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Photo Courtesy of Randy Gulley


CONTENTS

VOL 26.7

8 SHORTS • National Bowling Day is coming. • Dancing and Bowling at Martinez Social Club • The Rams have a bowling quarterback. • QubicaAMF’s Eric Berry retires. • BVL honors BCSC associations’ support. • Thunderbowl Lanes welcomes back PBS. • World Series of Bowling X

24 COVER STORY In conversation with Jerry Francomano and Mike Kaufman Bowling in Las Vegas: The more it changes, the more it stays the same. By Jim Goodwin 17

40 FEATURE A Trip Down Memory Lane Ted Baer and J.C. Cramer preserve bowling history at their Omaha bowling museum. By Mark Miller

16 CONSIDER THIS Lost in Translation

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54 REMEMBER WHEN 1956 By Patty Heath

17 PROFILE

38 Showcase

Leading the Way

48 Datebook

Stephanie Darby steers the QubicaAMF marketing team into the future.

49 Classifieds

By Joan Taylor

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ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER David Garber garber@bowlingindustry.com

OFFICE MANAGER Patty Heath heath@bowlingindustry.com

CONTRIBUTORS Kay Anderson Jim Goodwin Patty Heath Ben Jones Mark Miller Joan Taylor

fisher@bowlingindustry.com

ART DIRECTION & PRODUCTION Designworks www.dzynwrx.com (818) 735-9424

FOUNDER Allen Crown (1933-2002)

P.O. Box 7350 Overland Park, KS 66207 (818) 789-2695(BOWL) Fax (818) 789-2812 info@bowlingindustry.com

HOTLINE: 818-789-2695

Natty Boh

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frager@bowlingindustry.com Skype: scottfrager

www.BowlingIndustry.com

By Ben Jones and Kay Anderson

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PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jackie Fisher

By Patty Heath

With so many definitions of ‘perfect,’ the word means different things to different people.

THE WORLD'S ONLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE BUSINESS OF BOWLING

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 2018, B2B Media, Inc. No part of this magazine may be reprinted without the publisher’s permission.

MEMBER AND/OR SUPPORTER OF:


SHORTS

EXPANSIONS, OPENINGS & NEW BEGINNINGS

VALLEY LANES, MIDLAND, MI, IS GOING BIG CITY

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Valley Lanes FEC has always been on the cutting edge of entertainment. Besides bowling, laser maze, mini-golf, bumper cars, arcade and billiards, there are now two new escape rooms and a virtual reality gaming room. Jason Rapanos, owner of Valley Lanes and Great Hall Banquet & Convention Center, told the Midland Daily News, “I wanted to bring some big city amenities to Valley Lanes, because you usually only see escape rooms in bigger cities.”

MIDTOWN DETROIT RENOVATION The Majestic Theater, a landmark in the midtown Detroit area, is awaiting a facelift. The face lift will include the façade, stage, and a new sign, replicating the 1934 marquee. Tucked in the complex is Garden Bowl which has operated since 1913, preceding the theater which opened in 1915.

BRUNSWICK PARTNERS WITH PCC IN PELL CITY, ALABAMA Premiere Cinema Corporation (PCC), one of North America’s largest independently owned cinema companies, with more than 300 screens in six states, has ventured into the bowling business with the help of Brunswick Bowling. This project will be in Pell City, AL, and will feature 12 lanes of bowling, seven luxury recliner auditoriums, a ropes course, a 3,000-square-foot gaming arcade, and more. In addition, there will be a full-service restaurant and bar, plus party rooms for birthday parties and corporate events.

LANE7 IS ROLLING OVER ENGLAND IBI spotlighted Lane7 (May 2014) when it first began its upmarket bowling venues in Newcastle, UK, in 2013. Now, within a matter of months, the company has announced two centers in Liverpool, one which has opened, and another which will be ready for the Christmas season. This is not the end of the story. There are plans to open a site in Birmingham this summer, with further openings confirmed for Glasgow, Sheffield, and Durham in the next 18 months. This makes Lane7 the largest independent upmarket bowling operator in the UK. Owner and founder Tim Wilks was quoted by TheGuideLiverpool.com. “We bring not just bowling but other special twists which make Lane7 an unforgettable night out. Liverpool’s a buzzing night out, and we can’t wait to be a part of the city’s night-time scene.”

