6 ISSUE AT HAND
The Wizards of Oz
On, Wisconsin! Vintage bowling in the Badger state.
By Scott Frager
By Marci Williams
8 SHORTS • Maui gets homegrown bowling. • BPAA Bowling Industry Service Awards • Decade birthdays across the country • Vigilance is the key with little customers and vending machines. • Tournaments at a glance
THE WORLD'S ONLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE BUSINESS OF BOWLING
PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager firstname.lastname@example.org Skype: scottfrager
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER David Garber email@example.com
OFFICE MANAGER Patty Heath firstname.lastname@example.org
38 FEATURE Back to Nature A new get-away in Île-de-France redefines family entertainment and hospitality. By Paul Lane
Jim Goodwin Patty Heath Ben Jones Paul Lane Robert Sax Marci Williams
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
44 BUSINESS The Essential Business Plan
16 CONSIDER THIS
Top 10 lessons learned from a serial-entrepreneur -turned lender.
Even Dirty Harry Has Limitations Knowing your limitations is a key to business.
By Ben Jones
By Ben Jones
54 REMEMBER WHEN
Warming the Soul
Vicks Cold Tablets
F2FEC 2018 inspires attendees.
By Patty Heath
By Robert Sax
24 COVER STORY
The Puuuuurfect Center
From Putt-putt to bowling, Alley Cats has it all.
By Jim Goodwin
12655 Ventura Boulevard Studio City, CA 91604 (818) 789-2695(BOWL) Fax (818) 789-2812 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 2017, B2B Media, Inc. No part of this magazine may be reprinted without the publisher’s permission.
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ISSUE AT HAND
The Wizards of Soul Ever find yourself marveling at your gorgeous bowling lanes, scoring system, games in the arcade or even that brand new carpet? I know how it feels to open a center after a good night’s refresh and take pause to reflect on your kingdom. Standing there, on the center lane, just marveling at the palace of entertainment that you own or manage, is a divine feeling as the center begins to wake up and get ready for a new day of welcoming hundreds of demanding guests. For me, the feeling can be described as a melange of accomplishment and opportunity. Accomplish-tunity! Continuing with a few flicks of some breakers and button pushing, the center roars back to life. Your scoring and POS system, the arcade games, and ball returns begin to hum, buzz and chirp. The bass harmony of pinsetters sweeping fresh racks reverberates across the house. These magical and marvelous pieces of equipment act like the true heart and lungs of your business. Consider ourselves as the brains and wizards of our operations, and now we’re in our very own Land of Oz! A beautiful Oz at that. However, we all know that there’s more to a successful business than amazing equipment, proprietor, staff, and customers. But, what is it? What makes our own personal Land of Oz so unique and special? This past month, I attended the fully-booked F2FEC conference led by Ben Jones of Live Oak Bank, Rick
Iceberg of C.J. Barrymore’s, and George Smith of Family Entertainment Group. These three men love to be called The Three Amigos, but I think of them as truly wonderful Wizards. These Wizards dedicated the entire event to soul. What is soul? Does your facility have a soul? The Three Wizards never answered the above questions for the attendees. Instead, they thoughtfully and strategically helped lead and guide each attendee on their own path (yellow brick road) to answer these questions about soul for themselves and for their own businesses. F2FEC was a truly inspiring experience, and I am honored and grateful that International Bowling Industry magazine was selected as a media sponsor of this event. In this issue, you’re going to enjoy reading Robert Sax’s story about F2FEC, and you will want to make sure you find a way to register your name to be in the room next year. The formal dates and location have not been announced yet, but you will hear about them here in IBI as soon as we know. Until then, remember that you are your own wizard and your business is your Oz!
– SCOTT FRAGER, PUBLISHER AND EDITOR email@example.com
4Your Bowler of the Month Terry Stride, the second of a three-generation, bowling-owner family, has worked all his life in bowling, starting at 14 years old in his father’s 16-lane, five-pin center in Edmonton, Plaza Bowling Co. In an interview with Wallis Snowdon, of CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM, he shared some memories of being a pinboy. Stride recalled how dangerous it could be with errant balls, thrown by overzealous customers, barreling down the lane. He was hidden behind the pins, perched on a plank, with only a rickety wire mesh for protection. Terry Stride (right) with his son. “If they [customers] got angry, and just as you jumped down to set the pins, another ball whistled by you, you really couldn’t get up and go after the customer.” He relished getting even—not with his fists but with a ‘bad rack’ instead. “What you would do for the rest of the evening is, you would set the pins with the head pin back an inch or two for that particular customer,” he said. “And that would pretty much prevent that bowler from getting a strike for the rest of the night... now that is some payback.” 6
EXPANSIONS, OPENINGS & NEW BEGINNINGS
BOWLING IN PARADISE
“We heard that people wanted a bowling alley and bowling is fun, so we gave it a shot,” said Tia Trotter, owner of Maui’s first new bowling center in 50 years. Island Bowling, in Lahaina, is open for business, and while it is a new venue, it is far from avant garde. It’s old school. The lanes are portable, and there are no automatic pinsetters; bowling attendants must reset the pins after each throw. There are three full lanes and one keiki lane for kids five to 12 years old. There is also a video game area. Three lanes, plus one keiki It’s a family affair with members of the Trotter’s family engaged in the business. (kids) lane ready for action. Zakai Trotter, 3, is the In typical Maui fashion, even the youngest Trotter, Zakai, is involved. “He’s 3,” said youngest member of the Trotter. “He thinks he owns the place. He’s setting pins, and they may see him running around. He’s part of the crew.” crew at Island Bowling.
TEN PIN ALLEY IS SHINY AND NEW Ten Pin Alley has been around Hilliard, OH, since 1960. It has been Northwest Lanes and Sunset Lanes. Sarah Purdy bought it in 2006 and has recently more than doubled the size. After a $7 million expansion and renovation, the venue features 24 bowling lanes, updated pinsetters and touch-screen scoring. Eight of the lanes comprise Brooklyn Side, a private area with its own bar and gathering area. There is also an arcade, two 60-foot bocce ball courts, a new patio and kitchen, and the very popular two-story laser tag arena, Steam Punk H2O.
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, WELCOMES RIVER CITY ROLL Richmond, VA, is in for some fun. Robert Long, along with his business partner Ben Eubanks, will open the doors of River City Roll in mid-April. “I’m extremely pleased with the way it looks,” shared Long. The $5 million project is a 20-lane center, with an 80-seat restaurant and 1,800-square-foot, dog-friendly outdoor patio with another 60 seats. Tabletop shuffleboard and Skee-ball consoles are available for patrons. The 22,000-squarefoot facility has 12 lanes on the left and eight additional lanes on the right near the dining area. Custom couches Robert Long, co-owner, and tables add to the awaits the finishing touches ambiance. Wood saved from a to the upscale River City Roll. 1920s warehouse that was torn down to make way for the new venue is being used to frame and face some of the new counter spaces.
TACOS AND BOWLING Scottsdale, AZ, has a new Mexican restaurant and upscale bowling club, Casa Amigos and Skylanes. The $4 million renovation of a building in the entertainment district will feature Casa Amigos, “a stylish, spicy and downright sexy take on the traditional Mexican restaurant,” according to the news release, on the first floor of the two-story building. On the second floor, will be Skylanes, comprised of six bowling lanes, a retro-modern lounge with gold couches, large digital screens, and a wrap-around bar.
ALSO HAPPENING Brunswick Majestic Lanes in Seattle, WA, has reopened as Bowlero. The $2.4 million renovation includes 40 bowling lanes, high-definition video walls, free Wi-Fi, lounge seating, and a bar with fireplaces. Seattle’s Bowlero joins over 47 other Bowlero locations. A multi-purpose building in Auburn, AL, will soon be a FEC called Good Times Entertainment. It will offer 16 bowling lanes, an arcade, escape rooms, and a fullservice kitchen and bar. Pinstripes is on the move and will soon open its doors in Fort Worth, TX. This will be the first Texas location with more planned. The two-story, 30,000-square-foot venue will feature 12 bowling lanes, six bocce courts, an open concept kitchen, a wine cellar, and a rotation menu of craft beers. It looks to incorporate an event space for groups of 20 to 600, along with an expansive outdoor patio. Deep Ellum, TX, will be home to Punch Bowl Social. The chain’s new venue will include an 8-lane center, a kitchen and full bar, along with two karaoke rooms, a bocce court, two virtual reality rooms, and a rooftop deck. Other locations are pending in Texas, as well as Chicago, Atlanta, San Diego and Brooklyn. Another fast-growing chain, Main Event Entertainment, has opened a bowling/dining destination in New Castle County, DE. This is its first Delaware location. The 50,000-square-foot center has 22 bowling lanes, laser tag, obstacle courses, zip lines, shuffleboard, billiards, and 120 interactive and virtual video games. Cherry Lanes Bowling Alley and Bar in Sturgeon Bay, WI, has been around since 1929. The new owners, Kevin and Erin Bosman, closed the center to give it the TLC it needed. They refinished the eight vintage maple lanes, updated the bar, and exposed the interior brick and original terrazzo flooring. Kevin Bosman used his collection of pinball and arcade machines to add even more ambiance.
