaware and Michigan as states that regulate or limit bowling tournaments or other skill contests awarding prizes. Belsky says this legal review also confirmed that federal law does not prohibit his company’s innovative approach to operating online bowling tournaments. “Unlike sports wagering or fantasy sports contests, the outcome of our bowling tournaments depend solely on each bowler’s own skill and bowling ability—as determined in real-life league games,” says Belsky. “Our tournaments do not allow non-bowlers or other third parties to wager on the tournament or win money based on a bowler’s performance.” LeaguePals does not offer daily games, but Duca believes their short term leagues based on players’ actual verified scores qualify as games “based on skill.” There’s no doubt that virtual league play offers a strong additional incentive for bowlers to play in leagues. If you want to boost league play at your center, it seems worth a try. Proprietors don’t need to do much more than make sure their scoring systems are compatible with virtual bowling then promote virtual play to their league bowlers. As low-cost marketing incentives go, it seems like a winner. ❖
Robert Sax is a writer and PR consultant in Los Angeles. He grew up in Toronto, Canada, the home of five-pin bowling.
According to George imes are good in our world. We’d have to say that our form of multi- attraction entertainment is being widely embraced by the end-user players. BECs continue to proliferate. Main Event, a highly visible example, continues to expand. Other powerful chains like Bartholomy Bowling and Bowl New England continue to add locations while independents continue to open new locations and convert older ones. We’ve become mainstream, community-based entertainment. The combination of attractions such as the fun and sociability of bowling, the excitement and rewards of redemption games, the team play and challenge of laser tag all work well, individually and together, to attract and entertain an audience. We’ve figured out what the environment needs to look and feel like, and the importance of quality food and beverage. It’s paying off in terms of solid attendance and spending in our BECs. How do we keep the momentum going? I’ve been around the FEC side of the business long enough to have seen the ups and downs, the cycles of prosperity, and the principles common to the long term winners. A long-ago mentor once said, “In this business, just when you’ve got everything tuned up and working right, you better show up the next day with your sleeves rolled up.” Like a sports team, we need to keep addressing the fundamentals, continue to wisely reinvest in ideas and attractions, and focus on keeping the guests coming back. As always, we hope this issue has some valuable information to help you with that. Amusement Expo is coming up in Las Vegas, March 15-17, and our preview guide is within these pages. The show is co-located with the Laser Tag Convention, so all of the latest ideas and equipment for the leading BEC/FEC entertainment attractions can be covered in one trip. See you there!
From David’s Desk owling is in such a curious position in today’s market of entertainment. It is exciting, nerve racking and a challenge considering all the options that proprietors can and sometimes must do to keep their centers viable for customers. In this issue of IBI ’s Beyond Bowling, you will read about Palasad North and South in London, Ontario, Canada, where the five-pin lanes were removed and converted into an arcade and table tennis area. Proprietor Rob Szabo recently added ten pin bowling back to the model, which proves, once again, that bowling is the anchor for many FECs. It is the competition for any age that keeps bowling strong, no matter if you have a traditional center, a BEC or an FEC. As this is a Beyond Bowling issue with a focus on Amusement Expo (AE), taking place in Las Vegas, March 15-17, we broaden our focus to touch on ideas for bowling centers to consider. Tried and true ideas are redemption and arcade machines. The AE has all the support proprietors need to help make good decisions when adding or renovating game rooms. Vendors can help with smart layouts, newer game ideas, and the keys to making redemption work for any size center. The second idea is something new and different: an escape room. This new attraction is covered in our second feature article. The idea of working with your friends or colleagues to figure out the puzzle and escape from a fullsize room is exhilarating. As I experienced in Orlando at Escapology, it takes a team to fulfill the mission within the allotted time to escape. This experience fosters social interaction and brings in extra dollars in food and beverage as the players relive the puzzle and discuss the clues to escape. If you have not experienced an escape room, carve out time to do so. Enjoy this installment of Beyond Bowling, and I will see you in Las Vegas!
George McAuliffe Chief FEC Strategist, Redemption Plus
David Garber Associate Publisher International Bowling Industry
By George McAuliffe
AE Puts Fun in Your Center This year’s Amusement Expo leads with an FEC and BEC focus.
Trade Show Amusement Expo (AE) is right around the corner, March 15-17 in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Once again the game and FEC trade show will co-locate with the laser tag convention and the National Bulk Vending Association’s trade show, so attendees will be able to cover several bases. Games and FEC attractions continue to do well and play a central part in the success of BECs. Proprietors who have transformed their centers into BECs understand the power of an FEC in combination with bowling. In fact, the success of the BEC business model is transforming the games industry as well. AAMA, the American Amusement Machine Association, one of AE’s organizers, recently formed an FEC committee to add focus and leadership as the organization adds services to support the game industry’s growth in multi-attraction, community-based centers. Amusement Expo will reflect those efforts perhaps most notably in the lineup of education sessions which will span the entire day on Tuesday, March 15. We’ll take a look at the conference highlights as well as preview the leading exhibitors at the trade show on March 16-17. Note that at press time booth numbers were not available. Check the shows’ websites for booth numbers and seminar locations. http://www.amusementexpo.org/home.html and www.lasertagconvention.com Do not miss the vendors listed below.
Baytek continues to play a leading role among game manufacturers. You can now add Grand Piano Keys to their unbelievable roster of recent top ten hits which includes: Big Bass Wheel, Ticket Monster, Dizzy Chicken, Crank It, Connect Four, and Sink It, all of which continue to be strong performers in 28
our clients FECs. Expect a lot of buzz around the latest games Quick Drop and Tower of Tickets, both of which attracted a lot of attention at IAAPA and enjoy good early performance. Prize Hub automated redemption centers should be especially interesting to traditional bowling centers with space constraints.
In addition to showing the hottest redemption items, BMI will be exhibiting its automated reorder system (ARS) that syncs with all leading POS systems. The result is the world's “most efficient, just-in-time redemption inventory management.” Locations utilizing ARS receive on-site setups and automatically refreshes virtual websites depicting digital plan-a-grams for easy merchandising and much more.
Coastal is sporting a powerful lineup these days. Black Hole leads the pack in earning power and does it in a small footprint at a good price. Simpson’s Soccer is proving to be a much needed, high play value sports game with great physical interactivity for kids. For the adult players, who are vital to BEC growth, Yahtzee is one of the most popular on the market. Popa-Ball, also for the adult market, is loosely based on the classic Pop-a-Ball game, one of the great hits of all time. Both have a small footprint and are reasonably priced. Rounding out the lineup is Frog Around, The Balloon Game, and Simpson’s Donut Daze.