#12 FOR STARS AND STRIKES Stars and Strikes will be opening a new FEC in Smyrna, TN, in the third quarter of 2018. This will mark the company’s twelfth location and the first in Tennessee. The 55,000-square-foot facility will house 24 bowling lanes, eight of which are VIP lanes. There will also be a 7,300-square-foot arcade and prize store, a multi-story laser tag arena, bumper cars, the 7/10 Grille restaurant, and a large, full-service bar with big screen TVs for sports viewing. In addition, patrons may avail themselves of multiple private party rooms.

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SHORTS

ß BITS & PIECES ß ß ß 2019 USBC Masters

The Gold Coast Bowling Center in Las Vegas will be the site of the 2019 USBC Masters, a major event on the Go Bowling PBA Tour and a World Bowling event. It is slated for March 26 and the event’s stepladder finals will be shown in primetime on FOX Sports. The Gold Coast Bowling Center is a 70-lane facility which served as host of the 2018 USBC Senior Queens this past March. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Reno welcomes THE ROW.

Eldorado Resorts, Inc. has united the Eldorado Resort Casino, Silver Legacy Resort Casino, and Circus Circus and rebranded the destination in the heart of Reno as THE ROW. The rebrand is part of Eldorado Resorts, Inc.’s over $100 million investment in renovation. It will encompass 25 restaurants, 22 bars and lounges, 11 nightspots, and much more. THE ROW kicked off its summer event series with the Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival. ---------------------------------------------------------------

WSOB returns to its roots.

The PBA World Series of Bowling X will return to its roots at historic Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, in suburban Detroit, and will include a unique television package with the PBA’s new broadcast partner, FOX Sports. The tournament will be held March 11-21, part of the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour. There is no 2018 WSOB. Thunderbowl’s unique arena bay was originally built to showcase team bowling prior to the PBA’s formation in 1958. Since it was conceived, the WSOB has been a magnet for both established and rising international bowling stars. Bowers from 41 different countries have participated over the past nine years. ---------------------------------------------------------------

75th Anniversary

Walter’s Bar and Romulus Lanes, two popular, family-owned businesses in Romulus, MI, are celebrating the 75th year in business. Actually, Romulus Lanes is a tad younger at 73, but the bar portion, Walter’s Bar, which opened in 1943, is legit. With a brief history of ownership outside the original family, the entwined establishments are back in the hands of their original owner’s family. Sylvia Perecki is a silent partner and her daughter, Stephanie Wagle runs the business with her husband, Rob, and their son, Matthew.

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IN SAN ANTONIO, HEAD FOR MARTINEZ SOCIAL CLUB While dancing takes top billing, if you want to take a break, this quaint throwback to simpler times has a ninepin bowling alley in the back where the pins are hand set. The Martinez Social Club was established in 1912, roughly 35 years after the town was built as a rail station. It is still an active dance hall with two to four dances a week, and with traditional country music played by artists from all over Texas. A good tip when going to a dance is to be mindful of which side of the dance floor you sit. Couples who want to dance exclusively with one another sit to the left and dancers who want to dance with multiple partners sit on the right. For bowling? Well, it’s just…bowling.

Photo credit: Hometown in My Rearview

USBC ASSOCIATIONS HONORED

FOR BVL DONATIONS

USBC associations were honored at the national convention in Reno. BVL (Bowlers to Veterans Link) presented awards to the five top states and both large and small associations for the 2016-17 season. The top states were: California with $113,874.52; Michigan - $50,607.05; followed, in order by Texas, Arizona and Virginia. The Metro Phoenix USBC contribution of $27,070 was one of the largest local association donations in BVL history. “At BVL, every dollar counts; we appreciate every single donation. But these awards give us an opportunity to shine a light on some very special efforts undertaken by our BVL volunteers around the country,” explains Mary Harrar, BVL executive director. “This shows the huge hearts that are working hard to help our heroes in need.”