ß BITS & PIECES ß ß ß
IBMA Welcomes Storm Bowling
Storm Bowling Products has agreed to a two-year pilot sponsorship of the International Bowling Media Collegiate Bowlers of the Year award. The award was established in 1987 to recognize and honor male and female bowlers for their outstanding accomplishments in collegiate competition. Storm also supports, with its corporate membership, the $5,000 IBMA Chuck Pezzano Media Scholarship, presented by the Billiards and Bowling Institute of America. ---------------------------------------------------------------
New, High-Top Bowling Shoe
Mark Clayburne and Rob Hausman, two entrepreneurs from Davenport, IA, have introduced a bowling shoe with ankle support. Hollmark Shoes offers a high top with stronger ankle support designed for older bowlers. However, teens at Big River Bowling see them as hip and are buying them as well. Locally, they are sold at Twisterz Pro Shop, the bowling pro shop at Big River Bowling. They also are sold through Hollmark’s website, hollmarkshoes.com, as well as at a dozen other bowling pro shops nationwide, and through Amazon Prime. ---------------------------------------------------------------
Brooklyn Bowl ranks Busiest NYC club by Pollstar
Once an ironworks-foundry building in the 1880s, Brooklyn Bowl rocks as the busiest NYC venue of 2017, and the seventh busiest in the world, by ticket-sale tracking magazine Pollstar. The nine-year-old spot has included such bands as Guns N’ Roses, Elvis Costello and the Roots. It also offers 16 lanes of bowling, a draft beer bar, and restaurant. Due to its wide appeal, owner and concert promoter Peter Shapiro opened a copycat Las Vegas location in 2014. ---------------------------------------------------------------
USBC offers its Bowling Technology Study
USBC has examined technology in bowling to determine its impact on the sport for over two years. It included in-depth research, independent surveys, along with focus groups of proprietors and pro shop owners, and a summit of bowling leaders. The compilation of results is now available on BOWL.com. The study examines bowling balls and lanes, and includes the oil absorption rates of coverstocks, how balance holes affect bowling balls, and the impact of Radius of Gyration (RG) and Differential RG. It also includes a leaguesimulation study for a better understanding of oil depletion and ball reaction for bowlers during competition. ---------------------------------------------------------------
Fast Company ’s 2018 Most Innovative Companies
Fast Company, a leading progressive business media brand, announced its annual ranking of the world’s Most Innovative Companies (MIC) for 2018. The MIC honors enterprises and rising newcomers that exemplify the best in business and innovation. Punch Bowl Social was selected by the media outlet’s editors and reporters as one of the top ten in the gaming sector, “modernizing the gaming center with scratch cooking and a late-night vibe.” Robert Thompson, founder, created a new category, eatertainment, pairing social gaming with a primary focus on culinary and craft beverage operations. ---------------------------------------------------------------
IAAPA looking for CEO
IAAPA announced that Paul Noland, president and CEO, has resigned. The board of directors will conduct a worldwide search for Noland’s replacement. IAAPA CFO, Hal McEvoy, will serve as interim president and CEO during the transition.
Toy Nappers Caught in the Act From an adult perspective, one would rarely look to the vending machine as an ever-constant source of danger. That’s because adults are big. To a little tike with eyes on the prize–a stuffed animal–there is always a way to get into trouble. Center employees have learned to look to the less than obvious in order to keep their little customers safe. A vending machine is no rival for an intrepid pursuer of a magical toy. One minute they are on the outside looking in, and the next moment they are on the inside looking out. Little 10
Mason from Florida was having such a good time, he cried when the firemen tried to save him. In Sydney, Australia, Bodhi, three years old, had the Mason from Florida. pick of the crop. Note the little friend watching the action in the photo; he could be the next explorer. In Austin, TX, Devin Haskin was very happy to sit and wait to be rescued. While these ‘mug shots’ are funny, they emphasize how vigilant a center needs to be.
Bodhi in Australia.
Devin Haskin in Austin, TX.
y p p Ha irthdays B
IBI never passes up an opportunity to wish centers a Happy Birthday. Longevity is a thing of beauty. Florida’s Aloma Bowl and its sister centers Airport Lanes and Boardwalk Bowl, celebrated 40 years in the business of making people happy. This birthday was even more heartfelt as Aloma nearly closed earlier this year to be replaced by Orchard Supply Hardware. With the help of its loyal customers, the closure was averted. The Meucci family celebrated 50 years as owners of the Family Fun in Bangor, ME. Built in 1958 as Bowl Mor Lanes, it has had multiple owners, including Brunswick and AMF. The Meuccis bought the center in 1967. The current owner, Andy, was 15 when his father Bill bought the business, and he took ownership when he was 18. The center has grown from the original 10 lanes to 20 lanes. Oregon’s North Bend Lanes is 60 years old. A family-owned business since the mid-1950s, North Bend prides itself on birthday parties. Last year alone they had 1,800 birthday parties. Mark Mattecheck and grandson, now owner, said that the center’s focus is on family-friendly entertainment. Bowlers Inn in Lakefield, MN, is celebrating 70 years of continuous family ownership. The Hage family opened Bowlers Inn in 1947 and have been offering fun ever since. The center has four lanes of bowling, which were first brought to Lakefield on a wagon pulled by a tractor. Great-Grandma Hage ran a lunch counter known for griddled hamburgers and her homemade pies. The lanes have since been replaced, and the pinboys have gone the way of automatic pinsetters. There’s a lot of history to be celebrated.
QUBICAAMF BOWLING WORLD CUP Las Vegas is the lucky recipient of this year’s QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, to be held at Sam’s Town. This is the 54th international tournament and the third time that Sam’s Town has been the host venue. “The facilities at Sam’s Town are ideal for us,” said QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup manager, Anne-Marie Board. “The management and the staff at the 56-lane centre are so helpful and so well trained to help run a tournament like this that it is a real pleasure to know we will be back with them.” “A warm Las Vegas welcome is awaiting all our bowlers and guests this November,” said John Sou, Sam’s Town vice present and general manager. “We are excited to welcome back this great event.” 12
PEOPLEWATCHING BPAA Industry Service Awards Announced BPAA announced the recipients of the 2018 Bowling Industry Service Awards, which will be presented at Bowl Expo’s awards luncheon at Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, June 19. Tom Martino, Majestic Lanes, Hopelawn, NJ, has been selected as the 2018 BPAA Hall of Fame inductee and recipient of the Victor Lerner Memorial Medal, the highest honor awarded by the BPAA. Diane Voight, Community Bowling Centers, Livonia, MI, will be recognized with the President’s Medal for her many years of service to the BPAA. Albert Blough, CHB Sports, Reading, PA, will receive the V.A. Wapensky Award; Shannon O’Keefe, O’Fallon, IL, was selected to receive the Dick Weber Bowling Ambassador Award; Jack McCarthy, Fern Valley Strike & Spare, Louisville, KY, gets the Special Project award; and Keith Hamilton, Chicago, IL, the 2018 Media Award.
Cinergy has new COO Cinergy Entertainment Group announced the appointment of Darek Heath as the new chief operating officer. Heath started at Cinergy as vice president of operations in 2016. Previously, he spent 13 years at Studio Movie Grill. “Cinergy is pleased to promote Darek Heath to this new role. He brings close to two decades worth of experience in the cinema dining industry. His dynamic energy and enthusiasm will continue to inspire those in the field and at the home office,” state Jeff Benson, founder and CEO.
Opportunity Rock! – Mark Kamp at Bowl Expo Mark Kamp has been an entertainer, radio personality, and a Las Vegas headliner. With his proven strategies of business principles and ingenuity, he will be a Thought Leader at Bowl Expo in June.
