6 ISSUE AT HAND
32 COVER STORY
My R.O.I. By Scott Frager
PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager email@example.com Skype: scottfrager
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER David Garber
The Young Gun Is Now The Sheriff
A life on the lanes has rolled Nancy Schenk to the BPAA presidency.
By Jim Goodwin
• Hit Me, a poignant short film, spotlights a bowling fantasy. • Mary Harrar steps into BVL executive director spot. • Strikeforce acquires Lind Shoe Company. • Japan embraces USBC Coaching’s certification.
THE WORLD'S ONLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE BUSINESS OF BOWLING
OFFICE MANAGER Patty Heath CONTRIBUTORS Jim Goodwin Patty Heath Evan Henerson Pamela Kleibrink Thompson
44 CENTER STAGE Put ‘Er There! High 5 in Austin is the place for fun. By Evan Henerson
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Fred Groh firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jackie Fisher email@example.com
ART DIRECTION & PRODUCTION Designworks www.dzynwrx.com (818) 735-9424
FOUNDER Allen Crown (1933-2002)
By Patty Heath
51 BUSINESS The Right Hire Your front line directly affects your bottom line.
20 OFF THE CLOCK
By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson
Bravo! Bravo! Bob Thomas, bowling’s talented tenor
By Evan Henerson
64 REMEMBER WHEN 1961 Wear A Cigar!
23 COVER STORY
By Patty Heath
Numbers Don’t Lie By all accounts, Howard Baum has had a winning career in bowling. By Jim Goodwin
57 Showcase 58 Datebook 59 Classifieds Cover photo by Cindy Burnham
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HOTLINE: 818-789-2695 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
My R.O.I. if any, positive role models in their lives. Like so many of my mentors and We treated the kids to bowling, arcade, food and prizes. Quite a few friends in the bowling business, kids let me know that they had never been bowling before. And, they weren’t volunteering is an important part of who sure what to do. So, we began providing some coaching to help make their we are. It’s built into our DNA. experience the best it could be. I was blown away at how appreciative, We volunteer a lot. If there are 4,000 polite and considerate these kids proprietors, there are at least were. The afternoon was even 8,000 organizations that more meaningful to me. receive the benefit of our What surprised me most was time, effort and money. a brief presentation made by None of us volunteers for the kids at the station during awards or monetary gain. We our volunteer meeting. It wasn’t don’t measure R.O.I. in dollars and cents. However, WWW.BOWLINGINDUSTRY.COM a card, a gift certificate, a trophy or medal. I received a plain we do get huge returns on manila envelope that was stuffed our volunteering investments. full with hand-written letters, each starting off with “Dear Mr. Frager,” We help make our communities better and a few paragraphs from each, sharing what it meant to be invited to places to live and bring smiles to those our center. The handwriting was beautiful. Each letter was honest and in need. Perhaps, most of all, our heartfelt. Some spoke of their grades in school, their experience bowling volunteering helps remind us how and playing in the arcade. Most used words like “generous,” “appreciate,” fortunate we are to be in this amazing “opportunity” and “enjoy.” industry of ours. I consider these amazing letters and the warm and fuzzy feeling I get As a civilian volunteer at my local in my soul when I read them as my return on LAPD division, I invited a group of young investment. And, I think I got the best deal. boys and girls, who participate in the For those interested, we will post the letters on LAPD Jeopardy Program, to our center. www.BowlingIndustry.com. Jeopardy kids are identified as at risk for getting in trouble with the law, becoming affiliated with gangs, dropping out of – SCOTT FRAGER, PUBLISHER school, etc. Our officers, leadership and AND EDITOR volunteers help to mentor these kids and email@example.com help guide them as these kids have few,
WHAT RETURNS DO
YOU RECEIVE FOR VOLUNTEERING
4Publisher’s Note IBI would like its readers to know that the May issue’s BVL profile star, George Pettit, passed away the last week in April. A three-war veteran and avid bowler, George succumbed to his battle with cancer. Dan Dahlin, proprietor of Ham Lake Lanes and the person who introduced George to us, broke the news. “I’m sorry to tell you that George passed away this afternoon. I talked to a couple that visited him, and they said he was in good spirits and accepted his fate. He will be missed.” Bravery when it counts. A true hero. We send our best wishes to his family. George Pettit 6
EXPANSIONS, OPENINGS & NEW BEGINNINGS Per the pressherald.com, a Gorham, ME, contractor is developing a project to combine two needs, rental property and entertainment. Great Falls Construction has plans for a five-story building in Gorham Village, the town center, which includes a bowling center on the first floor and approximately 30 market-rate apartments on the three floors above. The top floor would be partially built out for a wine bar for private parties. The project is slated for fall 2017.
Cherokee Lanes, a Salisbury, MD, landmark, has been purchased by Danielle Murray and Chris Van Sant. They have renamed it SouthBound Alley and are planning to give the center a facelift. The first stage will be an overall cleanup, plus the installation of new arcade games and the addition of children’s programs. Next will be a building renovation and the construction of a fullservice restaurant and bar.
Parkway Lanes in Elmwood Park, NJ, was ready to be replaced by a self-storage business. However, John Fatigati, owner of Jersey Lanes in Linden, has acquired the business, land and building. He will keep the center open, with major renovations to come. Furniture, flooring and equipment were high on his to-do list.
Lefty’s, an entertainment venue, will be coming to Lewes, DE. It will combine 16 bowling lanes, two stories of laser tag and a restaurant and bar. Not only will this project bring fun to the area, but it will create 50 full-time jobs and between 25 to 40 part-time jobs. The opening will be October 2016.
Life Bridge Church in Taylor, MI, is in the process of purchasing Taylor Lanes, a 48-lane center. With the completion of the transaction, the center will be closed. However, six of the lanes will be saved and available for use to parishioners and also the public.
ß BITS & PIECES ß ß ß ‘Club Expo’ will rock and roll!
“Club Expo” will be the final event of BPAA’s International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas in June. Entertainment will be provided by none other than Huey Lewis and The News, one of America’s favorite rock-and-roll bands. 36 years together and still going strong, it will be a great end to the bowling industry’s biggest event.
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß USBC Coaching and Japan Bowling Association team up
Stephen Padilla, director of coaching and development for USBC, announced by bowlingdigital.com, traveled to Japan to conduct the first Level 1 and Bronze certification for the Japanese Professional Bowling Association. Following the classes, USBC Coaching signed an international agreement with the Japan Bowling Congress to host future coaching certification classes. Japan joins Australia and New Zealand as countries to adopt USBC Coaching programs on a national scale.
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß Bowling center adopts new site amidst controversy
In the April issue of IBI, Live Oak Lanes, a new center to be built in Buellton, CA, was under fire from a neighbor business. Although Carol Lesher Peterson and family had received approval in January from the Buellton City Council to build, the neighbor, along with an environmental group, filed a civil lawsuit challenging environmental aspects of the project. Undaunted, Peterson, et.al., found a new site which appears to fit their needs. While they will have to restart the process, the outcome seems positive.
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß Embed and Shaffer join Pinnacle’s Strategic Client Team
Pinnacle Entertainment Group, LLC has announced the signing of Embed and Shaffer Distributing Company as Strategic Clients. They will join Redemption Plus as Pinnacle’s full-service sources for new developers of game rooms and FEC attractions. George McAuliffe, president, founded Pinnacle in 1996; and it has served clients, including Disney, Wal-Mart, Sega, Brunswick, and Shakey’s Pizza, as well as hundreds of individual game room and FEC operators. Pinnacle will continue to assist new clients developing FEC attractions, while also serving its strategic clients.
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß Undead Bowling League
As written by Steve Warns of Air Force Civil Engineer Center Public Affairs, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, TX, the theme of the Air Force Services Activity’s summer bowling league will be based on AMC’s The Walking Dead, a popular TV series that revolves around life after a zombie apocalypse.