SHORTS

READY PLAYER ONE IS THIS WHERE WE’RE HEADED? By: Patty Heath

Having just seen the movie, Ready Player One, there seemed to be a subliminal message of just how far our need for entertainment can take us and more importantly, how much time we will spend there. The planning and zoning commission in Naperville, IL, has recently given a positive recommendation to VR 360 Playground, a virtual reality business concept that would allow patrons to experience climbing Mount Everest or touring Paris without ever leaving Naperville.

PEOPLEWATCHING A WELL-DESERVED RETIREMENT: Eric Berry, for over 29 years, has been the Eastern Regional Sales Manager for both AMF and QubicaAMF; his career with the companies spans over 40 years. “Eric’s family at QubiaAMF will miss him tremendously,” states Jay Buhl, Senior VP and GM, QubicaAMF,. “Eric has invested essentially a lifetime, dedicated to the company he represented, the team Eric Berry that he has successfully lead, and his customer base, whom he candidly consulted as the industry evolved over the decades. I have worked side by side with Eric since 1988. I will miss him, but if anyone deserves a happy retirement, it is ‘The King.’” Replacing Berry, effective July 1, is Eric Weimer. Weimer began his career in 1990 with AMF and continuing with QubicaAMF. Buhl sates, “Eric’s industry knowledge will aid in customer consul, and his business experience makes him well qualified to lead the East sales team.” Eric Weimer Nick Atkinson has joined the Kegel Team as the new training center coordinator. He will manage daily operations of the Kegel Training Center, including scheduling for individual and group lessons. Atkinson grew up in the industry; his grandparents own Sherwood Lanes, in Frostburg, MD. He graduated from Vincennes University with his Associate’s Degree in bowling management. He then graduated from William Penn University with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology. Atkinson bowled collegiately for both Vincennes and William Penn University and was voted to a national All-American team for the 2007-08 season. Nick Atkinson

Fun or something to ponder? Photo credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Marcus Beam, owner, pointed out, “It provides family entertainment that is geared more toward teenagers and adults, not so much small children. But, it does bring families together because everyone can experience different amusement-type rides that are on virtual reality all in the same place.” Patrons would also be able to participate in activities such as virtual bowling and virtual hunting. VR experiences last anywhere from one to 11 minutes, with some running closer to 20 minutes. Excited but cautious. I kind of like lacing up the shoes, selecting the right weight ball, and then aiming my sights for those pins. 12

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Darschelle Thomas

After almost three decades of service at ZOT Pinsetter Parts, PJ Rosendahl, president and owner, announced the promotion of Darschelle Thomas to vice president of finance. Thomas joined the company in 1989. “Darschelle’s contributuion to ZOT’s success has been immeasurable,” shared Rosendahl, “and her promotion is both well-deserved and long overdue.”

H. Betti Industries, Inc. (Betson Enterprises) has hired James Liess Jr. as Senior Director of Marketing. He will be responsible for developing, executing, and assessing B2B marketing strategies for all divisions. He comes to Betson with more than 10 years in marketing and communications. Liess has had various roles at the National Basketball Association, managing public relations for some the leagues’ marquee events and has worked for Haier, a multinational consumer James Liess, Jr. electronic and home appliances company.


SHORTS

Media

WATCH A BOWLER TO A QUARTERBACK The NFL’s Los Angeles Rams have, what they hope is, a diamond in the rough. The undrafted free agent, Luis Perez, who played football at Texas A&M Commerce, didn’t start out choosing football. In high school, he was on the bowling team and has had 12 perfect games. It started with a trip to a bowling center for his dad’s birthday, followed by bowling every Tuesday night, his own shoes and ball, and then league play. Now he’s a walk-on quarterback for the Rams. His college football stats aren’t bad either: 421 of 596 passes with only 11 interceptions.