There are “Bowling for...” events all over the country and beyond. No need is too small for a bowling tournament or for a bowling center to step up, open its doors, and help organizations help others. Here are just a few of the activities in centers crisscrossing the nation, along with our neighbor, Canada. Kellogg Bowl, Milwaukie, OR: The 56-year-old center allows its nonagenarians and older to bowl free when lanes are available. A salute to good neighbors. Victory Bowl, Mankato, MN: Junior Achievement (JA) in Minnesota held a BigBowl tournament inviting banks and businesses to compete for the highest fundraising and the lowest bowling scores. The Mankato JA chapter raised more than $24,000. BigBowl events are held between January and May throughout the state. Wild Bill’s Wings & Bowling, North Platte, NE: North Platte Public Schools Foundation held its Bulldog Bowl event benefitting the Prepared to Learn fund which goes to the needs of students. Green Country Lanes, Muskogee, OK: A Bowling for Veterans tournament raised money for the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System. Melody Lanes, Brooklyn, NY: Four girls from Girl Scout Troop 2672 organized 16 young bowlers for a fundraiser to help kids in hurricaneravaged Puerto Rico. Super Bowl, Appleton, WI: The 4th annual Strikes for Charity was held to help grant wishes to local children battling life-threatening medical conditions. Last year this event raised $35,000 to Make-aWish Wisconsin. Premier Bowling and Recreation Center, Raytown, MO: 31st annual Bowling for Rhinos for the Greater Kansas City AAZK. The American Association of Zoo Keepers holds Bowling for Rhinos events throughout the year in various states raising over $7 million since its inception. Bowl America, Short Pump, VA: The third annual Bowling for Boobs which benefits Reach Out for Life, a group advocating early breast cancer detection and free mammograms for uninsured women. Bowl & Barrel, Dallas, TX: Readers 2 Leaders hosted its second annual Lanes 2 Literacy bowling event to help the lives of children who are learning to read through R2L’s literacy intervention programs. Galaxy Lanes, Grand Blanc, MI; Starlite Lanes, Flagstaff, AZ; Pla-Mor Lanes, Port Dalhousie, Ontario, Canada: The Big Brothers Big Sisters bowling fundraiser, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, helps maintain the program matching children with carefully screened, caring Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers. Playdium Bowling Center, Albany, NY: To help people with HIV and AIDS keep their pets, the Damien Center in Albany held its 7th annual Bowling for PAWS (Pets are Wonderful Support) which raised over $15,000. Proceeds will go toward expenses including veterinary needs, pet food, and volunteer in-home care. What is your center doing? Email Patty Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AfterLife of a Lucky Pin Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe hosted their 36th annual bowling fundraiser, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, at Prosperity Lanes in Grass Valley, CA. Always looking for a new spin on raising funds, they debuted Painted Pin Showcase last year. The challenge was for local artists to see what they could do with old bowling pins that needed reclamation. It was such a hit that this year over 150 pins were placed in a silent auction.
Tournaments at a Glance 2018 USBC SENIOR QUEENS It is tournament time. And on Sunday, March 18, Las Vegas saw United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Tish Johnson of Colorado Springs, CO, finally claim the USBC Senior Queens tiara after defeating fellow USBC Hall of Famer Jeanne Naccarato at Gold Coast. Johnson has recorded four consecutive runner-up finishes at the Senior Queens from 2013-2016, but this year, the 55-year-old lefthander had a dominating performance. She earned $8,000 for the win, while Naccarato’s second-place finish neffed her $6,400. BOWL.com’s BowlTV provided wire-to-wire coverage of the event.
BRUNSWICK EURO CHALLENGE Sweden’s Jenny Wegner won the PBA International-World Bowling Tour Brunswick Euro Challenge, March 18 at Dream-Bowl Palace in Munich, Germany. Second place went to 21-year-old, two-handed player, Anthony Simonsen from Austin, TX. It was a hard-fought battle between the two. However, despite failing to convert the 2-8 spare in her final frame, with the eight handicap pins-per-game awarded to all women in the tournament, Wegner was able to thwart Simonsen’s final push. Yannaphon Larpapharat, Thailand, came in third. Next on the Go Bowling! PBA Tour’s 2018 schedule will be the USBC Masters, April 8-15 at Oncenter Convention Center in Syracuse, NY. PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel will live stream all qualifying and three-game double-elimination match play rounds before the finals air live on ESPN on April 15 at 1 p.m. EDT.
EVEN DIRTY HARRY HAS LIMITATIONS Knowing your limitations is a key to business. “Man’s got to know his limitations,” Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry in Magnum Force, 1973.
By Ben Jones here are a few of you reading this who may actually know this movie quote. What is revealing about Dirty Harry’s words is how it applies to everyday life. Knowing what you don’t know, knowing that you have limitations is the first vital thing that you DO know. Knowing where the line is and actually drawing the line before we cross it is key to a healthy life and success in business. In the creative and brainstorming charrette world, approaching a new project or challenge with a humble perspective is healthy, and admitting what you don’t know and that you don’t have all of the answers is the first necessary step in the progression of seeking solutions. Maybe acknowledging what you don’t know becomes the difference between advancing a project and improving upon it or boldly pursuing a solution that leads to disaster (as in the Eastwood scene). You often hear people say ‘I don’t know the first thing about this,’ whatever “this” is. You may not know everything about a situation or project, but you do know that there may be complications ahead and you might
want to move slowly. You also know enough to do some research and, ego aside, you likely know to ask for guidance. All combined you may not know the first thing about an issue, and that is simply because you really do know three things, and that’s three more than those less contemplative than you: (1) how to say I don’t know; (2) ambition alone doesn’t win the day; and (3) the power of thoroughly evaluating your course of action. ❖
Ben Jones is General Manager and FEC Specialist of Entertainment Center Financing at Live Oak Bank, co-creator of F2FEC, and has been in the FEC business for over 30 years.
PAID CONTENT BY TRAINERTAINMENT
PART OF THE TEAM
JEREMY HOYUM LEADS JAKE’S UNLIMITED INTO THE FUTURE WITH THE HELP OF TRAINERTAINMENT.
By Beth Standlee
How can ten bowling lanes help create a multi-million dollar business? Jeremy Hoyum, CEO of Jake’s Unlimited, has lots of experience after upgrading his center. With new thrill-seeking rides, state-of-the-art laser tag, and new food and beverage options, Jake’s Unlimited is the place to be in Mesa, AZ. But it wasn’t easy to get everything on track. He had a little help from TrainerTainment. Beth Standlee (BS): Jeremy, your company has recently gone through a complete remodel and rebrand. What challenges have you faced and what are some of the actions you’ve taken to overcome those challenges? Jeremy Hoyum (JH): We had a toxic management dynamic that was in desperate need of accountability to get the traction we needed to complete the remodel on time. I was overwhelmed with the day-to- day pressure of working in the business. I saw TrainerTainment at IAAPA in 2016. Then I personally met Beth at the F2FEC Summit in 2017. I knew if we were going to reach the lofty goals set for the remodel, we needed some outside help from someone who understood our industry. BS: How did you decide to use TrainerTainment over another consulting company in the industry? JH: Number one, I don’t view TrainerTainment as a consulting firm. They are a training company through and through. They listened to our problems; showed they were personally committed to our success; were affordable; and had detailed systems that provided a clear roadmap. They worked directly with us rather than simply telling us what to do. It felt like they were part of our team.
BS: What do you consider the greatest benefit of working with TrainerTainment? JH: Traction. It sounds simple, but I was spinning my wheels before our collaboration with TrainerTainment. A part of me believed I was capable of doing everything that TrainerTainment was teaching. They provided systems to ensure no step was missed, ever. BS: How has working with TrainerTainment helped you to reach your goals? JH: As a leader I had a lot of confidence about the things I could do on my own. However, TrainerTainment helped me realize that utilizing the strengths and talents of my team allowed me to focus on the bigger vision of the business. You always hear about working on the business rather than in it, but you can’t always see the difference when you are in the middle of it. As far as growth goes, this realization is a biggie for me. We also got very clear about our core values and the culture we want to project as we promote a new image to the community. BS: What’s it like to work with TrainerTainment? JH: It sounds cheesy, but we consider them part of our family, and they treat us like 18
we are part of the TrainerTainment family. Our coach is awesome because he sees us from a different perspective and keeps us focused on solving problems and recognizing new opportunities rather than complaining. TrainerTainment answers the phone and email reliably. One of our core values is that we are determined to be exceptional. TrainerTainment helped us identify and articulate this particular value. We believe exceptionalism is a daily choice to be better, learn more, and do more. TrainerTainment behaves in that way, and I believe they do what they do because it is who they are at their core. They are exceptional, and I know if my team continues to hang around them we will be exceptional as well. BS: What final thoughts or comments do you have? JH: I know that getting our project completed on time could not have happened if our leadership team had not had the focus the TrainerTainment business coaching process creates. They call it accountability through visibility. We agree. The weekly leadership meeting, the quarterly onsite reset, the annual vision casting, and plan for the year are invaluable ways to create clarity about the business. It’s so much easier to make the best decisions on a daily basis. I am clear about when to say yes and, more importantly, when to say no. I encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out to TrainerTainment. For everyone who is doing well and wants to take their results to the next level, I encourage you also to call TrainerTainment. ❖
WARMING THE SOUL F2FEC 2018 inspires attendees.