Creative Works continues to lead the industry in exciting theming, notably in
laser tag playfields and mini-golf, and will be featuring its various attractions on the convention floor, including the latest release of Color Crush. Those who stop by the booth will also learn about how to attend the LaserTAG360 event, Creative Works’ contribution to the education of its customers.
Embed is having a banner year, as the world of cashless payment has arrived. Embed systems provide guest convenience, major labor savings, cash control, pricing flexibility, great reporting, and a long list of marketing tools to help drive guest satisfaction and sales. Embed has been a leader in debit card installations in BECs and throughout the amusement industry. Dave & Buster’s recently announced their conversion to Embed. As a part of Helix Leisure, with sister companies LAI Games and Timezone, Embed understands customers in unique ways. The Locker Network rounds out the Helix lineup, which is of special interest to bowling proprietors.
LIVE OAK BANK
Live Oak Bank, a lender that specializes in providing financing solutions to the amusement industry, has a sharp focus on FECs, bowling centers, roller skating centers, small parks and water parks nationwide. Ben Jones, a former operator and amusement park industry leader, leads the lending team. Live Oak provides financing for the purchase of new games and attractions, remodeling, expansion, refinancing to improve cash flow or a combination of these. The team will be in attendance to discuss your needs.
QubicaAMF believes today’s customers expect a stunning visual experience. They have reinvented their long established Highway66 mini-bowling to allow for a variety of unique masking units and lane graphic themes. One is sure to fit the look and feel of your center, while providing the visual appeal that keeps people coming in and coming back for more. The Suite Spot combines all that’s appealing, fun, social and comfortable about traditional bowling into a unique attraction. Other creative new themes include JukeBox, Vintage, and Far West.
Redemption Plus will be unveiling Volume 2 of our 2016 Reward Series publication at the show. The reward series is filled with industry insights and business evaluations, combined with detail on
products worth investing in. Merchandise is one piece of a successful redemption game room. Beyond the merchandise, the Redemption Plus team is prepared with the operational expertise, systems, and experience to help operators maximize the guest experience in the game room and to drive repeat visits to the facility. I’ll be in the booth, so please stop by and say hello.
Amusement Expo Conference Highlights The conference begins Tuesday, March 15 with morning coffee and networking from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., followed by the keynote presentation. This year the speaker is O. Lee Mincey, president of O. Lee Mincey Management Training and Development. Mincey’s company provides human resources and employee training services to the entertainment industry, including Coca-Cola, Disney, Six Flags and Live Nation Entertainment. He is expected to cover a range of timely topics that encompass management, employee engagement and company culture issues. Here are a few highlights from the rest of the program. Please check http://www.amusementexpo.org for the complete listing.
9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Seventeen Things You Can do Today to Sell More Tomorrow" Speaker: Brian Offenberger, Right On-No Bull Marketing
How do you take your sales to the next level? Brian will share 17 easy-to-implement ways to generate greater sales. This is not expected to be the “same old” approach to selling. It’s a fresh, effective and innovative perspective incorporating new technology as tools to grow your business.
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. “Dave & Busters - Gateway to Continued Success: A Case Study" Speaker: Kevin Bachus, Dave & Busters
Kevin will provide a candid and detailed look inside how Dave & Buster’s approaches making major decisions regarding changes and growth within their organization, including how problem and opportunity Continued on page 45...
Where Value, Tradition and Excitement Meet America’s Incredible Pizza Company plays it down the middle.
By Robert Sax raft beer, foodie-influenced menus and bowling apps are the hot trends driving some of today’s biggest success stories in the bowling and family entertainment industry. With upscale concepts springing up faster than fancy food trucks at a music festival, it’s easy to overlook the fact that there are still companies doing very well with more commonplace approaches. One such contrarian is America’s Incredible Pizza Company, where you won’t find artisanal cocktails, cutting-edge cuisine or leather couches. What you will find is plentiful food and fun at a value price, which is just fine with the families with young children that make up the majority of IPC’s patrons. “We are a family entertainment center,” says Don Potvin, IPC’s senior executive vice-president. “We do not serve alcohol in our facility. That's on purpose, because we really want to keep it very family oriented.” Founders Rick and Cheryl Barsness got into the pizza business in the 1970s, growing a single restaurant in Victoria, TX, into almost a dozen franchised Gatti's Pizza stores. Then Rick, a former high school hockey star, had an idea for something bigger and more transcendent. Rick lamented that his father had been unable to attend his youth hockey games. He wanted to create the kind of place where he would have liked to spend time with his father after a game, where family and friends could get together for great food, games and fun. Rick’s dream became America’s Incredible Pizza Company. Rick and his team did extensive research into the family entertainment category and identified families with children between the ages of 5-14 as a significant and underserved market. “Chuck E. Cheese is really for the small children, and you're not going to see older kids going in to Chuck E. Cheese,” says Potvin. “Then, on the other hand, Dave and Buster's . . . it's just not a real comfortable environment for the older kid. There's not enough attractions.” Potvin claims a key difference between IPC and its primary
Rick and Cheryl Barsness
competitors is that it provides more attractions that families can do together. That includes engaging activities like electric go-carts and bumper cars, which the competition doesn’t offer. Depending on the location, other activities include billiards, miniature golf, laser tag, redemption and video games, giant indoor slides and even an indoor roller-coaster.