MARY HARRAR IS NEW BVL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
A GOOD DEED
BOWLING COMPANIES RALLY TO REPLACE STOLEN EQUIPMENT. Nothing can wreck being runner-up in a Division 2 state tournament than having all the equipment stolen out of the trailer parked in the hotel parking lot. Thousands of dollars’ worth of bowling balls, bags, shoes and other equipment were lost. This is what happened to the Jackson High School coach Dave Rodriguez and the Vikings’ girls’ bowling team from Jackson, MI. Now the good part. After the story was published on MLive.com and aired on WLNS-TV 6 in Lansing, the generosity of the communityat-large and the bowling industry in particular became apparent. Ace Mitchell Bowlers Mart replaced all 14 bowling balls and the shoes; KR Strike Force replaced the three-ball rolling bags; Commando Lock Co. is sending a new lock for the trailer; and many individuals and local companies stepped forward. With a team that depends on its fundraising to keep competing, this was a true blessing.
Mary Harrar, a leader with almost 30 years in the bowling industry, has been chosen to take on the role of BVL executive director. She will be replacing Elizabeth Montanya who is stepping down. “We are delighted to welcome Mary aboard,” commented John LaSpina, BVL board chairman. Montanya will be returning to the PR/marketing field. LaSpina shared, “Under Elizabeth’s watch, BVL has enjoyed a 35% increase in contributions, an expansion of revenue sources, a re-branding, and decreased overhead. That speaks volumes.” Harrar was previously executive administrator for Thunderbird Lanes which had several centers in the Philadelphia area. Beside her extensive knowledge of the bowling industry, Harrar has long been an avid BVL supporter, coordinating very successful fundraising campaigns. “I am very passionate about the veterans’ cause— and specifically BVL…” shared Harrar. “This is my dream opportunity—to work in an industry that I love and serve America’s veterans. I can’t wait to get started!”
Life is busy in the world of bowling. See what centers all over the country are doing to help charity organizations and the needs of those in their communities. Patels’ Kingston Lanes in Kingston, NY, was the place for Bowling for the Band. The night’s goal was to fundraise for the Kingston High School Tiger Marching Band. In Columbus, GA, AMF Peach Lanes once again helped Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowling For Kids’ Sake. This was the 15th annual event. In Guilderland, NY, the 23rd annual Bowling for Kids’ Sake was held at Westlawn Lanes. Members of the community in Bloomington, MN, went Bowling for Brains at AMF Southtown Lanes. Proceeds will benefit the American Brain Cancer Association. AMF Medina Lanes in Medina, OH, helped the Trinity Rose Foundation’s sixth Bowling for Blindness event, which helps children with eye disorders. A truly local fundraiser was held at Forest View Lanes in Temperance, MI. Haven Fry was born with a congenital heart defect and will undergo open heart surgery to fix it. The center wanted to help ease some of the worries for the family and help pay some of the medical bills. West Orange High School, West Orange, NJ, hosted its third annual Bowling for Scholarship Dollars event at Eagle Rock Lanes, to raise money for scholarships for the class of 2016. The Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter held Help Us Strike Out Homelessness bowling fundraiser at Brewster’s Lanes in Reedsburg, WI. Lawyers, police officers, their families and friends bowled to raise money to benefit the Howard County Police Foundation of Columbia, MD. Bowling for Badges was held at Brunswick Columbia Lanes. What is your center doing? Email Patty Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STRIKEFORCE ACQUIRES LIND SHOE COMPANY Per a joint press release, Strikeforce bowling LLC has announced the acquisition of the Lind Shoe company. Linds has served the industry with quality shoes and other products since 1919. Strikeforce Bowling will continue Linds operations to provide rental shoes and other products to the bowling industry. At present, the operation will continue in the Linds’ Somerset, WI, facility. Customer service will transfer to Strikeforce in Broadview, IL. The Linds sales staff will continue to service customers. We’re very proud to welcome the Linds brand,” said Brad Handelman, Strikeforce president. “We are passing my family’s torch after 100 years to a group of respected industry veterans,” said Jeff Lind, president.
UPTOWN MOVES TO CHINA As reported by Tammie Smith, Richmond TimesDispatch, Uptown Alley is opening an upscale bowling entertainment complex in China in early September and has plans to open 14 more locations in the country over the next five years. The 63,000-square-foot, 37-lane venue will be located in Changzhou, about a 45-minute train ride from Shanghai. “We are very excited to be expanding our entertainment experience to this marvelous country,” said Steve Uphoff, founder and owner of Uptown Alley/Uphoff Ventures. Jiangsu Jiangnan Global Harbor Mall Co. Ltd. has minority equity in the partnership with Uphoff’s company. Brunswick Bowling Products will provide the equipment and infrastructure for the Chinese locations, including its GSX Pinsetters system, Ultimate Lanescape lanes and Sync scoring system. Brent Perrier, CEO, said, “We are excited to continue to partner with Uptown Alley as they expand their brand to China.” Uptown Alley’s first center is located in Surprise, AZ and the second is in Midlothian, Chesterfield County, VA. Trifecta Management Group, based in Los Angeles, operates the U.S. centers and will also operate the locations in China. Three additional venues are in the planning for the U.S. 12
WATCH SHORT FILM: A MOMENT LOST Tel Aviv-based director Michael Mizrachi captures a pivotal moment in a young man’s life. Hit Me, using the back drop of a quiet, dimly lit bowling center, is a memorable, relatable film of hope and isolation. No synopsis available, as that would ruin the effect and the feelings that are stirred. Go to bowlingindustry.com/video and watch this three-minute film. Hit Me will hit you.
MATILDA THE MUSICAL IS THREE Adapted from Roald Dahl’s book Matilda, Matilda the Musical, which will close in 2017, still had time to celebrate its third year on Broadway. Bowling was the go-to event; the center of choice was not mentioned. But, they did go bowling.
Past and current cast members celebrate the show’s third year on Broadway.
‘SATURDAY NIGHTS’ AMF has focused on promoting Saturday night as bowling night. The newest commercial has hit the TV airways. “Bowling makes Saturday night even more fun, so go party with AMF Bowling Centers.” A fun commercial with catchy music. Watch for it.
VANILLA ICE PROJECT DIY Network’s season 6 of the popular home renovation series, The Vanilla Ice Project, has host Rob Van Winkle and his crew gutting a West Palm Beach Florida property and transforming the 3,000-squarefoot home during the first episode. Please note that his “ninja” crew found a space for the Infinity Bowling Alley supplied by Infinity Bol, LLC. To see this and all the amazing appointments in this over-the-top abode, check local TV listings. It’s a fun show.
By Patty Heath
TRANSFORMATION OF AN ABANDONED CENTER Writer’s note: This is a little off the beaten path of focusing on bowling centers and business trends but so whimsical that one cannot just step away. This is one case in point where the sadness of an abandoned center is overshadowed by the fun of creation.
There was a 20,000-square-foot abandoned bowling center, formerly known as Silva Lanes, in Santa Fe, NM, which was just waiting for the right person to come along. That person was Game of Thrones writer/creator George R.R. Martin. Martin bought the building; and the inspired design of the New Mexico art collective, Meow Wolf, created The House of Eternal Return. Bizarre and beautiful, The House of Eternal Return is a freeform, science fiction epic about the Selig family, an artist and her inventor husband and their young son. It is a non-linear narrative, and the mission for visitors is to figure out what happened to the family. Within the Victorian-era house are keys to the mystery. Each visitor can choose their own path; they’re invited to walk, climb, crawl and play with everything. The more they interact with the giant creatures and neon trees, the more information they get about the Seligs. Each aspect of the house, e.g. fireplace, refrigerator, has its own portal to the extraordinary. Vince Kadlubek, one of Meow Wolf’s founders, says they got the idea on a road trip to New Orleans. “We thought it might be cool if we built a house with secret passageways to other worlds.” The entire experience features 70 different spaces, an arcade with 14 games, four tree houses and an interactive cave system. Santa Fe photographer Kate Russell has captured, for the New York Times, March 2016, some of the unique worlds. The House of Eternal Returns seems like Disneyland on steroids. I, for one, would like to meet the Seligs…wherever they may be.