The Three Amigos, Rick Iceberg (L), George Smith and Ben Jones warm up the crowd at F2FEC 2018.
By Robert Sax
he Amigos’ fourth annual F2FEC conference was held on February 20-22 at the celebrated Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs. The winter weather outside may have been frightful, but “in the room” it was delightful, thanks to a warm and congenial exchange of ideas that inspired industry veterans to reach new levels of creativity and engagement in the pursuit of excellence. This year’s theme was Soul, which Amigos Rick Iceberg, Ben Jones, and George Smith define as the “distinct set of values and beliefs” that underpin every company’s culture. “Competitors can’t take away your soul and culture,” said Amigo Ben Jones, who encouraged participants to engage with the best minds of the industry, openly share proven business-enhancing ideas and establish lasting connections with their peers. Attendees who arrived early on February 20 were treated to an exceptional presentation on customer service by Alexandra Valentin of the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center.
Photos courtesy of Tim Sealy and Sealy Media.
Valentin shared some of the secrets behind the success of the international luxury hotel group, starting with the Ritz-Carlton credo “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Through engaging stories, she explained how keeping employees committed to “service with humility” creates loyal customers who return regularly to Ritz-Carlton resorts. The next morning the Amigos opened the festivities dressed as the Blues Brothers and accompanied by a soulful original music video. They discussed several industry trends including rising minimum wages and how immigration changes may tighten the labor market. They also polled the audience in realtime, revealing that the attendees together represented more than 618 entertainment facilities with more than $2.5 billion in gross revenue. Amigo George Smith presented his much-anticipated annual list of top arcade games, which this year included Raw Thrills’ Space Invaders, Elaut’s Willy Wonka and Bay Tek’s Piano Keys.
The beautiful meeting rooms at The Broadmoor inspired the participants.
Game vendors in the audience then spoke about their most promising new games, including Squiggle from Bay Tek, Movie Booth from Apple, Lane Master from Unis and Hologate VR from Creative Works. F2FEC’s innovative format is a series of twentyminute presentations followed by Q&A sessions with the presenters, all moderated by the Amigos. It’s a refreshing change from the typical industry conference session that is often long on selfpromotion, short on content, and homogenized to suit a broad audience. Among the highlights of the first day’s presentations was one from Joe McCullagh of
Amigo Rick Iceberg rallies attendees to donate to the U.S. Olympic training facility. 22
Canada’s Cineplex Entertainment. He described how his company’s fast-growing Rec Room FEC chain creates a social playground that draws customers from across Canada’s diverse, multi-cultural population. McCullagh and team’s goal was to create a venue that captures the Canadian tradition of entertaining friends and family at home while providing attractions that go beyond what can be offered in the home. In the afternoon video game pioneer Nolan Bushnell earned standing ovation with a highly entertaining overview of his legendary career, which includes creating the Atari game company and Chuck E. Cheese restaurants. Bushnell also talked about the trends that most interest him, including virtual reality attractions and the evolution of shopping malls. With the decline of brick and mortar retailers, he believes the mall has become a negative asset but
The top bidders at the F2FEC 2018 fundraiser light the Olympic cauldron on the roof of the U.S. Olympic Training Center. From left to right are John Arie Sr. and Lois Arie of Fun Spot America, and Jack Canouse of Stars and Strikes.
feels “turning malls into places that sell experiences can make a lot of money.” It was an opinion echoed throughout the conference by presenters and audience members alike. In the evening the conference repaired to the Broadmoor’s Cheyenne Lodge for dinner and networking. Although there were literally wolves at the door (admittedly domesticated and accompanied by their handlers), the lodge was an inviting place in which to drink, sample local foods including bison sliders and red trout, and develop new friendships. Memory trainer Ron White of Brain Athlete dazzled the audience by memorizing the names of more than one hundred guests right after meeting them for the first time. He also gave a powerful presentation the next day on how to develop one’s memory.
CONFERENCE stimulating presentation on developing personal and organizational integrity and its positive effects on company culture and performance. In a salute to the concurrent Winter Olympics in Korea, F2FEC came to a triumphant close with a night event at the nearby U.S. Olympic Training Center. Guests went on small group tours led by Nolan Bushnell awes attendees.
Combat-wounded Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Johnny “Joey” Jones turned a traumatic, life-changing disability into a personal mission to improve the lives of all veterans.
The final day of the conference was full of inspiring stories, not the least of which was a riveting talk by Johnny Joey Jones, a retired United States Marine. Jones served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as a bomb disposal technician disarmed more than 80 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and thousands of pounds of other explosives. But his military career ended abruptly when he stepped on an IED that killed a fellow Marine and severely wounded Jones, resulting in the loss of his legs. After a long recovery that included mastering the use of artificial limbs, Jones now works for musician Zac Brown’s Southern Ground organization, which supports Camp Southern Ground, a 400-acre camp and retreat for children and military families. He also gives motivational speeches around the country; his message about “seeing the prospect of each tomorrow as a cause worthy of your strength” may have been the deepest statement about soul and personal motivation made at F2FEC. The rest of Thursday’s packed program included outstanding presentations from renowned thrill ride designer Stan Checketts of Soaring Eagle, Nicholas Madden of the innovative escape room chain Red Door Escape and Dale Schwartz of the upscale Pinstripes bowling and bocce restaurants. Kevin Bachus of Dave and Buster’s Brain Athlete founder Ron White amazes the crowd with wrapped up the day with a his memory techniques.
several American Olympians and Para-Olympians followed by dinner. Afterwards Amigo Rick Iceberg led a fundraising appeal that garnered more than $60,000 for direct support of the training center and individual athletes. The evening culminated in an awe-inspiring ceremonial lighting of the center’s Olympic cauldron that also symbolized the successful collaborative effort of everyone at F2FEC. It was an “Olympic moment” that set the bar high for the 2019 F2FEC. ❖
Robert Sax is a writer and PR consultant in Los Angeles. He grew up in Toronto, Canada, the home of five-pin bowling.