PHOENIX, OREGON Oregon is not new to movies. Goonies and Free Willy were shot in Astoria. The latest film being shot in the Klamath Falls area is in Phoenix. Not Arizona, but Phoenix, Oregon, which is the title— Phoenix, Oregon. Director Gary Lundgren and Joma Films were looking for small-town authenticity; Hanscam’s Bowling Center, in Klamath Falls, fit the bill, a picture-perfect, older-style center. The gist is two men, facing a mid-life crisis, decide to open a bowling center and pizza joint in Phoenix. Look for it on the film festival circuit in 2019.

THE KNEES GO FIRST As we age, those rickety knees can eliminate a lot of fun and inhibit mobility. COOLIEF, cooled radiofrequency treatment, has been cleared by the FDA as a treatment for moderate to severe osteoarthritis. This minimally invasive, non-narcotic procedure for chronic back, knee, and hip pain can last for up to a year. In this commercial, one bowler to another, “Try it, man!”

Back on track!

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A little helpful advice.

NATIONAL BOWLING DAY August 11 The bowling industry is once again celebrating National Bowling Day on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 by offering consumers a free game at participating bowling centers across the country. Thanks to exposure from multiple segments on FOX & Friends and coverage on USAToday.com, last year, tens of thousands of new visitors flocked to the GoBowling.com website. For 2018, Go Bowling has secured confirmation from FOX & Friends that it plans to feature bowling throughout the show’s broadcast on Aug. 11. It will be setting up bowling lanes on the set in New York and representatives from the industry and the PWBA and PBA will be promoting the free coupon giveaway, while bowling with the hosts of the show. On Aug. 5, National Bowling Day will be heavily promoted on NBC through the Go Bowling at The Glen – Go Bowling’s NASCAR race sponsorship. “This is going to be a great week for bowling and the Go Bowling brand,” added Nancy Schenk, president of the BPAA. “Having the Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR race as a lead-in to provide top-of-mind awareness for bowling the week before the National Bowling Day segments on FOX & Friends is going to give the National Bowling Day celebration an incredible boost this year.”

GOODWILL CENTRAL Again, bowling stands tall in being a successful venue for charities and community activities. Here are just a few events held across the country. Bowlero, Corpus Christi, TX: Strike for Literacy is an annual event, raising money for the literacy program in Nueces County, where 17% of the population doesn’t know how to read. Meadow Wood Lanes, Rapid City, SD: Strike Out Cancer was held to raise funds for pediatric cancer. George Pappas’ Liberty Lanes, Gastonia, NC: Angel Bowl was sponsored by Holy Angels, founded by the Sisters of Mercy. Over 1,000 bowlers took part in raising funds for programs and residential services. Tower Lanes, Beaver Dam, WI: The fundraiser was organized to help residents of an apartment building which was totally destroyed in an explosion. There were 15 families displaced. The community came together and donated $15,000 during the bowling event.


CONSIDER THIS

Perfection is Lost in Translation With so many definitions of perfect, the word means different things to different people. We don’t know what perfect is any more.

By Ben Jones and Kay Anderson

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e – Kay and I – have been accused of over reaching for perfection. This is a characteristic that we recognize in each other. The pursuit of perfection is one of the things that has drawn us together. But it is also something that as individuals we struggle with from time to time. The pursuit of perfection is one that, without self-reflection and adjustment, can get in the way of achieving worthy goals and, in collaborative team work, can be stifling, especially in the context of the creative process. Is the pursuit of perfection good or bad? Well, likely both – and here is our perspective. Some would say there are many types of perfect, but we submit there is really only one definition that rises above the others. For example, society often sees perfection as that which is intuitive, predictable, and comfortable versus that which is truly unique and extraordinary in every way. A few people may also suggest that other types of perfect include the trophyfor-every-kid syndrome and the perfect score on an examination in an educational setting (arguably, perfect in the eyes of the instructor but nonetheless potentially biased). We contend that the first perspective of perfect is common and should seem obvious. In a perfect world,

Ben Jones is an industry enthusiast. He shares his perspectives each month through Boomer Blog and invites your feedback. He may be reached at boomerblog2@gmail.com.