OFF THE CLOCK
Bravo! Bravo! Bob Thomas, bowling’s talented tenor. By Evan Henerson here you have it. We have just spilled the beans - that the industry veteran and assistant general manager of the Reno National Bowling Stadium at the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) sings. And Thomas doesn’t just sing in the shower or noodle around with a garage band. He’s a tenor with the Reno Philharmonic Chorus, an endeavor which in February earned Thomas and about 60 of his fellow chorus members an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall. When people within the bowling industry learn about Thomas’s favorite off the clock activity, he says the reactions have become predictable. “The first thing out of their mouth is, ‘You do what?’” said Thomas. “It’s a total surprise to most people who know me from bowling. It kind of blows people away.” You can count long time friend and fellow bowler Sandi Thompson among the floored. A couple of years ago, Thompson recalls Thomas excusing himself from an event because he was slated to sing the national anthem at
a Reno Aces minor league baseball game. When the Northern California Bowling Centers (NCBC) was planning a large summer youth event – and with Thomas coming due to take the reins as the association’s president – Thompson invited Thomas to once again sing the Star Spangled Banner. “This was without my ever having heard this man sing a lick,” Thompson said. “It was awesome.” Thomas says his interest in music developed organically. When he was growing up, his parents operated the Thunderbird Lanes in Blythe, CA, and Bob’s father, Bill, sang at the restaurant and dinner house. Bill carried the nickname “Dino” thanks to his vocal resemblance to the legendary Dean Martin. Bob Thomas also developed an appreciation of old music, particularly brass bands. He joined his church choir in 2002 and was encouraged to audition for the Reno Philharmonic Chorus – the volunteer ensemble that sings with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra – in 2006. At least twice a year, Thomas and his fellow singers are gearing up for a concert at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Last September, Thomas expanded his musical reach even further, joining the Great Basin Carolers and donning Dickensian garb to sing yuletide favorites. “I’ve kind of been learning on the fly,” says Thomas who has only taken a few voice lessons. “It’s been an experience learning to sing in a choral group with some pretty intense music. A few people have helped me out and taught me a few things. We have a great choral conductor in Jennifer Tibben.” And Tibben has some great connections. Maestro Vance George, longtime conductor of the San Francisco Symphony chorus, has worked with the Reno Phil, and George invited a delegation of RPC singers to join a group of choruses from around the world – about 250 singers in total - to sing Mozart’s Requiem as the finale to a President’s Day concert. That concert took take place not in the Bay Area, but at Carnegie Hall in New York City to close the Distinguished Concerts Singers International’s “Music of Joy and Sorrow” program. It was Thomas’s first trip to New York. “When the invitation came down, we needed a minimum of 50 to make the commitment. Well, it wasn’t difficult coming up with 50. Heck, we
OFF THE CLOCK had 60 signing up to go,” Thomas said. “It was kind of up to us to learn the music on our own.” The singers had a few rehearsals in Reno and a couple more in New York in the days leading up to the performance. Learning the music was not intimidating, Thomas said, nor was he nervous at the prospect of standing on a stage that has been graced by some of history’s greatest performers. But of course when he actually took the walk that led him to the stage – both in rehearsal and for the actual concert – the experience was otherworldly, according to Thomas. “Carnegie Hall is so white, and there’s red and gold leaf and those colors just pop,” Thomas said. “Once you walk through the door and step on stage, you turn around and view all the seating. That just blew me away, and that was the first time when there was nobody in the seats but a few friends and visitors who got to sit through rehearsal. “That night was even better,” he continued. “Now the seats are full of people and you’re getting ready for this grand performance. As soon as you sing that first
note it’s ‘Oh, my God, here we go.’” Back in Reno, Thomas and the Reno Phil were preparing Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana for a pair of late April performances. There has been word from George that he will want to work with the Reno Phil Chorus again. And the Carnegie Hall experience? Thomas has a big fat check mark on his musical bucket list. “Music is very relaxing to me. It kind of gets me into a different zone, and it helps me relieve the stress of everything of what I normally do with bowling,” Thomas said. “It gives me a totally different avenue, something completely opposite of what I normally do on a day-to-day basis.” ❖
Evan Henerson is a features and lifestyle journalist who lives in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in TV Guide, American Theatre, Orange Coast and the Los Angeles Daily News where he was a staff writer and critic for nine years.
COVER STORY: HOWARD BAUM
DON’T LIE By all accounts, Howard Baum has had a winning career in bowling. By Jim Goodwin
tatistically, North Carolina bowling proprietor Howard Baum, owner of B&B Lanes, is a genius. We say that because bowling may be his business, but his hobby as the official radio statistician for the North Carolina State University football and basketball programs put him in a league of his own. If you doubt it, check out the NC State website. And, by the way, he is also a genius in the bowling business and the father of the newly elected 2016 BPAA president Nancy Schenk. And did you know that he was the chairman of the very first BPAA Bowl Expo in San Francisco in 1995? (More on that later.) Baum, by any measure, statistically or otherwise, has played a major role in bowling, BPAA and North Carolina sports history. He is now 82 and enjoying life more than ever. He and his wife Lynda have been married for 46 years. His daughter Nancy and son-in-law Gary are now doing the heavy lifting for his beloved B&B Lanes, so he has more time to attend every NC State home and away game, and spend as much time as he likes with Lynda and the grandchildren, and one of his other passions, the Carolinas/Georgia Rising Stars Youth Tournament (see sidebar). Howard Baum grew up in Cleveland, OH. His cousin Dave Blume lived in Boston. Every summer, they would get together and talk about building a business together, and that finally happened in 1959 with the U.S. Army bringing them together near Fort
Howard Baum (center) compi les the stats fo r NC
Bragg in Fayetteville, NC. Baum got his degree in industrial management from the University of Pennsylvania in 1956. He worked for a lumber company after graduation for about eight months before he was drafted into the Army and stationed at Ft Bragg. Blume got out of the Army in 1957, the year Baum got drafted. He stayed in Fayetteville, and when Baum completed his military duty they built B&B Lanes together. The 16-lane center opened August 10, 1959. “The B&B was for Baum and Blume, but we used to kid that it was Brunswick and the Bank,” said Baum. “We were way underfinanced to build a center. We put up $7,500 each, and we borrowed another $15,000 or $20,000 from friends, relatives and more from the bank, but somehow, we got it done.” Business was good the first couple of years. With nothing to do in Fayetteville except play Putt Putt and go to church on Sunday, the center thrived, at least until a 32-lane center was built nearby in 1962. “We almost went broke when that happened, but in ’63 we decided that we needed to spend money to make some, so we hired a promotions lady, and she filled the place with leagues. She really hustled,” said Baum. Cousin Dave, meanwhile, didn’t really take a liking to the up and down bowling business, and he took off for New York IBI
COVER STORY and Los Angeles to pursue a music career. “He had a jazz band, and he was a very good piano player,” said Baum. “We remained close, but he just did not want to be in the bowling business. He’s gone now, but I will always remember how much fun we had together. I’m not sure I would be in this business if we didn’t get it started together.” Blume’s departure left Baum to run B&B Lanes, and it went well. In 1970, he married his wife Lynda. In 1972, they expanded the center to 24 lanes, and over the years, they have modernized six or eight times. The most recent improvement was to install all new LED lighting throughout the center.