THE PUUUUURFECT CENTER From Putt-Putt to bowling, Alley Cats has it all. By Jim Goodwin
lley Cats Family Entertainment Center has been a bowling and games destination for more than a decade in Arlington, TX, just down the road from the International Bowling Campus. In March, owner Brian Smith and his team proudly opened an all new, state-ofthe art Alley Cats in Hurst, TX, just a few miles west of the Arlington location. The $10 million project has been years in the planning stages, and the six-acre site was under construction for 16 months. It features a 60,000-square-foot, two-story indoor bowling and games center, an outdoor Putt-Putt golf course, a three-story rock climbing wall, new baseball batting cages, a go-cart track, and an all new, exciting Rattler spinning roller coaster. One key factor that made this huge project come together was acquiring the land necessary to make sure Alley Cats had enough space for all of the attractions. “We had about five acres-worth of ideas, but we were only sitting on two acres with our Putt-Putt golf and games,” said Brian Smith, proprietor. The solution was found when Alley Cats was able to purchase land just down the street that was once the site of a Gran Prix raceway that went out of business many years ago. With the land ready, Smith then faced the challenge of adding on to an existing building in the middle of the property without making it look like an add on. Smith had to make sure that the new, much larger building worked with the old foundation and left room for all of the outdoor attractions. The Putt-Putt mini golf operated at its original location for a while before being brought to the new six-acre site after some changes were complete. The Smith family has been in the family entertainment business since the 1960s when Brian’s grandfather operated a Putt-Putt golf course just a few blocks down the street from Lamar Hunt’s
famous Bronco Bowl in Dallas. Back in those days, bowling and other types of games were seldom found under one roof, but Grandpa Smith took note of what Hunt did inside his mega entertainment building that featured bowling, games, golf, archery, batting cages, and even a slot car track at one point. The Smiths operated the franchised Putt-Putt golf courses which later became Putt-Putt Golf and Games, but when grandson Brian got involved, he was troubled by the seasonal nature of the outdoor recreational business. “Basically, we did very well for about eight months a year,” said Smith. “Then, in November through March, business really dropped off. That drop in business led to the Alley Cats concept, with bowling being the anchor of the indoor business. Laser tag and rock climbing soon followed. Today, these multi-feature fun centers are becoming the norm rather than the exception, and the new Alley Cats will raise the bar yet again. With bowling as an anchor, Alley Cats is an exceptional family entertainment destination, and the new Hurst location will offer a slightly different twist. It will have two separate bowling areas, one for kids and family in the downstairs area with 16 lanes, and another, very upscale 12lane boutique-style lounge upstairs, geared towards adult and corporate parties. The Alley Cats concept is to capitalize on business year round by offering guests a full range of indoor and outdoor features. A 7,000-square-foot Steam Punk-themed laser tag, supplied by Laserforce and Creative Works, features two levels and can accommodate up to 30 players at a time. It take guests into a mysterious world. “It kind of makes you feel like Robert Downey, Jr. in that Sherlock Holmes movie,” said Smith. Spectrum Sports installed three rock climbing walls, one of them in the form of a vertical bowling lane. Alley Cats Hurst features QubicaAMF SPL Lanes, and the dozen lanes upstairs are gleaming Glacier White, designed to best reflect the special lighting system that will no doubt impress the party goers and companies who use them to entertain employees and clients. Scoring and other systems are also
COVER STORY provided by QubicaAMF. Dorman Spencer of Bowling Equipment US and Steve Szbina of ZOT Colorsplash provided the lanes and lighting for the project. Both are industry veterans who continue to find new and special ways to take their clients to the next level, and help them upgrade their traditional centers to the newer and more profitable hybrid model. “Brian Smith and his team were great to work with,” said Spencer. “They wanted lanes and other equipment that was sure to impress their customers, and that is what they got. The whole center is very impressive, but the upstairs lounge is even more amazing. The white lanes really make an impression.” The rock wall is a new addition to the offerings at Alley Cats. “Alley Cats installed all three of our ColorSplash LED lighting products, which include pin deck lights, division cap lights, and VersaLamp lane lights in both lane areas. The colors from our LED lights look great, and they really pop
on the white lane surface installed in the upstairs lounge,” said ZOT’s Szbina. “With this system, Alley Cats has the ability to create just about any lighting you can imagine.” The huge game room has all of the hot new games, and the redemption center and games operate on the newest Embed system. Pinsetters are Brunswick A2s to match the machines in the Arlington location. Smith and Spencer considered putting in one of the new string machines, but by staying with Brunswick, the two centers can share mechanics. Alley Cats’ new 100-seat restaurant is the 820 Bistro. It will feature fast-casual food and wait service will be available across all of the lanes and in the upstairs lounge at all times. Waiters will take orders and send them to the kitchen by way of wireless keypads that are linked to the QubicaAMF system. Outdoors, Alley Cats provides guests of all ages a wide variety of options. Putt-Putt mini golf is always popular, and for those who might want a little more excitement can board the Rattler roller coaster or take a spin in one of the brand new
gas powered go-karts. Alley Cats Hurst has a fleet of 25 new carts. For baseball enthusiasts, all of Alley Cats’ batting cages have been updated and are state-of-the-art. Having two locations has its challenges, but there are also advantages. One of those is having a place to train employees for the new location, and with the guidance of Arlington Alley Cats general manager Jay Trietly, training of Hurst employees has been ongoing for several months. Trietly is an industry veteran who has been in the business since his first job with Brunswick BRC in 1976. He has worked with some of the best people in the business, including Marcel Fournier in New York before coming to Texas to work with top proprietors like CC Bearden and Neil Hupfauer before joining Smith at Alley Cats Arlington in 2006. He is one of those hands-on managers who has seen the changes in bowling from the traditional model to the FEC concept up close. He has been successful in both worlds, and describes the differences very well. “The biggest difference is the time of year the stress level is raised,” said Trietly. “In a traditional house you start sweating in April and August when you see what leagues will hit the floor. In an FEC you sweat it in November, planning the holiday party season. We rely heavily on volume, weather, customer satisfaction and word of mouth marketing.” Other major suppliers involved in the Hurst project include Fitzgerald and Associates Architecture, Spectrum Sports, Rides for U, Shepard Food Equipment, and Bob’s Space Racers. Alley Cats Hurst will employ 50 full-time
and 100 part-time workers. “It has been quite a project,” said Smith. “We have had these plans for many years, and now it has all come together. This project could not have been accomplished without the exhausting work of my outstanding team and my wife, Connie,
who was instrumental in the planning and execution of our new location. We are looking forward to great success in Hurst, and many more years in this terrific business.” ❖
Major suppliers: Card system, Embed; Game distributor, Moss Distributing; Bowling Equipment, Brunswick pinsetters, Qubica/AMF scoring; Bowling Equipment Install, Dorman Spencer with Bowling Equipment US; Architect, Fitzgerald and Associates; Laser tag equipment, Laserforce; Laser Tag Arena, Creative Works; Rock Climbing Wall, Spectrum Sports; Spinning Coaster, Rides 4 U; Kitchen Equipment, Shepherd Food Equipment; Bob’s Space Racers, major arcade game provider.
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.
Alley Cat’s laser tag arena designed by Creative Works. IBI
ON, WISCONSIN! Beautiful Wisconsin
in the Badger state.
My travels have taken me far and wide To many a city and countryside. As I have always known from the start, Only one place lives in my heart: Beautiful Wisconsin, nature’s wonderland; In all my dreams I see Beautiful Wisconsin, glorious and grand; That’s where I long to be.
Silv’ry lake and rocky dell Hold me in their magic spell, And the pine-scented air is beyond compare. Beautiful Wisconsin, milk-and-honey land, You’re home, sweet home to me.
- Lyrics by Ken Griffin
By Marci Williams
dd bowling to the list of things that makes Wisconsin so special. “According to BPAA records, Wisconsin ranks third in the total number of bowling establishments in the United States, but is tops in terms of very small centers, many of which are vintage era with wood lanes, manual scoring and/or over-lane ball returns,” says Yvette Bennett, Wisconsin’s BPA executive director. Penny and Paula Anschutz’s Earl’s Sister Bay Bowl and Steve Zastrow’s The Neighbors Lounge and Lanes, two familyowned and vintage bowling centers, are part of the fabric of what makes Wisconsin so “glorious and grand.” Let’s take a visit to these two classically Wisconsin spots.
Earl’ s Sister Bay Bowl The true affection for bowling and community is evident when you talk with Penny and Paula Anschutz, the mother and daughter team — and the third and fourth generation— of Earl’s Sister Bay Bowl in Door County, WI. 30
The exact date is unknown, but Paula’s Great Grandpa Earl Williams, a retired school teacher, bought the Sister Bay Hotel in the 1930s as an investment. Much to his disappointment, his son Earl, a licensed chiropractor, wanted to run a restaurant. Great Grandpa Williams agreed to lease Earl the Sister Bay Hotel for $100 a month to help him follow his dream. Earl ran the bar, while Grandma Williams ran the hotel. Although the hotel had a popular dance spot which was the local hot spot on Saturday nights, Earl opted to tear the dance hall out and build six bowling lanes in the late 50s. People thought he was crazy, but he felt dancing was on its way out. He quickly proved himself to be right when the bowl was full of leagues Monday through Friday evenings. In 1964, they bought the house next door to expand. They built the supper club and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. Although the bar and the 120-seat supper club are incredibly successful — the bar was voted to have the best brandy Old Fashioned Sweets in Door County and the supper club was voted to have the best fish fry and will be featured on Andrew
Earl’s Sister Bay Bowl bowling lanes.
Zimmern’s Delicious Destinations — the Anschutzes are placing more emphasis on bowling and have found their crowd getting younger because of it. They are keeping things as original and authentic as possible. The original Brunswick colors have been retained, and the Anschutzes regret replacing the salmon and aqua benches with bar stools. Scores are kept on paper, and league standings are on a magnetic board Earl installed in 1957. The old wood lanes maintain the history as do the above ground ball returns. The office is in the basement, the bowl and supper club fill the main floor while the shuttered 11-room hotel is above. The Steve Zastrow and Julie Julson outside Neighbors Lounge and Lanes.
Anschutzes wish to one day re-open the hotel. Even though most businesses operate seasonally in Door County, which is 45 minutes north of Green Bay, Earl’s Sister Bay Bowl is open all year. Door County has a population of 27,785 (Sister Bay only has 876), but that number soars to 250,000 in the summertime. They are not busy on sunny days, but they are able to fill all six lanes on rainy days. Earl’s Sister Bay Bowl is a family business, and they believe the bowl is a place for the community to gather, to exchange news, and to embrace life. To the Anschutzes, the business is nostalgic Americana and it’s best. The third and fourth generations of Earl’s Sister Bay Bowl believe in the worth of a gathering spot for generations of families. Wouldn’t Great Grandpa Williams be proud?