MINI-BOWLING IS A MAXI-FAVORITE
Another way IPC defies the trends is by not offering full-size bowling. They once had full-size lanes in their Tulsa location, but they didn’t draw well because patrons couldn’t get alcoholic beverages. “We found out when we had full lane bowling there, you don't serve beer, you're making a mistake,” says Potvin. “There's a real strong correlation to the people that want to go bowling, that [beer] be part of it.” So they replaced the existing full-size lanes and mini-bowling with a trampoline park. Although there was no major outcry over the loss of full-size bowling, the customers did demand a return of mini-bowling. In fact, mini-bowling is a very popular attraction at every IPC; all of the locations have at least four lanes of small ball. When IPC expanded their Tulsa store, they bought a used mini-bowling system and had it completely updated with LED lighting, new screens, new pins and glow-in-the-dark balls. The refreshed system was so popular that Potvin plans to update the rest of their mini-bowling. “We're going to open a new store in Oklahoma City next year,” says Potvin, “and
we will be putting in at least eight lanes of mini-bowling in that location. We LOVE mini bowling in our concept.” Potvin says the IPC concept works best with large stores at high traffic locations in communities of more than 50,000 people. “While our stores do require a large space, we have found there are many empty grocery stores, Wal-Mart and K-mart-type buildings which are ideally located and can often be leased or purchased at extremely favorable rates,” explains Potvin. The large area of its locations also attracts corporate and social groups holding events. “Our facility in Tulsa, OK, we just expanded to 100,000 square feet. We can seat over 850 guests at any one time for a meal,” says Potvin. IPC has locations in Tulsa, Memphis, St. Louis, San Antonio, Springfield and Conroe, TX. The concept has also succeeded south of the border, where Mexican investors have opened franchises in the cities of Monterrey, Queretaro and Chihuahua. “They really like what we had to offer here,” says Potvin. “Those are franchise locations, it's their investment. We basically support the brand and help them be successful.” According to its website, the Monterrey franchise has entertained more than 2,000,000 guests and hosted more than 12,500 parties since its opening in 2007.
ROCKIN’ A ‘50S FAMILY THEME
The music and décor are inspired by 1950s Americana, with classic rock’n’roll music on the sound system and a classic ‘57 Chevy on display inside the doors. Diners have their choice of four ‘50s-themed eating
areas, including the Route 66 Diner, high school gymnasium, Starlite drive-in theater and family room. IPC emphasizes family entertainment values at its arcades as well. There are no ultra-violent games or games that show blood. Potvin says that may turn off teenagers, but they are not a target group for IPC. “Let's put it this way, we're not a teenage hangout,” says Potvin. “We don't have those blood-and-guts games.” Food and beverage service at IPC is strictly buffetstyle. Pizza is the star, with many varieties including lower-carb versions made with lavosh-style thin crust. Guests can also choose from pasta, tacos, noodles and Midwest American classics like mac’n’cheese. The menu is also one place where IPC is incorporating current trends. Celebrity chef James Clery has introduced a variety of healthier options, including gluten-free and vegan items. Potvin emphasizes the attraction of the all-youcan-eat buffet to families and large groups. “It's not unusual in our stores where a family shows up at 11:30, eats lunch, plays all afternoon, then has some dinner, then goes home,” he explains. Although a 2014 study from industry analyst IBISWorld said buffet restaurant revenue had declined nationwide, they remain popular in the mid and southwestern U.S., where IPC’s stores are located.
Over the years, several groups have recognized IPC and its founders for their business acumen and accomplishments. IPC was ranked number 63 on trade publication Pizza Today’s 2014 list of Top 100 Pizza Companies with an estimated $35,000,000 in gross sales including food and attractions. IPC is headquartered in Springfield, MO, and in 2008 the Small Business Administration in that state included Rick and Cheryl Barsness among their top regional entrepreneurs. That same year, IPC was named a “Top Family Entertainment Center of the World” by IAAPA, and was ranked 12th in Inc. magazine’s Top 100 Food & Beverage Companies category. Potvin says the company plans to add more locations in the future and make them bigger to fit in larger attractions. “We love the indoor spinning roller coaster. It's very, very popular. Two story laser tags, where it's multiple-story inside the building, that's very
popular,” he says. “Things like tea cup rides like you see at Disneyland, where we're adding more of those moving attractions inside the facility. It's making families want to come back again and again.” Potvin sums up IPC’s formula for success, “We feel we provide a lot of entertainment, a lot of food availability, at a value price.” That may not be trendy, but it works. Vanilla ice cream isn’t trendy either, but it’s still the most popular flavor in America. ❖
Robert Sax is a writer and PR consultant in Los Angeles. He grew up in Toronto, Canada, the home of five-pin bowling.
Time is of the Essence Take a break from the digital world with a live-action adventure.
By Robert Sax ock-ins, all-night parties for teens, are nothing new to BEC and FEC proprietors. But how about locking a dozen adults in a room for an hour with a hungry zombie or a mad scientist with a deadly virus, and challenging them to get out by using their wits? That’s the idea behind room escape attractions, one of the hottest global trends in active entertainment. Room escapes, also known as escape rooms, real escape games and room escape adventures, are live-action games played in one or more rooms where props and set decoration create a fantasy setting such as a laboratory or jail. A group of players (usually 4-12 people) explores the room, seeks out clues and solves puzzles to engineer their escape or complete an important mission. If the team solves the puzzles by the deadline (typically one hour) they are released from the room victorious. If not, the forces of evil may carry the day, but either way, players are having a lot of fun. Room escapes may incorporate video and other technology as props or to brief players on the game, but most of the clues and puzzles to be solved are mechanical or written. Players typically may not use smartphones, tablets or other connected devices to seek information or solve puzzles. This low tech approach, of course, is part of the games’ appeal. Scott Nicholson, a professor of game design at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, has studied the appeal of room escape games. “This form of embodied play combines the excitement of doing things in the real world, an element of perceived risk, the requirement of active participation and player agency to create a sense of adventure, which is the atmosphere in most escape rooms,” writes Nicholson. “The expectation in a live-action adventure game is that the players will be acting as though they themselves are in this situation and having this adventure.” In other words, it’s a grownup version of children reenacting favorite movies, TV shows or video games in their playrooms. Room escapes evolved primarily from a popular genre of video games known as escape-the-room games. Pioneered by “Myst” and “Crimson Room,” these games challenge players to use their wits
Escapology's Shanghaied room.
and puzzle-solving skills instead of weapons to escape a locked room or an isolated environment like an island. Other influences on room escapes include scavenger hunts, haunted houses, role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, and reality TV shows like Survivor. Takao Kato, a Japanese event producer, created what might have been the first commercial, live action escape game. He called it the Real Escape Game and introduced it in Kyoto in 2007 as a single room game for groups of 5-6 players. To his delight, the game was a hit. In 2012 he opened a location in San Francisco, and it has influenced several American game creators. Room escapes began to proliferate in Asia in 2012 then conquered Europe and moved on to Australia, Canada, and the USA. (Budapest, Hungary and Toronto, Canada are significant hubs of room escape activity.) Most room escape operations are stand-alone attractions with one or more rooms and scenarios, but some adventurous FEC owners are now offering them as well. The number of North American FECs offering the games is still small, but the trend appears to be growing. It’s not limited to independents either; at least one international operator, LaserQuest, offers a room escape called KeyQuest at several of its laser tag centers in Canada and the U.S.