“I wasn’t really sure I wanted to expand in ’72 because it was a big step and a lot of money, but Lynda talked me into it, and she was right,” said Baum. “Business was good, and I’m probably most proud of the fact that we have always kept up with the latest trends and equipment.” Those improvements included automatic scoring, bumpers, and synthetic lane overlays. The new lanes were installed in the late 80s, and according to Howard, show little wear today. Expansion to 24 lanes also made
BAUM’ S OTHER PASSION Rising Stars Youth Scholarship Tournament is going strong. At a time when youth bowling is on the decline in many areas of the country, that is not the case in North and South Carolina and Georgia, in part thanks to an amazing event for kids put together by Howard Baum and other members of the local proprietors association in 2006. After a few years of having BB&T Bank as sponsors for an adult doubles event with only modest success, Howard Baum approached the bank executives with a better idea put together by the BPA of the Carolinas and Georgia (BPAC/GA). “ I told the bank that we did not think they were getting enough bang for their bucks with the doubles tournament, and we proposed replacing it with a youth scholarship event,” said Baum.” It turned out to be the easiest sales pitch I ever gave.” Baum learned that there was a BB&T branch near almost every one of the participating bowling centers. The bank liked the idea so much that they increased the $5,000 they had been giving for the doubles tournament to $20,000 for the new youth event. That sponsorship lasted for four years, and it allowed the new BPAC/GA Rising Stars Tournament to grow from a first year entry of 777 kids to over 1,200. By then, the association could fund its own tournament with the help of several new sponsors including Ace Mitchell Bowlers Mart, Classic Bowling Products, Storm, Vemco Music Company, P & R Photos, and more. BPAC/GA will be adding $30,000 in scholarship award money this year, and they have already made the commitment to host the event again in 2017. It passed with a unanimous vote by the board of directors. “ This is one of those no brainer events,” said Baum.” It has become better than our state tournaments. It seems like every kid wants to bowl in it.” One of the reasons for success is that the event requires no overnight lodging, and it only costs $15 to enter. All youth bowlers under age 20 who are bowling in certified youth leagues are eligible. Almost 100 centers in the three states are now sending bowlers to the event. In 2015, the event paid $34,650 in scholarship awards, another new annual record. There were 1,426 entries last year. By the time the 2016 awards are made, the event will have paid out more than $280,000 in scholarship awards since its inception during the 2005-06 season.
Continued on page 28...
THE STATS ON BPAC/GA Total number of entries into the three state finals in 2016: 1392, 3rd highest ever
u Total number of scholarships awarded through this
Total number of entries in our three state finals from 2006 - 2016: 13,822
Total entries in North Carolina finals: 805 (a new record)
Number of scholarships being awarded this year: 77 (a new record)
year's event: 505 (span of 11 years)
Total scholarship money over 11 years: $281,400
u Total scholarship money awarded in 2016: $35,050
(a new record)
Number of participating centers this year: 56
COVER STORY ...Continued from page 24
B&B Lanes eligible for many tournaments that would not fit in a 16-laner; and anyone who knows him will tell you that Baum loves tournaments.
THE BPAA WAY
In his 57 years in the bowling business, Baum has seen pretty much everything. He joined the BPAA in 1960, and was a founding member of the North Carolina BPA in 1961. He has been secretary/treasurer of that group since the mid 60s. It now includes South Carolina and Georgia. Baum’s first national BPAA Convention was at the New York Hilton Hotel in New York City in 1967. In 1972, he joined the group at the Hilton Hawaiian Village
Hotel in Honolulu, and by then he had become very active in association work. From 1984-94, he served on the BPAA Tournament Committee, and chaired the group starting in 1988. “We had wonderful tournaments that benefitted the industry and the centers that hosted them – the Miller Doubles, the Merit Star of the Game, the BPAA Family Tournament and the Men’s and Women’s U.S. Opens. It was a lot of work, but we had a great group of guys on the committee, and we had fun. It was well worth the time away.” In 1994, BPAA president Kurt Brose took Baum off the Tournament Committee to put him in charge of the national convention. Under their leadership, a totally new type of convention was created in San Francisco called Bowl Expo. ’94 was also the year he was given the distinguished BPAA President’s Medal for his outstanding work with the Tournament Committee. “We changed everything about the convention in ’94,” said Baum. “We went down on registration fees, increased education, and brought in tons of new vendors. For the first time, exhibitors served on the committee. We put Mike Allbritton from Columbia and Bob Gudorf from Classic Products on the committee, and it went great. Gudorf developed the Expo logo that is still used today.” Great might not be a strong enough word for what happened as a result of that first Bowl Expo group. The convention trade show went from an average of 175 vendor booths to a sold out 300 in San Francisco in 1995. The following year, the revitalized trade show had a whopping 700 vendors, and it has been a huge profit center for BPAA in all the years since.
STATS MAKE THE MAN?
Bowling is Baum’s first love, but North Carolina State football and basketball is a close second. Baum attends all of the games, home and away. He flies on the team charter for away games, and the Wolfpack coaches and radio play-by-play announcers love him for the stats and info he provides to make their jobs a little easier. Baum’s job/hobby with the NC State radio 28
COVER STORY crew started with his involvement with the North Carolina BPA bowling convention. In the 60s, he helped form the NC Sports Reporters Association, and they invited every sports reporter and editor they could find to the bowling convention. While there, Baum and his folks would wine and dine the reporters, treat them to a round of golf, and everybody got to know each other and had a good time. They even organized a writing contest for them with cash prizes in several categories. Their judge for the contest was Sam Levine, publisher of the Kegler Bowling Newspaper in Howard’s former hometown of Cleveland. In 1967, the NC State play-byplay announcer Bill Jackson came to the convention, and he struck up a friendship with Baum. To make a long story short, he asked Howard to be his spotter at football games. “He offered me free food, press box access, and $10 per game,” said Baum. “I have been doing it ever since. In 1980, I started doing basketball. It is a lot of fun. I really enjoy it.”
Howard with his wife Lynda.
THE GOOD LIFE...AND THE BEAT GOES ON
Baum’s involvement in bowling has given him and his family a very good life, and now he has the satisfaction of passing it on to the next generation of his family. “It has not always been good, but most of it has, and Lynda and I are very proud of the job that Nancy and Gary have done since they came into the center,” said Baum. “They really work hard, and have good ideas. In recent years, Nancy has gotten into more promotions and social media, and that has really made a difference. It takes a lot to promote a bowling center. You just have to work and work at it, and that is what we have all done.” For the past two years, Nancy has been the chairman of the BPAA Bowl Expo Committee, following in her dad’s footsteps. She has done a great job, and by all accounts and measures, those were big shoes to fill. ❖ Jim Goodwin is the founder and president of the Bowling News Network and a former president and life member of the International Bowling Media Association.
Photo by Cindy Burnham
COVER STORY: NANCY SCHENK
YOUNG GUN IS NOW THE SHERIFF
By Jim Goodwin
A life on the lanes has rolled Nancy Schenk to the BPAA presidency.
ot long after Nancy Schenk came back to her family bowling business in North Carolina 13 years ago, she started attending International Bowl Expo and other BPAA meetings with her father, Howard Baum. When BPAA President Jeff Boje formed a new committee called Young Guns, Schenk was one of the first to sign up, and from that group, she found a voice. In 2004, as a 30-year-old bowling center proprietor, Schenk and her husband Gary saw that the business was changing rapidly; and even though her parents, Howard and Lynda Baum, had built a very successful business for more than 40 years, they knew it would be up to them and their generation to continue that success and make the changes needed to keep up with a new tech-savvy world full of entertainment options for all ages. “In that first Young Guns group, the majority of us were second generation proprietors, so a strong bond was formed right away,” said Schenk. “Emails were exchanged right after that first meeting, and a new BPAA resource was born. Because of that, we all became stronger as a group than we were as individuals.” Being among their peers gave them confidence, and from that came the courage to step into leadership roles. “We joined other committees, and we constantly talked to each other,” said Schenk. “All of us got more and more involved. I joined the board of directors; so did Joe LaSpina, so did Mike Hall, so did Amy Eiserman. There was just an influx of younger people speaking out and doing more, and I don’t think that would have happened without the Young Guns group. Knowing that we had each other’s backs just made everything easier to tackle.” Odds are that Schenk will be the first of many from the Young Guns group that will serve as BPAA president, as she becomes only the second woman in the position, and at 41, the youngest ever elected.