Neighbors Lounge and Lanes Remember the 1980s and the sitcom Cheers? The characters had a bar that embraced them as family and everyone knew their name. Steve Zastrow has re-created that Cheers feeling in Cochrane, WI, as The Neighbors Lounge and Lanes. Cochrane is on the west side of the state and has a population of 419. In 1886, the first building in town, Hofer Hotel, was built to house railroaders. Fast forward 131 years, and that hotel is now The Neighbors Lounge and Lanes. In 1946, the banquet hall was replaced with four bowling lanes. The 6,400-square foot building also houses a dart board area, two pool tables, and a bar. 32
he affectionately calls Mom. In the early 80s, he told her that if she ever wanted to sell the bar, he would buy it. He even had a name for it: Neighbors. Three years ago, after owning it for 24 years, she was ready to sell. Steve, along with girlfriend Julie Julson, run all aspects of the business. Steve has made many improvements, such as a new heating system. The lanes were converted to synthetic in 1972 and are certified. Scoring is done manually with dry erase pens and the league treasurers post the standings on a dry erase board. Steve is a certified pinsetter repairman as well as a proud member of the Wisconsin Tavern League, BPA Wisconsin, and Wisconsin USBC. The Neighbors Lounge and Lanes is all about catering to the customers. The Neighbors hosts bowling tournaments, dart tournaments are conducted remotely using cameras and video screens which allow players to
compete with different bars, and pool tournaments are held at various bars in the area. The mutual affection Steve and Julie share for the bar and each other is evident as they describe the accomplishments they have already made and the hopes of the things to be done in the future. The level of affection escalates, however, when Steve speaks about Hogs for Heroes, an organization that raises money to buy motorcycles for veterans. Steve, a Navy veteran, is currently helping to organize a 40-stop motorcycle race fundraiser. Steve is proud to report that to date, Hogs for Heroes has raised enough money to donate four bikes to veterans. Dreams of owning a bar have resulted in history being maintained in Cochrane, two special people sharing an incredible journey together, and lots of joy for the customers. Cheers!
A SPECIAL THANKS TO YVONNE BENNETT for her invaluable help in making this story possible. â?–
Ms. Williams worked at Learjet Inc. (now Bombardier Learjet) for 33 years before retiring in 2005 as a corporate tax accountant. She served on the USBC board of directors for nine years, the BPAA board of directors for four years and the BVL board of directors for seven years. Her high game is a 300, and she is a proud supporter of the Wichita State and Newman University bowling programs.
Back to Nature
A new get-away in Île-de-France redefines family entertainment and hospitality.
By Paul Lane
n September 1st, 2017, a new holiday complex called Villages Nature Paris, opened in Bailly-Romainvilliers, France, and immediately became a popular destination for holiday makers, not just from France, but for visitors to Paris from all around the globe. Jean-Pierre Massif, Manager for Experiences at Villages Nature Paris describes this concept as, “a destination that is reinventing the concept of holidays. Comprising five immersive natural worlds - Aqualagon, BelleVie Farm, Extraordinary Gardens, Forest of Legends and the Lakeside Promenade that includes bowling and an arcade - this unique holiday village will make guests feel at one with nature and offers a complete change of scene to help them reconnect with the things that truly matter. In short, it’s a holiday destination providing experiences designed to help visitors reacclimatize and reconnect.” Disneyland Paris advertises Villages Nature Paris on their website as a place to stay when visiting the park. The complex is a 50/50 joint venture between
Euro Disney S.C.A. and the Pierre & Vacances Group. About 40% of customers staying at Villages Nature Paris purchase day tickets for Disneyland Paris. And Disneyland sells day and half-day tickets to Villages Nature Paris. A bus service is offered between the two venues. The Lakeside Promenade at the very center of the site features restaurants, coffee and pastry shops, gift shops, Gametown Arcade, and a 12-lane bowling center including full service food at Strike Bar and Lounge. The bowling center is equipped with 12 lanes with QubicaAMF’s TMS String Pinspotters, BES X, the world’s only bowler entertainment system, and an automated bumper bowling system. “Both QubicaAMF and Villages Nature strive to deliver unforgettable experiences, so it just seemed like the perfect fit to partner with QubicaAMF on this project,” said Jean Chabert, Managing Director of Jean-Pierre Massif
Concourse adjacent to the bowling lanes at Villages Nature.
Development of Pierre & Vacances. “We have seen an increase in resorts looking to set their location apart, and offer their guests a broader range of activities,” says Christophe Chauvard, General Manager France, Switzerland and Africa for QubicaAMF Worldwide. “It is exciting for us to add bowling to increase the appeal and profitability of Villages Nature Paris and to add to the magic that surrounds Disneyland.” Massif agreed and added, “The entertainment zone has exceeded our revenue forecast, thanks to bowling. And the site meets more and more success day after day.” “There’s a nice synergy between bowling and Gametown Arcade [in the nearby Lakeside Promenade]” added Massif. The Gametown Arcade features a variety of games ranging from pinball, video, and merchandise (crane) machines. Massif tells us that the co-activity between bowling and Strike Bar and Lounge is working extremely well. Strike has large screen TVs and special highresolution sound that make it the place to be for any group event. “This is rapidly becoming the place to meet, relax, and share good times at Villages Nature,” said Massif. The best news of all is employees at the Villages Nature Paris bowling center have been trained to offer basic instruction to beginners. This is certainly not typical of many bowling centers whose focus in on entertainment as opposed to sport bowling, but Villages Nature management feels that offering instruction is important to ensure that newcomers get the most possible enjoyment out of their first experience with bowling. Since large numbers of customers will be introduced to bowling Christophe Chauvard of QubicaAMF for the first time at Villages Nature Paris, 40
a good experience will most likely encourage them to visit local bowling centers when they return home, thereby benefitting the overall industry. The Aqualagon is the largest water park in Europe, all heated entirely with geothermal energy. Guests can whizz down one of seven slides and tackle an aquatic climbing wall. With wave pools, white-water rivers and splash pools, the water park promises aquatic fun for all. The same geothermal energy that heats the Aqualagon also heats all the other amenities including all heating and hot water used in the facility. Then there’s the Forest of Legends: In the heart of an enchanted forest lies a playground that will delight both little ones and big ones. With hiding places and hanging nests, Mother Nature provides the perfect setting for games of make-believe. Whether building dens and tree houses, hurtling down suspended rope bridges or exploring
Bowling lanes at Villages Nature.
mysterious trails, children can let their imaginations run wild in this enchanted place. A selection of workshops, puzzles, and interactive shows will add to this creative land of magical mystery. The BelleVie Farm is a working farm where instead of just observing animals, guests can participate in daily workshops and relish the simple pleasures of life on the farm. Visitors will learn how to look after farm animals, and parents can treat their children to a ride through the surrounding forest at the Pony Club. BelleVie Farm is also home to a full-scale farm playground where budding little farmers will enjoy playing on the silo slides, hay bale trampolines and tractor bikes. To celebrate the food produced at the farm,
The water feature at Villages Nature is a favorite attraction for guests of all ages.
guests can take part in cooking lessons in which they will learn to cook seasonal vegetables and make bread. They can also make a pit stop at the farm’s tea room, which is open all day. The five immersive experiences at Villages Nature Paris offer no fewer than 100 activities. Combine these with the myriad attractions at Disneyland Paris, and there is surely something interesting for everyone. Villages Nature Paris has made a significant impact on the local economy with job creation. In a government contract leading up to the opening, it was estimated that Villages Nature Paris would create 1,000 direct jobs and 1,600 indirect jobs generated by spending by guests. Additionally, they set a goal of ensuring that disabled workers make up at least 6% of the work force from the day they opened, as opposed to within three years, as required by French law. With Villages Nature Paris being open year-round, most jobs are permanent contract positions. These positions span 60 different job titles, from guest services like reception and catering, to support services like maintenance, groundskeeping, housekeeping, and security. This is what it takes in terms of Guest accommodations at Villages Nature Paris.
employees to properly service a forecasted one million guests a year; including an estimated 200,000 day visitors. When you consider that a large portion of the first six months that Villages Nature Paris has been open would be considered off-season for holiday makers, they are off to an incredible start. Once the spring and summer season really get underway the results are likely to be incredible, with the accommodation and experiences being sold out well in advance. Will this determine if 12 lanes are enough, or will they need to consider expanding? Sounds promising! One thing is certain: the decision to include bowling and an arcade in this vast holiday complex, along with its myriad attractions, has already proven to be a good investment and a good fit for Villages Nature Paris. ❖
Guests have the opportunity to ride ponies while on property.