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it would simply be considered the norm, the standard. But, the reality within an ever-growing flawed world is that what should be considered standard or a normal baseline is actually so rare that in a world-ofaverages it elevates to the level of perfect. We consider this to be average which makes us think, ‘Why isn’t everything like this? Why is it so hard to find simple elegance, service that is delivered happily and with a caring attitude, a typical pair of great fitting jeans or a casual independent restaurant with comfortable seating and a stimulating environment?’ Yet, most of us recognize that things such as these should just be exactly this way; good, maybe really good. But, when we encounter the comfortable restaurant, we say ‘Perfect!’ We say this with relief because we have finally found a place, a situation, or feeling that is exactly as it should be: simple, easy and good, but we proclaim it as perfect. We contend that consistent experiences shouldn’t be considered perfect. What Kay and I consider perfect is the type that takes your breath away and creates a wow, a surprise because you never expected this kind of perfect. You realize that it is nearly impossible to replicate. This kind of perfect is truly perfect and not easily imitated. This kind of perfection emanates from the soul, is created or discovered by exploring sometimes endless options; it is the by-product of evolution; it’s pushing through and past ‘good enough.’ And, we instinctively know it when we find it, because it simply feels… perfect. Perfect isn’t what it used to be but it’s still a worthy pursuit. Even though there are many situations where ‘good enough’ is the correct approach, we should recognize average as being just that…and being perfectly average simply isn’t good enough. ❖

Kay has spent much of her career providing financing solutions to small business owners to help convert dreams into reality. She has a keen interest in working with colleagues to develop exceptional communication and people skills.


PROFILE

LEADING THE

WAY

Stephanie Darby.

By Joan Taylor

Stephanie Darby steers the QubicaAMF marketing team into the future.

T

HE LEADER

There are many companies and people supporting the sport of bowling and the FEC and BEC business. One such company is QubicaAMF, and one special woman in a leadership position within the industry is Stephanie Darby, QubicaAMF’s Director of Marketing. While QubicaAMF is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018, Stephanie is celebrating her 18th year with the company. In 1999, she started as marketing coordinator with AMF Bowling Products. “AMF was the umbrella for bowling centers and bowling products,” Stephanie recalls. “I worked on the bowling equipment side.” In June of 2005, Stephanie saw the merging of Qubica and AMF Bowling Products. “Qubica was the bowling scoring and technology equipment leader: they were the pioneer behind the new and high tech innovative scoring systems. AMF was the leader in the the capital equipment business: lanes, pinspotters, the mix. Bringing these two together means we had the best-in-class product line. Qubica also brought mini bowling to the mix with Highway 66.” IBI

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FIRE SAFETY PAID CONTENT BY TEST FIRE PREVENTION AND MAINTENANCE

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PROFILE Stephanie thought the merger brought many technical benefits to both sides of the deal. “One of the biggest benefits of the merger was the combined Research and Development (R&D) team,” Stephanie says. “Qubica has a strong software development team and AMF has a strong electromechanical team. Today, we are the largest bowling equipment manufacturer in the industry.”

BOWL EXPO HONEYMOON? Stephanie moved to Atlanta with friends after graduating from James Madison University. The objective: find jobs. She worked in marketing for a couple of different companies. While living in Atlanta, Stephanie met Jeff Darby and decided it was a good time to move back to Richmond to be closer to her family. In 1999, she started working for AMF, and married Jeff in 2003. “Here’s a funny story about that,” she recalls. “I planned my wedding around Bowl Expo that year. But the following year, they moved Expo up a week, so I have spent most of my wedding anniversaries at Expo. This year they moved it back, partly because of Father’s Day and

The Darby family.

graduations, so we will be together for our 15th anniversary!” In her first two years with the company, Stephanie was a real team player, literally. “I bowled in an employee league my first two years. We had a Lunch and Bowl league.” When Stephanie went to graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University, got married, and had her children, the bowling league got pushed way

The new QubicAMFproduct Hyper Bowling.