It Almost Didn’t Happen
Nancy Baum Schenk grew up in the bowling business. Her parents built B&B Lanes in Fayetteville, NC, in 1959. She lived the life that the
bowling business provides every day growing up: bowling in Saturday morning youth leagues, being a part of the local high school program, even bowling in college where she met her future husband Gary on the NC State bowling team. She also saw the tough side of the business. She watched her dad work long hours and helped her mom who worked two jobs as a teacher and bowling proprietor when her dad was traveling for state or national business. She saw the pressure of keeping up with the competition, of pushing to get league bowlers on the floor, and as a teenager, she did not see herself living that lifestyle. “I never thought I wanted to be in the bowling business,” she said. “I saw how hard my dad worked all those years. I lived and breathed it every day, and did not like it. “ By the time she finished college, she was still not ready to give the bowling business a try. She got her degree from North Carolina State University in chemical engineering, and she married her college sweetheart, Gary. He became a civil engineer. They made a pretty good life for themselves in Virginia for a few years, Gary working for Newport News Ship Building, and Nancy as a management consultant for the very prestigious firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers. “I loved my job,” she said. “I got on a plane every Monday morning and came home Thursday night or Friday. I worked with some great companies like Merrill Lynch and Warner Lambert; got to see a lot of the world.” But when they decided to start a family, the world of travel teaching others how to run IBI
COVER STORY business, and ship building didn’t look the same, and they both missed North Carolina. At the time, Howard and Lynda were looking for a new general manager for B&B Lanes, so the Shenk family came back home. Gary filled the GM job, and Nancy became a supermom, caring for daughter Avery and son Alex while dropping by the center, and as the kids got older, she dropped by more and more. Grandparents Howard and Lynda were very happy having them back home and involved in the business. “When Avery was born, Gary and I talked about what kind of a life we wanted for them, and we finally realized that the one my parents gave me was pretty special,” said Nancy. “When I was in middle school, I was a cheerleader, and my parents never missed a game. I figured out that owning their own business gave them the freedom to be there to support me. When we became parents, we realized how important that was, and that there was a lot to be said for the lifestyle the bowling business provides. Bowling was always a part of me. It is how I met my husband. We both wanted a life where we could be there for our kids, and so we decided to come home and jump into the business.”
The Learning Curve
Gary Schenk learned the bowling business from Nancy’s dad, but as time went on and their kids got older (they are now 13 and 11) Nancy got Nancy with her husband Gary.
the bug to be a full-time partner and manager in the center, and they welcomed her involvement and experience. “I expressed my opinions more and more about how things should be done, and finally, my husband said ‘You need to come to work,’” shared Nancy. “We went through a learning curve about how to work together as a married couple and as a family, but over time, we learned how to split duties and how not to step on each other’s toes.” Today, Nancy fills the GM job, handling staffing, price strategy, marketing and promotions. Gary has assumed a sort of CFO role, handling the banking and bill paying. “Basically, I figure out how to make more money, and I leave it up to Gary to decide how we spend it,” said Nancy. As a result, Howard and Lynda get to enjoy the business without the pressure of being totally in charge. It also allows Howard time to spend at his favorite hobby of keeping stats for the NC State football and basketball games, something he has been doing since 1967. He attends almost every game, home and away, and gets to fly on the team charter for away games. Nancy and Gary both believe that bowling center owners need to get personally involved with their customers. Nancy bowls in a morning league, and on Saturday morning, she becomes the Head Bumper Coach. “I love working with the babies,” said Nancy. “Plus, my kids are in the older group, so I can let someone else worry about them. Gary is a wonderful bowler and a great people person. People like to bowl with him because he is the owner and because he is really good, so he bowls several nights every week.”
The Fun Starts at International Bowl Expo
Nancy Shenk will become BPAA’s 43rd president and the second woman to serve in the office on June 27 when the gavel is passed to her from president Tom Martino. She has spent six years as a BPAA officer getting ready for the responsibility, but really, her preparation has taken a lifetime. “I am definitely ready for the challenge and looking forward to it,” said Shenk. “I have worked closely with three different presidents and learned a lot not only about BPAA but about leadership style. My goal is simple. I respect the office, and I want to move the ball forward and do what is best for BPAA and all of our members. “ For the past two years, Schenk has served as Bowl Expo chairwoman. Her dad Howard Baum was the first Bowl Expo chairman when he was appointed to organize the 1995 San Francisco convention by president Kurt Brose. Baum and his team made dramatic changes in 1995, which laid the foundation for today’s Bowl Expos. Schenk and her team have revitalized the event and made significant changes under her leadership. “One of my directives as president to the Bowl Expo Committee will be to always try to make it slightly new, slightly different and keep it fresh,” she said. “Unfortunately, we did get into a little bit of a trend for a few years of making Expo very similar, and it became easy for some proprietors to say, ‘I'll miss it this year, and come back next year.’ Our challenge will always be to provide something unique that makes people not want to miss it.” Schenk admits that as IBE chairwoman she is both excited and nervous at the same time, hoping that everything planned goes well, as it did in 2015. Last year, the committee tweaked the normal schedule, and provided a dynamic opening speaker by bringing in happiness guru
The coolest family photo ever, with Magic Johnson.
Shawn Achor. “I think it got us off on the right footing,” she said. “We used to have our annual meeting first, but my idea was to start with a great speaker to wake us up and get everyone excited and motivated. I’m sure Johnny Cupcakes will do the same thing this year.” The Cupcakes appearance fits perfectly with the desire to make Expo more interesting and entertaining for new and younger proprietors, and gives the veteran owners food for thought about how to revitalize their centers. All Cupcakes does is sell t-shirts, a simple business that has been around as long as bowling, but the lesson lies in how he does it. “Johnny is going to talk about how he made t-shirts cool again, and I think that is very translatable to taking bowling and re-packaging it to sell to today’s customers,” said Schenk. Payton Manning as keynote speaker looks like another touchdown for Schenk and her team. They wanted to stay away from a political speaker in this election year, and Manning seems to be a perfect choice, made even better by the fact that his Broncos won the 2016 NFL Super Bowl. Big hopes ride on Manning’s appearance after Magic Johnson’s memorable keynote address last year. “Not only is Manning an amazing football player, he has lived his life the right way, with respect, dignity, and integrity,” said Schenk. “He is someone who can make fun of himself, like he does in his very funny commercials, and just be a real person, like bowling proprietors – not fancy, we just are who we are.” Finally, the ending of the convention is also important. Shenk brought in REO Speedwagon last year for the final day Club Xpo party, and this year will be an even bigger band – Huey Lewis and the News. “They were my very first concert ever back in Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, NC, back in the early 80s,” said Shenk. “So I am really looking forward to seeing them.”
Her Management Philosophy
A couple of things that Shenk hopes to pass on to many bowling center proprietors during her time as president is the importance of belonging to an association and the importance of working in harmony with other groups in bowling. “I am a big believer in what is called ‘Third Place,’” said Schenk. “I think Starbucks started it. You have your home, you have your workplace, and you have another place that you really enjoy. For some people, it might be a favorite restaurant, or something Continued on page 42... 38
COVER STORY ...Continued from page 38
women in the position. “I could never re-pay Cathy for all she has done for me,” said Schenk. “The best way to try is to just be the best president I can be and try to do things as well as she and Tom Martino did before me.”