Special thanks to: Jean-Pierre Massif, Manager Experiences, Villages Nature Paris Judy-Gaëlle Ranaivoson, Tourism Press Officer, Pierre & Vacances - Center Parcs Group Christophe Chauvard, General Manager France, Switzerland & Africa for QubicaAMF Worldwide Stephanie Darby, Marketing Director, QubicaAMF Worldwide Daniel Alper, Marketing Communications Specialist, QubicaAMF Worldwide
Paul Lane is former Director of Marketing and Marketing Services for AMF Bowling, Inc. He has been the director of 18 AMF World Cups, an officer in national and international trade associations, and a pro bowler during a career that spans more than 60 countries and 50 years.
By Ben Jones
his is not a how to article; for that you can Google “how to write a business plan” and choose from millions of results. There is an over-abundance of tips, techniques, and formatting suggestions for how to write, organize and style your plan. The lessons below were learned from my years as a serial entrepreneur, occasional equity investor, and now lender about what is often overlooked, misunderstood, and underserved in most business plans.
of these promises is never more true than on the day the doors open to an engaging customer experience. No one will care as much as you, and you cannot outsource caring. } OUTSOURCING: Just as you can’t outsource caring or passion, neither can you outsource due diligence – this is why you cannot buy the due diligence, the research, or the writing of the business plan. Do the work! As a reader, I can tell if the plan is yours or reflects someone else’s thoughts, ideas, and understanding.
} SITUATION: All plans should clearly define the pain points that the business opportunity targets. Most plans completely fail to identify the external environment and the pain points in the market and how their unique business will solve these important questions. Most plans are an answer looking for a question or a solution looking for a problem. What is misunderstood are these fundamentals: find the need, find the niche, identify the pain points and differentiate. The final questions - is the pain big enough and is your solution compelling enough to build a sustainable business around - are often overlooked.
} MARKET SPACE: Most plans I read either define market space as too large or too small, and they miss the segmentations and overstate penetrations and utilization. There is ample opportunity within a larger space, but the larger space also has more opportunity for nuance, segmentation, and competition. Small space has less opportunity for competition and division, but also comes with a much smaller margin for error. When defining market space and location, also think about reducing risk and what barriers to entry might you factor out of the market.
} OBSESSION: To be successful you have to obsess over your plan, your business, and the customer experience. Do the work! The future of your business depends on delivering on a promise – to bankers, investors, employees and customers. Each
} CONTROL: You control limited aspects of your business, even fewer elements of your environment, and very little human behavior. If you adopt a strategy that requires a shift in consumer preferences or behaviors, you have raised the bar
BUSINESS and shifted all burden of proof onto you. Be careful about making assumptions that are counter to known human behavior and patterns. } COMPETITION: The reality is this: competition will always exist in a market. There is a prevailing belief that you can drive competition out of a market or that direct competition is your only true competitor. Anyone and anything that competes for the mindshare of your customer is your competitor. Period. Use your competitors as the impetus for creativity and innovation and uncover ways to get better, 10X better. A plan that underestimates or underserves the competitive landscape discussion lacks credibility. Remember that given enough time and money, your competitors can copy or imitate almost everything that you have. The only real sustainable differentiator you will have are your people and the culture that you bring to life. } PROJECTIONS: Most readers do not believe projections. This is not a statement to be debated, but rather a fact to be managed. Projections and imagination are synonymous. Projections are more guesswork than science and more fiction than fact. Excel is a great program, you can lay down 1,000 line items, project out 20 years and tell me how much you’ll spend on toilet paper in year seven. I don’t care. Start your financial discussion by narrowing down the vast variables to key assumptions and key leverage points. Notes, assumptions, and comparable data are what moves projections (hypothesis) to the realm of financial forecasts which have a basis in time and in reality. Included in the discussion of projections must be a sensitivity analysis. Not a full detailed regression, but a close look at the variables that make up your assumptions and what happens if they don’t materialize at all, or if they take longer to ramp up. How does this affect cash flow? How sensitive is your business to leverage points, risk and timing? Does your pro-forma balance sheet indicate sufficient post-closing liquidity to mitigate these sensitivities? } MANAGEMENT: The concept of teams and teamwork is talked
about ad nauseam, and yet it remains a plan staple. Savvy investors and lenders view teams and individuals for upside potential, market knowledge, strategy, navigation and implementation. Think in terms of upside potential and risk management. By contrast, many traditional, older-style banking institutions do not see humanity within management but rather they see collateral and view management for its collective financial wherewithal to repay a debt if things go wrong. What is often underserved (and misunderstood) about management is that there are several, non-analytic and intangible factors that contribute to business success: character, trust, integrity, experience, and intellectual curiosity to mention a few. For me and my team at Live Oak Bank, we view these as the human factors that bring success to a venture. } EXECUTION: Few start-ups reach this stage, and even existing business that are expanding falter with basic and fundamental execution. How do you take the elements of situation, strategy, market space, competition, risk, management, displacement and differentiation, and 46
combine them into action steps? Honesty is the key factor with execution. Honesty is overlooked and another place where human bias enters the planning process – what can you realistically accomplish? As a metaphor, there is irony with execution as many entrepreneurs fail to execute well, thus killing themselves. } WHY AND WHAT: Your story and through line
must flow and answer both why and what. If you are ever in doubt at any time during the situation and strategy stages, my suggestion is that you reflect, revisit, re-think, re-everything, and ask: What consumer need are you addressing? What is your target audience’s pain point? What is compelling and unique about your business? What is your unfair advantage? What is your point of differentiation? What is your resolve? Where are your milestones? What value will you create for your community and customers? Why will you succeed where others have failed? Here are a few more points to consider before your plan hits the inbox: • There are no shortage of businesses and people looking for capital – this is highly competitive space. • Although a business plan is not without passion, it should be a factual dissertation of outlining the economic viability of a business venture or investment decision. • Most investors or financiers will only afford a plan 10 minutes before they make an initial decision – this is simple time-management • Clear, concise, compelling, and neat are essential elements to make an impression and an interesting and honest story could advance your plan beyond the 10-minute mark. • Plans are living documents that evolve with experience, transform as you grow, and always have plan-as-you-proceed relevance. A well thought out and properly supported business plan that addresses the overlooked and underserved areas is better positioned for positive outcomes. Be prepared to spend more time and more capital than your plan indicates is necessary, and remember that investing in your people and creating a unique culture will set you apart in the long term. ❖
Ben Jones is General Manager and FEC Specialist of Entertainment Center Financing at Live Oak Bank, co-creator of F2FEC, and has been in the FEC business for over 30 years.
SHOWCASE ON-LANE ORDERING
New Center Consulting, based in Rochester Hills, MI, recently introduced TouchScore 3 Scoring’s newest feature, On Lane. This latest addition allows customers to order food and beverage using the Keypad/Lower Monitor Tablet’s easy to follow screens. Once keyed in, the order shows up in the Orders menu tab, and notifies the center of the order. When ready, messages can either be sent to the lane to notify the customers their items are ready to be picked up or staff can take the order to the lane. Simple. Easy to use. An effective way to better serve bowlers in any center. For more information, Contact Glenn Hartshorn at (248) 375-2751.
A HANDHELD TOOL
QubicaAMF has perfected the perfect complement to the Conqueror Pro POS and management system. The Conqueror QPad is the only handheld solution that extends the power of Conqueror to any service point, anywhere in a facility, delivering superior guest services which drive revenues. As a result, the QPad will help improve staff effectiveness and efficiency, and deliver an additional layer of customer support to a center. Conqueror QPad addresses the changing operational needs of today’s bowling and entertainment business by enabling centers to provide improved service levels and a better guest experience. Learn more at www.qubicaamf.com.
NEW GAME OF SKILL
Steltronic introduces FootBowl, combining the game of soccer and automatic scoring. It is live action soccer with players competing against each other for the best score. Kicking the ball with higher speed and accuracy increases your individual score while being displayed with interactive graphics on HD monitors. Different gaming modes inform the player which target to hit, with bonus points for accuracy and speed of the ball. No mechanical or moving parts to wear out; this exciting game is scored by patented camera tracking devices. For information, call (800) 942-5939 or email email@example.com.