Evan Wright is a co-founder of EscapeReviewerRoom.com, a Canadian company that tracks escape room games worldwide. Players can find or review games on his website, which also offers a free iPhone app that Wright hopes will become “the Tripadvisor of room escapes.” He has been tracking room escapes since first playing one four years ago, and estimates there are more than 430 room escape operators in the U.S.A. and about 130 in Canada. Eric Wigginton is director of franchise sales for Escapology, an English company that has been active in the U.S. market for more than a year. To date, Escapology has signed up 18 franchisees, with locations pending in Texas, Michigan, Nebraska and Massachusetts. Some will be standalone operations and others will be in FECs. “Most of the FECs are adding an average of four rooms, totaling 2000 to 2500 square feet,” says Wigginton. The sky is the limit when it comes to the cost of building a room escape attraction, and a few standalone locations
line item is the personnel who run the games. Some games feature live actors, and most games feature a game master or moderator who explains the game, keeps the action going and debriefs the players after the game. Staff is also needed to reset the room after each game, which can take up to an hour. Some standalone proprietors create their own games and rooms, but it requires a lot of work and advanced game development skills. The trick is to create a game that satisfies even if players don’t solve it completely. FEC owners without sufficient time or game skills can consult companies like Escapology and Bucket List Productions. These vendors can create a custom game or provide a licensed kit for an existing game and also train center staff to operate it. Marty Parker of Bucket List Productions is the creator of Trapped in a Room with
have build-outs costing in the six figures. But industry experts say the average cost per room is US$15,000 – 20,000, a modest figure compared to other live attractions like full-size bowling or laser tag. The average admission price is US$25 per person, higher on an hourly basis than laser tag and competitive with higher-end bowling centers . Operating and maintenance costs are also relatively modest; the most expensive IBI
a Zombie, which he has licensed to operators across the U.S. A successful producer of outdoor active entertainment events like mud runs and tomato fights, Parker came up with Zombie when a friend of his wife challenged him to offer something less messy. “He told me ‘I’m not going to jump in mud . . . I don’t want tomatoes in my hair, but if you try a room escape, I’ll come.’” The next weekend Parker visited Kato’s Jerry Weber The Real Escape Game in San Francisco. He came away with the idea of combining a room escape with live theater, and after a month of furious activity, he launched the first version of Zombie in Chicago. He has since set up more than fifteen Zombie locations worldwide, eight of which he owns and operates. Big Thrill Factory in Minnetonka, MN, is one of the first FECs to set up a Zombie adventure. “A friend of mine mentioned that he had seen this show,” recalls proprietor Barry Zelickson. “I went to Chicago to see one and had an amazing time. The time went by quickly and it was entertaining.” The concept also appealed to him because of his many years operating haunted house events for Halloween. Zelickson had been looking for a way to utilize a 17’ x 15’ room under the ropes course in his center. Although his team didn’t like the idea at first, he went ahead with it anyway. His hunch was good one, and “Zombie” has been popular with customers. “From an entertainment standpoint, it’s been amazing; it’s entertaining, it’s challenging. Based on the fact that we still have strong interest in it and it’s been well over a year, we’ve been very happy,” says Zelickson. Jerry Weber of The Web Extreme Entertainment claims he was the first to offer an escape room attraction in Cincinnati. He launched it in March 2015 and says that since then three standalone rooms have opened in the area. Weber was attracted by the novelty and the low initial startup costs, noting that “the cost of entry is damn near nothing, compared to most things.” He has since added one to his other location, the Laser Web in Dayton, Ohio.
In March 2016, TransWorld will salute the trend by offering Escape Room City, a 15,000 square-foot show-within-a-show at its annual Halloween and Attractions trade show in St. Louis. Organizers promise “an interactive escape room zone bursting with live displays, puzzle tech, ‘off the shelf’ games [and] onsite games you can play.” Escape Room City will also offer educational seminars with industry experts that will teach attendees everything they need to know about running escape games. More information is available at http://www.haashow.com/escape-room-city/.
The response from players has been positive, with the bulk of the players “pretty much geared towards the 18-30 year old market. Below 16 [years], they typically don’t get the concept of how to solve the puzzles.” Due to the as yet limited awareness of escape rooms in the U.S. Weber is still trying to find the right marketing message to pull in more of the general public. Corporate business, however, has been very brisk, and corporate bookings represent about 20% of his room escape business, says Weber. Corporate clients,
including Cincinnati giants Procter and Gamble and General Electric, have been very enthusiastic. “[A room escape] is a perfect fit for those groups,” says Weber. “[HR executives] are very excited about it as it’s very much a team-building activity.” Most corporate groups will also rent a meeting room and order breakfast for as many as 50 people. While one team is in the escape room, another group will be playing laser tag or another game. Marty Parker believes a successful room escape is all about “selling Facebook photos,” creating an event that people enjoy so much they want to take a group photo afterwards and post it to their social media accounts right away. Most room escapes recognize the social media factor, providing a convenient space for group photos complete with props and funny signs for players to hold. Keep your eye on those Facebook photos. They are a good indicator of the growth of this trend, which you may find yourself unable to escape. ❖
Robert Sax is a writer and PR consultant in Los Angeles. He grew up in Toronto, Canada, the home of five-pin bowling.
By George McAuliffe
Into the Future George Smith, CEO of Family Entertainment Group, talks about the path to the future.
1. How did you get your start in the business? I met a college friend at a party in Worcester, MA, in the late 1970s. He worked for The Dream Machine, one of the original arcade chains. I started as an assistant manager in the Worcester location, became a manager after three months and a district manager after eight. At that point, I just belted-in for the ride. The mall-based arcade business took off in a big way and allowed young guys like me to learn a lot in a short period of time. I learned all the elements: game buying, site acquisition, design, construction, and operations. I had a college professor who preached that we should start at the lowest rung to learn a business. I think he was right, and it worked out well for me. 2. What’s kept you in the business through the years? I never thought I’d be in it this long. I was actually embarrassed in the early years when I told people I managed arcades. But then I realized I loved it. Whoever said that as long as you love something, it will never feel like work knew what they were talking about. The intellectual challenge of fitting the pieces together so that they work, and managing change might be the two key things, along with the great people I’ve met and worked with. 3. Tell us about your company, Family ntertainment Group (FEG). We currently operate in 15 states, which we hope to increase to 26 states by the end of this year. We operate in over 80 facilities and are poised for active growth organically and through acquisition. Our facilities range from 9.5 acres down to 200 square 40
feet, and include a whole range of attractions, for example: games, redemption, laser tag, hard rides, go-karts, batting cages and some food and party facilities. We supply and manage games and attractions for many major companies like Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari Resorts, Wilderness Resorts, as well our own facilities. Above all, we are a learning organization that tries to learn something new every day that we can apply to our business.