Oh, By The Way, She’s a Woman
Nancy bowling in high school, c. 1990.
else, but for my people it is our bowling center. That is why we get to know their names and treat them like family. We learn what is going on in their lives, we ask them about their kids. We want them to know that we really care about them and their families, because they are an extension of our family, especially our regular league bowlers.” There are 37 week leagues at B&B, so the Schenks must be doing something right. Facebook comments say things like “we really enjoyed it” and “we can’t wait to start again.” Schenk also strongly believes in encouraging other bowling centers to do all they can to give customers excellent service. “I tell center owners all the time that if they are not upgrading and providing great service, they are not just hurting themselves, they are hurting all of us. Many people look at centers like franchises, and if they have a bad experience, it reflects on all of us. That is why BPAA and local associations are so important.” Working with USBC is also one of Shenk’s priorities. It will be made much easier by the fact that Frank Wilkinson was re-elected USBC president. Wilkinson is also a bowling proprietor, and a member of the BPAA Young Guns group. At 28, he is the youngest ever elected to that position. “Frankie and I talk almost every day about everything,” said Schenk. “I feel like I am his much older sister. He came on right at the end of that first group in Young Guns, and we have always had a great relationship.” After Wilkinson was re-elected USBC president, he and Schenk had a one-on-one meeting to talk about the future of the sport and business. Because they have worked together for years, there will be no learning curve for these two. Wilkinson also served on Schenk’s Bowl Expo committee. It also helps that Cathy DeSocio is USBC vice president. DeSocio was a strong mentor for Schenk and blazed the trail for her and other 42
When it comes to running a bowling center or leading BPAA, Schenk does not think gender is much of a factor in the equation. “I think being a woman simply makes me a different type of proprietor, no better no worse. I may look at things differently, but mainly because of where I am in my life. I am the mother of two children, 13 and 11, so I see things from that perspective. It is no secret that women control many financial decisions, so I have that perspective. But none of it changes my overall leadership style or ability – how I manage or initiate things. That is irrelevant to gender. I think the way you see things in life has to do with where you are, and it is different for all of us regardless of gender.” At the end of the day, there is one person who is most responsible for the leader that Nancy Schenk is today – her dad Howard Baum. “I remember asking him early on why he spent so much of his life building his business and
Nancy, left, bowls against her syster, Marcia Frelke.
helping others, and he always said it is because building it makes it better and it is very important to give back. It helps us learn and grow. We both believe in belonging to something that ties us all together.” ❖
Jim Goodwin is the founder and president of the Bowling News Network and a former president and life member of the International Bowling Media Association.
T t h ere! u P ‘Er
High 5 Bowl in Austin is the place for fun.
By Evan Henerson
or husband and wife Scott and Jenny Emley, the journey from concept development to the opening of their bowling and family entertainment center would take two and a half years and would be paved with many of the attendant hiccups and speed bumps that accompany a venture of this magnitude. Developing a name for their center? That was the easy part. “It was on our porch over a glass of wine,” recalled Jenny Emley. “The high five is the universal theme for having a great time, and that’s what High 5 is about. When you’re having fun, you high five, and we do a lot of high fives around here.” “Here” is High 5 Bowling, the 46,000 square-foot multi-use center anchoring the Oaks shopping center in Lakeway, TX, that the Emleys opened in January. Featuring 28 lanes spread across two floors, laser tag, arcade games and dining, High 5 is the embodiment of the couple’s dream both to operate a family-owned business and to fill a need in the greater Austin metro community where the Emleys have long called home. Scott is a former executive in the tech industry whose previous work in the semi-conductor field took him overseas for weeks at a time, while Jenny was a school teacher turned stay-at-home mother to the couple’s three children, ages 9, 7 and 3. The “dragon” of Scott’s extensive traveling led to
discussions of a new venture that would allow the Emleys’ to realize their mutual dream of working side by side. Together, Scott and Jenny harkened back to leisure hours that their family had spent at multi-platform bowling and entertainment centers when they lived in Allen, TX, and Colorado Springs, CO. Splitsville in Allen and The Summit (formerly Brunswick XL) in Colorado Springs were vastly different from the single-use facilities Scott experienced during his youth, and the model was attractive. “I had this old school perception,” Scott said. “We moved to Allen and Colorado Springs, and we saw this whole new concept of, ‘Whoa! I can bring my family here, and there’s really good food and there’s always events and, oh my goodness, the games and oh my goodness this is fun!’ This is not the traditional thing.” “We had seen the concept. We had spent money at these concepts,” he continued, “and we knew it would be successful in these demographics.” Even in a city as large as Austin, the Emleys realized the palpable need for places that kids and their parents could both enjoy. Ensconced in Austin, the family had spent a sweltering summer in a two-bedroom apartment while their home was being built, and mom and dad remembered claw marks on the walls from their antsy children. “There are 45 straight days of 100 degree heat, and it’s like
‘What is there to do around here?’ ” Scott said. “If we want to spend time with our children, we want to be enjoying ourselves, not just carrying around a Gatorade and watching them play in a bounce house. Meanwhile on date nights, when
I want to leave my kids at home and go out with my wife, I want to go to a place that’s cool and hip and fun.” With entrepreneurial juices flowing, the Emleys jumped onto the Build-toBowl section of the Brunswick website, and filled out a form inquiring about franchising opportunities. Despite being complete industry newbies (“I didn’t even know Brunswick made the equipment,” Scott confessed,) the Emleys quickly received an encouraging reply from Brunswick, leading them to people who could help navigate the waters. Thomas Funk, a 26-year Brunswick employee who had managed multiple bowling and family entertainment centers, conducted a demographic study to see whether their dream was feasible for the targeted location. The answer was a resounding yes. Populated as it is with families, the Austin metropolitan area would embrace the type of kid and adult friendly center that the Emleys envisioned, said Funk, who ultimately joined High 5 as a partner and as the center’s vice president of operations. According to Scott Emley, the instant credibility of having an industry veteran like Funk on board at High 5 helped open doors with financial institutions that might otherwise have dismissed him. “I like to call him the gladiator of the industry,” Scott Emley said of Funk. “He knows everybody and everybody respects and admires him. Eventually, we structured our team by hiring former general managers as our directors of bowling and amusements, food and beverage service. In a way, even with me being the owner and general operator, [the general managers] are training Jenny and me on the job.” In the 1990s, Funk operated a similar hybrid model in Edmonton that combined bowling with gaming, laser tag, dining and even nightclub entertainment. “We had 28 lanes upstairs, and downstairs was the nightclub and a 200-seat restaurant,” Funk said. “The businesses were separated.”
High 5 has 16 lanes on the first floor and 12 boutique lanes on the second floor, that become 21-and-over only, after 8 p.m. The full restaurant and bar sits close to the family action with another boutique bar and lounge on the second floor. With two private event rooms, High 5 can accommodate the same types of corporate gatherings that Scott attended and organized during his tech industry days. “The reality is that there are essentially five businesses [at High 5],” Funk said. “The bowling and arcade are doing extremely
well. We’re surprised at the revenue coming out of the arcade.” Walking into High 5 opens one up to the best kind of sensory overload, says Laura Mitchell, president of the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce who attended the center’s VIP opening and has been back several times since. “With all the lights and sounds and excitement of a full entertainment center, there’s nothing else like High 5 in our area,” Mitchell said. “There has been a need to have something for teenagers out there, and this is a perfect fit for that demographic. We feel
The Emley family.
very lucky to have the Emleys and their partners open it, and we love that they’re all local.” The Emleys were determined that High 5, in addition to being a familyrun business, should reflect the region’s unique civic pride. That pride is evident in the popular slogan “Keep Austin Weird,” an effort to embrace and encourage unique, local businesses. Jenny Emley contacted Rory Skagen, the muralist who created the postcard friendly “Greetings from Austin” mural, and commissioned a similar mural for High 5. The brightly colored mural sits downstairs by the bar and is a popular photo-snapping spot. She characterizes High 5’s design style as ranch industrial. Using a turquoise, gray and orange color palate, the center has reclaimed wood from barns, tractor rail fencing, leather beer tap holders and cowhide upholstery. “Austin is really big on family-owned, small, non-chain businesses, and we really push that,” Jenny Emley said. “Every brewery that’s within a 25-mile radius, we have them on tap.” The Emleys give major kudos to Brunswick for making the path toward franchising a user-friendly process. As they were visiting centers and attending a Brunswick Showcase in Arizona, the Emleys found that fellow operators in the bowling community were eager to share the wealth of their experience to bring new operators into the business rather than be
threatened by potential competition. Scott said that the center operators who were most successful were those who were most forthcoming, Reflecting upon the “ecosystems” of the two industries he knows, Scott Emley feels it important that new operators build on the foundation laid by already established center operators. “The bowling industry has changed a lot. It’s no longer people building their own centers and putting their equipment in,” he said. “I think more growth is coming from entrepreneurs like myself, and the only way we’re going to be successful is if a lot of that ecosystem comes along with the bowling product.” Both Emleys expect to open a second High 5, and they are scouting possible locations. For the time being, the High 5 mantra is: World-class service to every customer on every visit. “This is a part of our community, and this is people’s families and livelihoods,” Scott Emley said. “It puts a big healthy pressure on us to do a good job and create the perceived value. Couples and companies are spending money to entertain. They want to be the hero, and I’m responsible for providing that value.” ❖
Evan Henerson is a features and lifestyle journalist who lives in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in TV Guide, American Theatre, Orange Coast and the Los Angeles Daily News where he was a staff writer and critic for nine years.