MARKETING MADE EASY
Brunswick’s Sync scoring and management system takes the guesswork and labor out of database marketing. Sync tracks the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, showing how much additional revenue is generated with each redemption. Rather than simply rewarding regular customers with discounts, Sync helps drive traffic to new or less active customers with personalized offers. Brunswick incorporated the latest technology so that every customer touch point is addressed in a robust, feature-rich POS.. It all adds up to a single, easy-to-use system that aligns customer interactions with center operations to drive traffic, increase sales, and encourage repeat visits. Learn more by visiting www.BrunswickBowling.com/ProductsSync.
Struggling to find time to merchandise and manage your redemption area? BMI Merchandise’s automated system, AMRS, handles every step of the process from product selection and automatic reorders to the design and installation of your redemption area. BMI works with your team to customize your layout, creating a 3-D PLAN-O-GRAM that accurately reflects your area’s specifications and depicts exactly how prizes are to appear. Once the product ships, the BMI Merchandising team arrives at your location to unpack and merchandise your redemption center. The AMRS technology analyzes your inventor to ensure prize centers are in-stock and never over-stocked. Contact Dave Schwartz: firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 272-6375.
Studio41b has recently shipped two escape rooms to Fribourg, Switzerland, which will be opening to the public this month. One is a horror room geared toward adults, while the other is a more family-friendly adventure. Already boasting other international installations, this will be Studio41b’s first foray on the European continent. Studio 41b says that the interest in real escape games is just as strong internationally as it is in the U.S., and they have many upcoming projects that will be installed in America and elsewhere. For more information on escape rooms or other attractions and theming, visit their website at studio41b.com. IBI
APRIL 5-8 Pro Shop Training Classes Jayhawk Bowling Supply Russ or Alex (800) 255-6436
12-13 Trainertainment Train the Trainer BPAA Training Campus, Arlington, TX Trainertainment.net (817) 886-4840
MAY 1-2 Lasertronâ€™s Laser Tag Conference Laser-tron.com (800) 897-8766
15-17 IBPSIA Master Class Southpoint Hotel and Casino Ibpsia.com 17-21 International Bowl Expo Paris Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, NV Bpaa.com/bowlexpo
JULY 17-19 BPAA Bowling University Management School Toftrees Golf Resort State College, PA
AUGUST 8-9 2018 LaserTAG360 Creative Works Danny Gruening (317) 834-4770, ext 104 email@example.com
15 Illinois State BPA Digital Marketing Boot Camp Joliet Town & Country Lanes Joliet, IL (847) 982-1305 firstname.lastname@example.org
2-5 Pro Shop Training Classes Jayhawk Bowling Supply Russ or Alex (800) 255-6436 7-8 2018 LaserTAG360 Creative Works Danny Gruening (317) 834-4770, ext. 104 danny@the woweffect.com 22-23 Trainertainment Advanced Sales BPAA Training Campus, Arlington, TX Trainertainment.net (817) 886-4840
JUNE 7-10 Pro Shop Training Classes Jayhawk Bowling Supply Russ or Alex (800) 255-6436
IBI April 2018
OCTOBER 4-7 Pro Shop Training Classes Jayhawk Bowling Supply Russ or Alex (800) 255-6436
7-9 Southwest Trade Show Texas Bowling Centers Association Golden Nugget Group rate available ($119) Lake Charles, LA Karen Miller (512) 467-9331 email@example.com
11-12 Trainertainment Business Coaching BPAA Training Campus, Arlington, TX Trainertainment.net (817) 886-4840
DECEMBER 6-9 Pro Shop Training Classes Jayhawk Bowling Supply Russ or Alex (800) 255-6436
BPAA One-Day Management Boot Camps Available to state associations & multi-unit centers Upcoming Management Boot Camps:
May: Iowa, Bev Van Blair, (515) 255-0808 SoCal, (909) 247-9734 July: Missouri, Skip Merryman, (817) 385-8446 Pennsylvania, Chris Gallas Ohio, Lewis Sims, (419) 935-1394 Idaho, Skip Merryman September: Louisiana, Marc Pater, (225) 925-5471 Contact Kelly Bednar (817) 385-8462 Kelly@bpaa.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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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 IBI
EQUIPMENT FOR SALE
SPOIL YOUR CUSTOMERS, and improve your food and beverage bottom line with a Double Stack Lincoln Impinger II Express Pizza Oven, Electric, with Fastbake Technology Kit, Portable Stand with Casters, Take off Shelves (4), Pizza Screens and other accessories included. $9998 Owner paid $22,940. Used 6 months, Closed Center. Call
NEW CENTER CONSULTING
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
LOCKER KEYS FAST! All Keys done by code # Locks and Master Keys E-mail: email@example.com TOLL FREE
CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE
Used WINS system Steltronic automatic scoring with new componentry & new operating desk. Bumper capability. $2450/lane installed. Also available: used Qubica scoring; bumper/gutter/capping; new & used synthetic lane panels. Installations available. Knotritellc@gmail.com.
HEAD MECHANIC for Brunswick A2 pinsetters and Qubica BES X scoring, with overall center expertise needed. Busy 40-lane center in St. Clair Shores, a suburb of Detroit, MI. Good working environment. Salary negotiable. Send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com.
HEAD MECHANIC for 82-30 pinsetters in South Florida. Will help to relocate. Email: email@example.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.
POSITION WANTED Certified Brunswick mechanic versed on all American and Japanese serial machines and ZOT conversions. Seeking part time or full time in the Denver and central Colorado area. Will furnish all tools and equipment. Very experienced; with excellent references. Call (303) 948-8770 or (720) 527-4287.
EDUCATION & TRAINING PRO SHOP TRAINING. Classes always forming. Jayhawk Bowling Supply (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com.
SERVICES AVAILABLE ATTENTION: AMF 82-30 owners! Chassis rebuilding & all AMF 82-30 motor rebuilding. One-year guarantee. We deliver. [We reserve the right to decline service.] For information, call (330) 716-5735. Drill Bit Sharpening and Measuring Ball Repair. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com.
CENTERS FOR SALE CENTRAL IDAHO: Busy, updated, 8-lane (synthetic) center: electronic scorekeeping, league play & 50-seat restaurant with drive thru. Easy highway access. Assumable loan. Call (775) 720-2726 for more details. MISSISSIPPI (Corinth): Profitable 16-lane Brunswick A center. Equipment in excellent condition. Includes snack bar, game/pool room. On 7 acres. Call (662) 415-3555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. EASTERN OKLAHOMA: 16 lanes, Brunswick & Steltronic. Laser tag. Arcade. Snack bar. Bar. Very operational. Great condition. Or, move the operation to your location. Owner is tired. Will separate lane package. Knotritellc@gmail.com. FLORIDA: Central. Attractive, mid-sized center with revenues trending up. Owner retiring. Call David Driscoll (352) 735-8065.
SELL YOUR CENTER (818) 789-2695
CLASSIFIEDS Felix Erickson Company Inc. Strike Zone © Family of Industry Leading Lane Products Strike Zone KB Lane Cleaner 5 gal case $ 95.00 Strike Zone Next Generation L.C. 5 gal/case $ 105.00 Strike Zone SuperStar L.C. 5 gal/case $ 120.00 Envi-Cide II Disinfectant/Shoe Aerosol $ 89.95/case Solve-It Orange All Purpose Cleaner $ 69.95/case ®
Exclusive Phenolic Kickback Plates Front 15” x 33” Rear 19” x 23 ¾” $ 89.00 each (includes screws and instructions) FESI Solve-It Ball Wheel Liner @ $90.00 /roll 070-011-905 Waffle Distributor Belt w/ lacing $58.00 each Toll Free (800) 445-1090 | P (609) 267-2833 | F (609) 267-466 www.festrikezone.com | Resurfacing-Repairs-Supplies
VICKS COLD TABLETS
ith one of the worst flu seasons we’ve had in a long time, what could be more appropriate than a good cold ad spotlighting bowling. Vicks VapoRub probably goes way back in many readers’ memory banks: mom slathering Vicks on a sick child’s chest, a wool sock wrapped tightly around the throat, and a kiss goodnight. Ring a bell? In 1958, Vicks had grown up. No more greasy mentholatum rub. Scientifically engineered “double-buffered” cold tablets kept people up and moving and enjoying their favorite past time, bowling. And, in 1958-1959, there was a lot of bowling: Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA) had 217,292 members; ABC had 3,000,000, and WIBC touted 1,231,529. That’s a lot of happy bowlers who needed to stay healthy and keep bowling. ❖ - Patty Heath