4. How active are you with the BEC model. How do you see bowling in the mix? We’ve participated in many BECs and hope to do many more. Bowling is a strong attraction. There’s a place for league bowlers but in a diminished role compared to the original bowling model. While I laud the boutiques, they are a little too one dimensional for my taste. The broader based FEC or BEC model are performing well. Bowlero is an example of taking an older facility and making it relevant to today’s marketplace, especially to millenials. I will say we need to be careful. As BECs proliferate, we’re seeing less than optimal execution. Some facilities think they can just plug in a new restaurant or game room and have an instant hit. Success requires great planning, ongoing management and capital to reinvest. 5. What do you see as the key to the success of the BEC model? Making sure that you understand the market and put your investment dollars into the right places to add something different and compelling to the market. It starts with a clearheaded demographic study including good economic planning. Qualified people are essential. Without them you’re doomed to failure. Quality trumps quantity in every aspect from building size,
traditional model, don’t serve with focus. So AAMA has stepped up to the plate and is supplying resources as it pivots its focus to the FEC/BEC market. The idea is to provide a central resource of good knowledge and experience, and to leverage that on behalf of new and existing operators.
to number of games and attractions, to number of lanes. Most successful BECs really use space well, including the right games and attractions, and have people who understand what it takes to serve the guest. 6. Can you boil it down to the top three factors for your company’s success? 1. We have what I think are the best management team in the business, and a combination of people with great experience and younger folks. Combining that youthful enthusiasm and new ways of thinking with the solid experience of our veterans is a tremendous combination. 2. We remember our mistakes. That’s experience but it’s really invaluable in the economic modeling that comes with it. Our projects are set up for success. 3. Lastly, we have the capital to deliver continuous improvement. Too many FECs over the years are like movie theaters that never changes the movie. It doesn’t work. People stop coming to that theater. 7. What are the next phases for Family Entertainment Group? Your vision for the next five years? Like many industries, I think there is consolidation going on today. Our company is looking for acquisitions; we’re buyers. We are also looking to expand into adjacent spaces, complimentary attractions and businesses. We think the U.S. market will remain strong for those capitalized to weather its ups and downs. The cost of capital, which has been so favorable to us in recent years, is starting to rise and we expect that will continue. 8. You and I are both involved with AAMA’s growing involvement with the FEC sector. What role can that association play? With FECs in growth mode, this level of the business needs a focused home. FECs and BECs are kind of a hybrid that the traditional associations, whether that is IAAPA, which is dominated by amusement parks, or other bowling associations which are dominated by owners operating the 42
9. One of your other contributions to the industry is as one of the “Three Amigos,” creators of the F2FEC conference. Tell us about that. We’re creating a graduate school for the willing. The willing are those that have made an impact in the wider FEC world over time and are interested in using the F2FEC stage for sharing openly with their peers. We are three guys who used to get together and share ideas. We didn’t just yes to each other. We would criticize and debate those ideas, and share looks at the marketplace, at other facilities and attractions trends. We decided to take those principles and to widen the circle of people involved, and F2FEC was born. 10. Any other wisdom you care to share for our readers? Other people have said that the great thing about this business is that there are few places where you get paid to make people smile. It’s true. I really enjoy seeing the new people and especially the younger people coming in. For
many of them, arcades and FECs have been part of their entertainment menu for their whole lives. It will be exciting to see how they take us into the future. ❖
George McAuliffe has operated family entertainment centers from 20,000 to 150,000 square feet as a corporate executive and entrepreneur. He is currently Chief FEC Strategist for Redemption Plus and leads the company’s strategic advisory team. Readers can visit www.grouppinnacle.com for more information or contact George at email@example.com and 913-563-4370.
INTERACTIVE DEBIT CARD READERS
Embed, providing revenue management systems, has introduced a new family of interactive debit card readers, smartTouch™. Besides the insert version, recently installed in all Dave & Buster’s locations, there are also tap and swipe models. This new smartTouch™ generation is engineered with guest, operators and technical staff in mind. All readers support the latest RFID and NFC “Tap” Technologies. The swipe variant combines with the traditional mag-stripe functionality, making backwards compatibility a breeze for operators looking to upgrade or introduce new ways for customers to pay. Additional features include video playback, advanced ticket management, dual speaker audio, a toughened touch screen, and Embed’s Color-Glo technology. For more information, go to www.embedcard.com.
LASER TAG ARENAS
With over 18 years of experience, Creative Works, Inc. has established itself as the largest designer and builder of laser tag arenas. Focused on “Delivering the WOW Effect one client at a time,” Creative Works uses its 33,000-square-foot production facility and talented team of artists, designers and fabricators to create some of the most memorable and immersive laser tag environments around. Passion is the driving force and excellence is what is pledged to clients. The Creative Works teams pride themselves in working closely with clients to ensure that each arena is unique to the desired specifications and provides the greatest impact to the guests. The company maintains close relationships with the industry’s best laser tag equipment manufacturers for seamless integration with their arenas. Industry experience and quality are reasons to contact Sam Ven, marketing director, marketing@theWOWeffect.com.
Live Oak Bank was founded in 2008 with one goal: provide business loans to independent business people in niche industries. Live Oak understands the factors specific to the entertainment center Industry, as well as the financing needs. With a team of FEC experts and lending specialists, they are uniquely positioned to help you reach new growth. From miniature golf to roller rinks; arcades to bowling centers; go-karts to waterparks, Live Oak Bank provides financing for expansion, remodeling, construction, acquisition, refinancing and more, from $75,000 to $5 million. Go to liveoakbank.com/fec to learn more.
The Redemption Plus 2016 catalog will be hitting mailboxes in February. Think guide, not catalog, as it is filled with valuable industry information not to be missed. Some of the favorite sections include: Meet Your Players; Follow Your Themes; If You Only Know One Thing; and Build a Better Counter. Also included will be redemption merchandise that is worth investing in. Redemption Plus adds, “This guide is only the tip of the iceberg. We’re continuously adding to our toolbox online at Rtownacademy.com to make your success even easier. Here’s where you can get in-depth and updated coverage of our growing pool of insights, while connection to a community of experts interested only in helping you win. It’s pretty cool beans.” Reserve your copy of this must-have resource today at redemptionplus.com/catalog. 44
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areas are evaluated at multiple levels. Included will be a case study examining Dave &Buster’s journey to become a ticketless environment.