e r i H t e n i h l m g o t i ot b R T he
ctl y e r i d e n i nt l Your fro affects your
By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson
any people do not realize how much work is involved in properly providing great customer service,” notes Terry Brenneman, president, Brenneman Enterprises, a bowling pro shop equipment distributor, in York, PA. “You must find the people with the right attitude to work with the public. This is my biggest problem in business — hiring the right people.” How staff interacts with guests affects your bottom line. Four bowling center proprietors shared their secrets of how good staff training with an emphasis on service can increase sales, revenues and profits.
Training Staff Is Vitally Important Tom Burke, co-proprietor with Jon Tang, of Sunset Lanes and Kingpins in Portland, OR, shares, “The first step is an orientation
session that typically lasts two to three hours. Along with completing personnel documents, that time includes an introduction to our house guidelines, expectations, benefits and, most important, who we are and our culture. We want to build a comfort level for a new hire, so a tour of our center and an introduction to all staff members on duty is part of the process. The next step is to begin Terry Brenneman, president training in their specific department. of Brenneman Enterprises in Generally they will work alongside an York, PA. experienced team member a few shifts, but could be more, depending on the specific position.” “We utilize training guides for every position; whenever possible, trainees work only with the very best at the respective position,” says Rick Heim, managing partner of Spare Time Texas IBI
BUSINESS with two locations in Temple and Pflugerville, TX. “Trainees follow trainers who tell them, show them, [then] let them try and provide feedback. Each position has an established number of training shifts (from 3-5 shifts depending upon job complexity). Testing is also used to ensure knowledge transfer.” One challenge in training staff is “ensuring that trainers are given the time to thoroughly teach trainees all necessary aspects of the respective position,” says Heim. “Also making sure that high-potential trainees are not placed with sub-standard trainers, truly dedicating the time and money necessary to ensure the trainee is capable once they are on their own.” Burke notes, “Everyone learns at a different rate. Some learn faster than others and in different ways. Figuring out the best approach to train a new team member that gives them the best chance to succeed is often a challenge. A person that learns at a slower rate than average often turns out to be one of the best performers.” Beth Standlee, CEO/founder of TrainerTainment, LLC, in Fort Worth, TX, utilizes not only face-to-face teaching and on-the-job training, but also online learning, written materials, and Go To Meeting training. She advises,“First figure out what your core values are, and then design every interview question to find out if the behaviors the potential team member has match up to your values. Hold regular auditions.” Scott Frager, general manager of Pinz Entertainment Center in Studio City, CA, puts a specific instruction in his job postings, a “reply to this question” in the subject line of his email, i.e. the applicant's favorite color or sports team. “It shows me that they pay attention to the ad and they can follow directions,” Frager says. “One of the tricks I learned from Tony Sands, owner of Jewel City Bowl in Glendale and Matador Bowl in Northridge, CA, is to hold a casting call,” says Frager. “We bring in a group of 12-20 people and serve them pizza and have them bowl with each other. After we introduce ourselves, we leave, but we watch them bowl and how they interact with each other. If they spend most of the time on their cell phones, we thank them for coming. If they interact and are engaged, we interview them on the spot.” Three of his staff conduct the interviews with candidates. They share information and then bring in people for final interviews and hire from that group. “Resumes are meaningless. We want to know how they interact with guests.” Frager advises, “Work hard to keep people.” He suggests compensating employees more as they 54
grow in their skill sets and pay for health care insurance. He points out that if you provide benefits, you will retain more employees and retaining employees saves you money. “Well-seasoned employees are invaluable.” Every new person requires extensive training. “Engaged and cross-trained employees help the company run smoother. The party sales people who are bringing in new business are very important. If the front desk staff don't do their jobs well, it costs us money and customers. If the porters don’t keep the place looking great, customers won’t come back. Everyone is worth every single penny we pay them.” "The team we have has been instrumental Scott Frager, general in building a loyal following by connecting manager of Pinz with our regular and casual guests,” Burke Entertainment Center in says. “That certainly helps feed our bottom Studio City, CA. line," he adds. "It also provides us an opportunity to develop an enjoyable place to work for our team and for guests to call home. Fortunately, we have grown each year since acquiring Sunset Lanes in 1999. We are not in an industry that has unlimited resources to advertise our business so we have to connect with our guests to build loyalty. Our team has done a great job in that area.” Heim notes, “Our staff solicits MeClub signups on a daily basis. The MeClub is our email/SMS database. The more we increase that database, the more effective our business becomes. When our staff provides exceptional service, which they do every shift, they create positive word of mouth within the community Rick Heim, managing and our market. Our staff upsells bowling, partner of Spare Time Texas in Temple and game cards, food and beverage, and party Pflugerville, TX. add-ons which build our checks and our profits.” “I only hire people that have a core value of being in service to others,” comments Standlee. Frager sums up, “A solid team who is well trained and engaged is motivated to do right by the customers. We want to keep people who want to be here.” ❖ 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.
SHOWCASE LASER TAG SYSTEMS
LASERTRON, designer of indoor laser tag centers for adults, will be displaying its LED illuminated arenas and LT-12 game system at Bowl Expo, booth #475. Manufacturing high quality laser tag equipment and arenas for over 27 years, LASERTON has over 155 operators around the world and operates two of their own successful entertainment centers which are located in Rochester and Buffalo, NY. Stop by. LASERTRON promises to deliver a turn-key solution to meet all centers’ needs. Call Ann Kessler (305) 257-3930 or visit www.laser-tron.com or www.lasertron.us.
COMPLETE MARKETING SYSTEM
With sophisticated marketing features, Brunswick Bowling Products’ Sync automates the entire marketing process: from customer contact collection and database creation to production and targeted distribution of ad messages.
Now in its 20th year, the Kaploe Group has served the needs of successful proprietors by providing marketing strategies to increase business. The Group starts with a comprehensive marketing audit of a business, focusing on areas of greatest opportunity for maximizing revenue and also looking for areas that are most vulnerable from competition and current practices. The Kaploe Group marketing and management plan will lower your risk, make you more money and give you more time to enjoy life. Plus, it is guaranteed. For more information, call (914) 592-2836; email email@example.com; or go to www.kaploegroup.com/blog.
INTEGRATED CASH MANAGEMENT
With little setup and minimum attention or expense after that, Sync executes a variety of tactics that continues to boost the bottom line. Sync Media Manager can customize or create all marketing content, including in-game ads and promotional messages. For more info, go to www.brunswickbowling.com/sync.