12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Expo Education Day Luncheon and Networking Session Lunch is provided along with time to catch up with old friends and share ideas.
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. “How To Approach Opportunities for a Small Footprint FEC in an Unattended Location" Speaker: Tim Zahn, American Amusement Arcades; Steve Veach, Bowlmor AMF; Jim Marsh, Hart Novelty
These three experienced operators will break down the process of evaluating and then creating a small footprint FEC utilizing a self-contained prize center. The panel of presenters will cover the process of evaluating potential locations, based on size and foot traffic; advice on how to negotiate with the location so that it works favorably for both parties; and what mix of equipment has worked well for others.
equipment trends, prize markups, cost of doing business, management styles, employee conduct and many others. Nothing is off limits for this dynamic group.
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. "Three Amigos Ride...10X Better" Presenters: Rick Iceberg, CJ Barrymore’s; Ben Jones, Live Oak Bank; George Smith, Family Entertainment Group
Back to wind up Expo Education Day for the third year in a row, Rick, Ben and George have gained a strong following in the FEC community by expressing their candid views on the issues, through their high-energy, fast-paced delivery and from providing valuable content in the form of usable ideas and information. Always spontaneous, often fun, seldom shy and never boring, be ready to hang on during hang time with the Three Amigos. The program wraps up with the All Industry Gala, a social event open to all registered attendees and exhibitors of both the Amusement Expo International and the National Bulk Vending Association Conference. The Gala marks the official kickoff of the 2016 events. Again, these are only the highlights of the conference program, check the website for the full lineup. Hope to see you there! ❖ George McAuliffe has operated family entertainment centers from 20,000 to 150,000 square feet as a corporate executive and entrepreneur. He is currently Chief FEC Strategist for Redemption Plus and leads the company’s strategic advisory team. Readers can visit www.grouppinnacle.com for more information or contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org and 913-563-4370.
2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. "A Debate Covering Hot Topics Within the World of Family Entertainment Centers" Moderator: Joe Camarota, Alpha-Omega Panel: Rick Kirby, Betson Enterprises; George McAuliffe, Pinnacle Entertainment Advisors by Redemption Plus; Frank Seninsky, Alpha-Omega
These very recognizable names and personalities collectively represent virtually all segments of our industry: manufacturing, distributing, operation and prize counters. There will be spontaneous questions posed to the group to get them talking and sharing their opinions about everything from IBI
Bay Tek Games of Pulaski, WI, is excited with the feedback received last year with the new product showcased at IAAP, the amusement trade show. This excitement is carrying over into 2016 with a heavy demand for Quik Drop, Fireball Fusion and Tower of Tickets Reload. Quik Drop and Fusion are shipping and hitting the streets now, and the early field feedback is positive. Tower of Tickets with the Reload NFC capabilities will be ready for spring purchases, shipping in March. Customers can currently order Tower of Tickets, now being sold and marketed exclusively through Bay Tek Games, without the Reload feature and purchase a retro kit this spring. The other option, customers can wait until March to order Tower of Tickets Reload all ready to go and no need to refill the rotating playfield. Lots of positive things happening in Pulaski, contact Bay Tek to learn more. 920-822-3951 or email email@example.com.
LINK BETWEEN OLD AND NEW SYSTEMS
If your center is actively using or interested in integrating credit or debit card payments through your management system, the QubicaAMFâ€™s Conqueror Pro 2016 v.11 is your solution, aiding in the transition to the EMV standard and for solving the liability shift issue. The newest version of Conqueror Pro introduces a new integration allowing the use of all payment methods, while also providing continued support to the old generation magnetic stripe-only cards. This new version supports even the newest methods: Apple Pay, Google Wallet, NFC and contactless cards. The update also includes improvements and new features for BES X centers, such as an expanded YouToons environment and a new On-Lane Ordering module. To learn more, go to www.quibicaamf.com/CPro2016.
GETTING THE BOWLING BUG Kendra Gaines has had the bowling bug all her life, and now she wants to pass the bug along. By Mark Miller
rom the time she first stepped on the lanes at age four in California, to growing up in a bowling center where her parents worked in Maryland, Kendra Gaines knew she wanted to make bowling her career. While quenching her competitive thirst first in college, then for her country and later as a professional, the now 42-year-old Floridian went into owning and managing pro shops and more recently center management after the old PWBA folded in 2003. It’s a life she enjoys with her husband, USBC hall-of-famer John Gaines and their two children, daughter Madison, 8, and son John, 4, a life she wouldn’t trade for anything. “I have worked at a lot of places but all in all, I always come back to bowling,” she said from her office in the 32-lane Aloma Bowling Center in Winter Park, FL, where she’s been general manager since 2012. “Bowling always was in my blood,” she added. “My parents [Sue and the late Ed] met in a bowling center in Japan and got married in a bowling center. I guess I was always destined to be a bowler. If I ever was meant for a big job, this was it. I still miss bowling competitively. I always knew in the back of my mind it would be tough once I had a family and now that I have a career on top of that it makes it even harder to balance wanting to be an elite, competitive bowler.” That combination kept her from returning this year to the resurrected PWBA tour. She hasn’t even been able to compete in the USBC Queens or U.S. Open in a number of years. “I figure I get a couple of weeks off a year and they need to revolve around my family and bowling doesn’t do that,” she said. “I hope the women’s tour continues for those out there now. I feel good I got to do it, not as long as I wanted to, but was pretty good at it when I did. But I am so happy the tour is there so the young ladies out there have the opportunity to pursue it like I did. Hopefully it will be there for a long time to come.” Gaines first came onto the national scene in 1992 when, as Kendra Cameron, she captured the women’s all-events title in the National
Junior College Athletic Association Championships as an Essex Community College freshman. She then spent one semester at William Patterson College before returning to, but not bowling for, Essex. “I didn’t have the super stellar college experience that I had hoped for,” she said. “It wasn’t that I was down on college bowling but [I] wanted to step back and finish my degree. I had to figure that out then go on tour. Then I made Team USA and had the chance to tour the world, and I wasn’t not going to take that chance that it would pass me by.” Her fifth-place finish in the 1994 Team USA Championships earned her the first of four consecutive years representing her country when only amateurs were eligible. Her time there was most successful, first with a gold medal in four-player team, and a bronze in women’s match play in the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival in Denver. She was on the Team USA group that won the women’s division of the 1997 Silver Legacy Grand Championships of the Brunswick World Team Challenge. She also was part of the group that won the gold medal and collected the trio bronze in the 1997 American Zone Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It was about then when she knew bowling would become her career, starting with a position in a pro shop at Fort Meade, MD. “I wanted to have something that gave me the flexibility to live my dream to be a professional bowler,” she said. “It kind of all worked out. This was another piece to allow me to learn more about bowling, and I really enjoyed it.” Gaines resigned her Team USA 1998 spot to join the old PWBA. Ironically, John was the men’s national amateur champion so they never bowled on the team together. She won the first of her two PWBA titles her rookie year in Sebring, FL. Her other title came three years later in the PWBA Collegiate Challenge. Then in 2003, her career, like IBI
PROFILE those of so many others, abruptly ended when the PWBA tour folded. “I struggled that whole swing,” she recalled. “I did make the show in the Queens and again in the last event thanks to a mental kick in the head from my husband [whom she married in 2001]. He said ‘this might be the last one ever’ and I got out of my little funk and ended up finishing second to Michelle Feldman.” Gaines lost her job just three months after moving into a new home in the Orlando area where they moved when John took a job with Ebonite. They had been in Florida since moving to Sebring in 1998 when John worked for Kegel. Assessing what to do next, the USBC Silver Level coach started giving lessons at Aloma which led ownership to offer her a lease agreement for the pro shop. Within two years, she expanded to three area locations under the name Striking Advantage. “We were pretty successful,” she said. “I kind of prided myself that we became debt-free after three years.” Keith Spear, owner of bowlingball.com, also was impressed. In 2006, he bought Gaines’ pro shops. Spear asked her to manage her original three, plus five of his own, a deal to which she and her financial partner agreed. “I was a road warrior for another year after that going to all eight locations,” she said. “And then, I became a mom.” With no women’s tour in sight and success in her off-lanes career, she and John decided the time was right to start a family with Madison Gaines born in October 2007. “Once my daughter came, I anticipated going back to work, but it was one of those things where you don’t know what you want to do until the baby comes,” she said. “I instantly fell in love with being a mom and my daughter so I opted not to go back to work.” That love extended into 2011 when son John was born. Then in early 2012, a friend who worked at Aloma Bowling Centers asked Kendra if she might be ready to return to work. The Gaines weighed the financial considerations of sending their children to day care, and concluded that children love day care. She accepted the position of general manager. More than three years later, she’s still on the job. “It’s been a very rewarding last three years.” she said. “It’s been a big challenge. It was so nice to come in when [the management] said, ‘We want you to do what you think it will take to make this place good again, a place where people want to come and have a good time.’ ” When she started, there were about 560 league bowlers, with only 16 youth. One year later, league numbers increased with more than 800 adults and 76 youth who bowl in eight week segments. “It’s taken a little while longer than I was happy with. It’s taken a little bit of a culture change here at the center,” she said. “I have a job of pleasing our guests and offering them an experience where they say, ‘I had a lot of fun, and I want to come back here.’ There’s nothing more 48
flattering than to hear a guest say they’re happy they showed up.” She said the secret to success was treating everybody well, even if open and league bowlers need to be treated differently. It’s a matter of catering to the guests so they have a great time and seeking ways to convince them to return, even if they are not in leagues. To help achieve this, the center completed a $500,000 remodel last year which included an upgraded parking lot, bar, arcade, food and beverage, lighting and entrance way. Gaines and her staff also rebranded the logo in an effort to provide a more upscale yet retro feel. Despite her extensive responsibilities, Gaines bowls in a weekly women’s daytime league, where in early November she rolled a 299 game. She also competes annually at the USBC Women’s Championship where her team – which included Tennelle Milligan, Lynda Barnes and Shannon O’Keefe – won in 2014 and placed second this year. She also owns a 2000 team title when she rolled an 812 series, still the only 800 or better in tournament history.
This year, she bowled in her 20th USBC tournament, making her eligible to go on the ballot to join her husband in the USBC hall of fame. John now works for Bowlers Mart, a chain of 30+ retail bowling pro shops including one in his wife’s center. Gaines is happy with her life in bowling. “There’s no telling where bowling will end up, but I’m trying my best to do things here and bring the passion,”she says. “It’s just a different era, a different culture. People always have other things going on, and I just don’t know how the bowling bug will bite them. ❖
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEBRUARY 9-10 LaserTAG 360 Event Creative Works Indianapolis, IN Kimberly Schilling (317) 834-4770 www.LASERTAG360.com
23-25 F2FEC Conference Kona Kai Resort & Spa San Diego, CA Ben Jones (248) 371-0700 Ben.email@example.com
MARCH 5-July 10 USBC Open Championships National Bowling Stadium 300 N. Center Street Reno, NV www.bowl.com