LIQUOR POUR SPOUTS
Intercard, Inc. now provides its systems fully integrated with Micros POS software and hardware. Benefits include eliminating the labor-intensive step of re-keying information by the business’ accounting office, also, business managers have access to sales and activity numbers instantaneously. The Intercard system with Micros POS can do account histories, add value and allow guests to use the card as a payment for
Alcohol Controls, Inc. is offering a discounted price of $2.45 each on its PosiPour portion liquor spouts. Eliminate portion distortion to provide consistency to the taste of mixed drinks and drastically reduce liquor costs. Posi-Pour portioning spouts are even available with larger corks to fit wide neck bottles like Patron and 1800. DON’T GET “SHOT” TO DEATH! Receive quantity discounts online at AlcoholControls.com and type in coupon code BOWLMEOVER for an additional 5% off our already discounted prices. If you don’t like ordering online, give us a call at (800) 285-2337.
food and beverage. Intercard is the first payment solutions provider to offer such a system to FECs and bowling centers. For more info, contact Dan McGrath, (314) 608-6376; www.intercardinc.com.
An old, outdated scoring system? Visit Steltronic in booth #455 and take advantage of the Bowl Expo factory rebate offer. Steltronic will be celebrating its 21st annual Bowl Expo appearance. To celebrate, they are offering $1,000.00 per lane for your outdated scoring system, helping advance your center into the next level of 3D automatic scoring. For more information, visit booth #455 at Bowl Expo or call (800) 9425939. Or go online to www.steltronicscoring.com. “We are YOUR bowling center management specialists.”
FACTORY REBATE OFFER
JUNE 7-9 BPAA Bowling University Custom Management Program BCA of Michigan Ken Prokopec, Exec. Dir. (248) 559-5207 firstname.lastname@example.org 8-9 Birthday University Raleigh, NC Frank Price (919) 387-1966 Fl-price.com www.birthdayuniversity.com 13-17 Brunswick Training GS-Series Pinsetter Maintenance Muskegon, MI (800) 937-2695 www.brunswickbowling.com/servicesupport/training 20-24 Brunswick Training Vector Scoring Maintenance Muskegon, MI (800) 937-2695 www.brunswickbowling.com/servicesupport/training 25-30 International Bowl Expo Mandalay Bay Las Vegas www.bowlexpo.com 27-28 IBMA Annual Meeting Bowl Expo â€“ Mandalay Bay Resort Las Vegas Rich Cairns Rich@bpaa.com
JULY 7-8 TrainerTainment Advanced Sales Conference BPAA Intl. Training Campus (817) 886-4840 email@example.com
IBI June 2016
11-22 Brunswick A-2 Pinsetter Training Program Mountain View Lanes Woodstock, VA Frank Miroballi (540) 325-7684 www.BrunswickA2training.com
2-4 BPAA Bowling University Custom Content Management Program www.bowlcolorado.com Chris Gallas, Managing Director (800) 343-1329 x 8471 firstname.lastname@example.org
19-21 BPAA Bowling University Custom Management Program Pennsylvania State Bowl Assoc. Chris Gallas, Managing Dir. (800) 343-1329, x 8471 Chris@bpaa.com
11-13 BPAA Bowling University Custom Content Management Program Bowling Centers Association of Florida www.bcaf.us Chris Gallas, Managing Director (800) 343-1329 x 8471 email@example.com
18-19 BCAM Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Mount Pleasant, MI Ken Prokopec, Exec. Dir. (630) 235-7794 firstname.lastname@example.org 18-22 Brunswick Training GS-Series Pinsetter Maintenance School Muskegon, MI (800) 937-2695 www.brunswickbowling.com/ service-support/training 25-29 Brunswick Training Vector Scoring Maintenance School Muskegon, MI (800) 937-2695 www.brunswickbowling.com/servicesupport/training
AUGUST 1-12 Brunswick A-2 Pinsetter Training Program Mountain View Lanes Woodstock, VA Frank Miroballi (540) 325-7684 www.BrunswickA2training.com
24-25 Birthday University Atlanta, GA Frank Price (919) 387-1966 Fl-price.com www.birthdayuniversity.com
SEPTEMBER 25-30 BPAA School Bowling Center Management Intl. Bowling Campus Arlington, TX (817) 649-5105 www.bowlinguniversity.net
OCTOBER 10-14 Brunswick Training GS-Series Pinsetter Maintenance School Muskegon, MI (800) 937-2695 www.brunswickbowling.com/servicesupport/training 12-13 TrainerTainment Business Solutions Conference BPAA Intl Training Campus (817) 886-4840 email@example.com
CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE FOR SALE: 6 Brunswick A-2 machines. Working order. $2,500.00 complete set. Call (785) 221-2847.
Bowlingtrader.com is YOUR FREE bowling buy and sell site. Sponsored by Redline Foul Lights. Tel: 1 (888) 569-7845.
BRUNSWICK FRAMEWORX SEATING PACKAGE (16 lanes) includes: 16 Team Tables with (4) attached swivel telescoping seats; 4 High Tables with (2) attached swivel telescoping seats; 16 moveable separate seats. Call Jim @ (313) 715-7921.
PROPRIETORS WITH AMF 82-70 S.S. & M.P. MACHINES! Chassis & P.C. boards. REPAIR AND EXCHANGE. Mike Barrett, phone (714) 871-7843 or fax (714) 522-0576.
NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com. REPAIR & EXCHANGE. Call for details (248) 375-2751.
EQUIPMENT WANTED LANE MACHINES WANTED. We will purchase your KEGEL-built machine, any age or condition. Call (608) 764-1464.
SELL YOUR CENTER
Management level position within FEC industry. 25 years experience including operational oversight for multi-locations. Resume available upon request. Call (336) 416-3788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drill Bit Sharpening and Measuring Ball Repair. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com.
CENTERS FOR SALE Northern California (near Oregon border): Only family center in town with 16 lanes, 8270s, Brunswick scoring, wooden approaches & synthetic lanes. Includes 17,000 s/f bldg. w/ game room, snack bar/restaurant & banquet room. Growing party business. Call (209) 756-8827 for more info. 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.
LOCKER KEYS FAST! All Keys done by code # Locks and Master Keys E-mail: email@example.com TOLL FREE
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
CENTERS FOR SALE APPRAISALS: LARRY DOBBS MAI, ASA. (214) 674-8187. Bowlingvaluations@yahoo.com. NORTHERN GULF COAST: 24-lane, split 16/8, FEC. Built in 2006. 2.5 acres and 28,000 s/f building. Brunswick GSX, well maintained. New Brunswick scoring system and Aloha cash register systems in 2014. Fully enclosed bar/restaurant, full kitchen, walk -in freezer/cooler and pizza oven. Kegel lane machine and new ball drilling equipment. Call Pete, (228) 348-6921 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. CENTRAL WISCONSIN: 8-lane Brunswick center w/ A-2 machines, AS-80 scoring, kitchen & bar, pro shop & game room. Established nightly leagues. 8300 s/f + 2 outbuildings on 2.016 acres. $348,750.00 includes business & real estate. Sue Decker, C21 Gold Key Realty (715) 305-6096 or email@example.com. 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. 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.
HELP WANTED Center Management Opportunity. Are you an assistant manager, manager or assistant general manager looking for an opportunity to grow professionally, as well as financially? Do you have the motivation, drive and energy needed to grow our center’s business? If so, you will want to contact us today. We are a Los Angeles area bowling center seeking a bilingual (Spanish/ English) candidate who is eager to help our business grow. We offer salary (commensurate with experience) plus 401k and vacation. Relocation costs may be provided for the right candidate. To apply, please email your resume and salary history to firstname.lastname@example.org. 62
CLASSIFIEDS EDUCATION & TRAINING PRO SHOP TRAINING. Classes always forming. Jayhawk Bowling Supply (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com.
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
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
1961 Wear a Cigar! T
his 1961 ad appeared in Playboy magazine, which, we all know, was known for its articles. Advertising in Playboy was a notch above other publications, and you could count on the ad being seen. The Cigar Institute of America, Inc. staged this ad to equate smoking a cigar with smart pleasure. While, as the ad states, there was a size and shape cigar to fit every face, there appears to be only one activity— bowling. WEAR A CIGAR …LOOK SMART SMOKE SMART …AND BOWL OFTEN! In 1961, certified centers numbered over 10,000; ABC membership toped 4,000,000; and WIBC membership was climbing over 2,000,000. ❖ - Patty Heath