7-11 Brunswick Training GS-Series Pinsetter Maintenance Muskegon, MI (800) 937-2695 www.brunswickbowling.com/ service-support/training
14-18 Brunswick Training Vector Scoring Maintenance Muskegon, MI (800) 937-2695 www.brunswickbowling.com/ service-support/training
15-17 BPAA Bowling University Custom Management Program Bowling Centers of Southern California Scott Frager, Exec. Dir. (818) 789-0900 firstname.lastname@example.org
APRIL 6-7 Birthday University Chicago, IL Frank Price (919) 387-1966 Fl-price.com www.birthdayuniversity.com 7-8 TrainerTainment FEC Sales Success Conference BPAA Intl. Training Campus (817) 886-4840 email@example.com 9-July 10 USBC Womenâ€™s Championships The Bowling Plaza South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa Las Vegas, NV www.bowl.com 10-15 BPAA School Entertainment Center Management Intl. Bowling Campus Arlington, TX (817) 649-5105 www.BowlingUniversity.net
MAY 15-17 Amusement Expo International 2016 Las Vegas, NV www.amusementexpo.org
IBI February 2016
17-18 LaserTAG 360 Event Creative Works Indianapolis, IN Kimberly Schilling (317) 834-4770 www.LASERTAG360.com
17-19 BPAA Bowling University Custom Management Program Illinois State BPA Bill Duff, Exec. Dir. (847) 982-1305 firstname.lastname@example.org
JUNE 7-9 BPAA Bowling University Custom Management Program BCA of Michigan Ken Prokopec, Exec. Dir. (248) 559-5207 email@example.com 11-14 Amusement Expo 2016 Las Vegas Convention Center Las Vegas www.AmusementExpo.org 25-30 International Bowl Expo Mandalay Bay Las Vegas www.bowlexpo.com
7-8 TrainerTainment Advanced Sales Conference BPAA Intl. Training Campus (817) 886-4840 firstname.lastname@example.org 15-23 Junior Gold Championships Indianapolis, IN www.BOWL.com/JuniorGold
SEPTEMBER 25-30 BPAA School Bowling Center Management Intl. Bowling Campus Arlington, TX (817) 649-5105 www.bowlinguniversity.net
CLASSIFIEDS Felix Erickson Co., Inc. Strike Zone © Family of Lane Products Strike Zone© Next Generation LC 5 gal case $105 Envi-Cide II Disinfectant Shoe sparay 12/15 oz $87.95 Solve-It © Orange Foam Cleaner 12/18 oz $69.95 FESI Solve-IT © Ball Wheel Liner 22’ $90 NEW RM 107 Rubber/Cork Wheel Liner $29.95/Roll 000-024-604 Gray Ball Lift Belt $195 ea. Exclusive Phenolic Kickback Plates Front F128D 16” x 33” $88 ea. Rear F129 19” x 23 3/4” $88 ea. F132T 15" x 50" $130 ea. All plates include screws and instructions 800-445-1090 (F) 609-267-4669 festrikezone.com Resurfacing - Repairs - Supplies - Synthetics
CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com. FOR SALE: Kegel lane machine; settee sofa/couch, naugahyde vinyl in multiple colors, like new; black lite blue bulbs, 50 min; Mitsubishi media mask/speakersâ€”rock their world; Steltronic, AMF or Qubica scoring, can add flat screens; used synthetic panels; A2 pinsetters, refurbished; complete Brunswick A2 packages for your next alley. Install available. Call (719) 251-1616.
MINIATURE GOLF COURSES Indoor/Outdoor. Portable/Pre-Fab. Black Light/Traditional/Pro Putter. 202 Bridge Street Jessup, PA 18434 570-489-8623 www.minigolfinc.com
EQUIPMENT FOR SALE REPAIR & EXCHANGE. Call for details (248) 375-2751. 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. 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 Jay @ (586) 359-3771.
EQUIPMENT WANTED LANE MACHINES WANTED. We will purchase your KEGEL-built machine, any age or condition. Call (608) 764-1464.
SERVICES AVAILABLE 46-inch Inflatable Bowling Pins. Perfect to Decorate-Market-Promote. Use code SalePins and save 20% today (expires 4/16). bowl.gameops.com. AMF 5850 & 6525 CHASSIS. Exchange your tired or damaged chassis for an upgraded, rewired, cleaned, painted and ready-to-run chassis. Fast turnaround. Lifetime guarantee. References available. CHASSIS DOCTOR (330) 314-8951. Drill Bit Sharpening and Measuring Ball Repair. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com.
CENTERS FOR SALE 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. APPRAISALS: LARRY DOBBS MAI, ASA. (214) 674-8187. Bowlingvaluations@yahoo.com. 52
LOCKER KEYS FAST! All Keys done by code # Locks and Master Keys E-mail: email@example.com TOLL FREE
PROPRIETORS WITH AMF 82-70 S.S. & M.P. MACHINES Save $$ on Chassis & P.C. Board Exchange & Repair! A reasonable alternative for Chassis and P.C. Board Exchanges MIKE BARRETT Call for Price List
Tel: (714) 871-7843 • Fax: (714) 522-0576
WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BOWLINGFAN WWW.TEXTBOWLING.COM SERVICE CALLS WORLDWIDE • PRE-SHIPS • WE SELL
AS80/90 • BOARD REPAIR • Frameworx NEW KEYPADS • FRONT DESK LCD MONITORS
Michael P. Davies (321) 254-7849
291 Sandy Run, Melbourne, FL 32940 on the web: bowlingscorer.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CLASSIFIEDS CENTERS FOR SALE 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. 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.
AMF • BRUNSWICK EQUIPMENT COMPLETE PACKAGES WORLDʼS LARGEST NEW – USED SPARE PARTS INVENTORY ALL AMF BUMPER PARTS, XS Q-BUMP, DURABOWL AND GEN II IN STOCK
Danny & Daryl Tucker Tucker Bowling Equipment Co. 609 N.E. 3rd St. Tulia, Texas 79088 Call (806) 995-4018 Fax (806) 995-4767
Bowling Parts, Inc. P.O. Box 801 Tulia, Texas 79088 Call (806) 995-3635 Email - email@example.com
SELL YOUR CENTER
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or (260) 525-8474. 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. OHIO, Archbold: 12-lane Brunswick center on 1.81 acres w/ 13,440 s/f commercial bldg. Plus QubicaAMF scoring system, pro shop with eqpt. & restaurant/bar area with eqpt. & fixtures. Asking 189,900.00. Contact email@example.com or (800) 451-7843 x 15290. NW PENNSYLVANIA: 24-lane center in Bradford, PA. Building is 20,000 s/f with lounge, snack bar & pro shop. 90 minutes from Buffalo, NY, and Erie, PA. Owner looking to retire. For video tour and information, go to: www.byllyelanes.net/forsale. OKLAHOMA: Lease to Own or Owner Carry for Viable Investor. 16 lanes—fully remodeled with so much potential, A2s, Steltronic w/42” flatscreens, synthetic panels, 11th Frame Grill, laser tag, largest game room in the area & thriving lounge w/ room to expand. (719) 251-1616.
REMEMBER WHEN his is a bit more subtle than most Remember When ads but bowling still steals the scene. It might not be presented as the leading character in this moment of frivolity. However, it is definitely a supporting player, and the reason they are all together. Bowling is the driver, if I may now mix my metaphors, and beer, cigars, laughter and friendship are all along for the ride. Note the bowling bags on the bar and the guy in the bowling shirt in the background. 1963 was part of bowling’s heyday. ABC membership tipped at 4,500,000; WIBC at 108,851. Budweiser knew bowling was the go-to sport for fun…and beer. Where there’s life there’s bowling… oops, Bud! ❖
1963 T Budweiser