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PROFILE

The new QubicAMFproduct Hyper Bowling.

proprietors, to drive new people into their centers. It combines bowling with a video game-type experience and levels the playing field. There are bumpers on the lanes with LED lighting inside the bumpers. The goal is to actually hit the bumper, and based on the color target you hit, there’s a multiplier. It’s not your traditional scoring. The graphics and animations on the screens are wildly different and engaging. We are trying to help proprietors bring people in for their first visit to their centers, or to help get repeat customers who will then not only enjoy this new game, but also take advantage of the food and beverages on site, and anything else that the center offers.”

the bottom of the entertainment list. That is not to say she does not bowl any more, though. “We bowl for fun as a family. Jeffrey, Jr. is 11 and William is 9. They love the shorter five-frame games, and they can use the bumpers. It’s great family time, and it’s done without (playing) electronics (on their devices).”

WHAT DOESN’T STEPHANIE DO AT QUBICAAMF? Stephanie’s leadership role at QubicaAMF is only growing. “My team and I are responsible for marketing communications, including advertising, public relations, trade shows and events, web direct marketing, and social media. We work with all of our internal organizations, providing the tools needed, and supporting our sales offices in the U.S. and around the world.” Stephanie tries to balance family life and her six to eight business trips a year, a number which seems to be on the rise. “Sometimes it’s close to one trip per month.” Typically she travels to the large trade shows; the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup; clients’ centers; and she travels to Italy for meetings with colleagues. Stephanie doesn’t mind the trips to HQ in Bologna because, she notes, “Bologna has the best food in the region, so it’s not a bad place to have to travel to!”

18 YEARS AND COUNTING What has made Stephanie stay with the company for 18 years? “First, it’s the people. It’s a great group of people here at QubicaAMF and within the industry. There are a lot of people I work with in the trade associations and trade magazines, and these relationships are great. I was an international business major with a focus on marketing. I love what I do. It’s different every day when I come to work. Things like the World Cup are just fantastic to be a part of. The team here is a group of innovative people. We are all trying to make a difference, continuing to make things better. There’s always something new on the horizon.” As if the current products and trade shows aren’t enough, Stephanie and her team launches yet another new product, HyperBowling, at Bowl Expo this year. “It’s a new product designed to expand the reach of bowling for 22

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With QubicaAMF’s constant research, development, and innovative products, it comes as no surprise that Stephanie looks to continue to perpetuate a long and happy career. ❖

Joan Taylor is a multi-award winning bowling writer based in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.


COVER STORY

Bowling in Las Vegas: The more it changes, the more it stays the same. By Jim Goodwin

W

Photo Courtesy of Randy Gulley

hat better way to learn how the bowling business is doing in Las Vegas than to talk with two veterans who have lived its history for a long time. Nowhere in America are so many large centers operating in the same market. Jerry Francomano is the director of operations for two of the centers owned by Stations Casinos: 60-lane Texas Star Lanes inside Texas Station; and 70-lane Strike Zone Lanes inside Sunset Station. Stations also owns 72-lane Red Rock Lanes inside Red Rock Casino, and 60-lane Santa Fe Bowling Center. Mike Kaufman is the director of bowling for Boyd Gaming, Nevada Region. He oversees the 70-lane Orleans Bowling Center inside the Orleans Casino, 56-lane Sam’s Town Bowling Center inside the Sam’s Town Casino, 70-lane Gold Coast Bowling Center inside Gold Coast Casino, and 64-lane Suncoast Bowling Center inside Suncoast Casino. Kaufman has been with Boyd since 1988, and Francomano joined Stations in 2000. These two gentlemen deserve a lot of credit for the success of Las Vegas bowling for the past few decades. They are competitors with two different companies, but they are also friends who regularly share insight and information about the business and enjoy an occasional golf game together.

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COVER STORY IBI: Gentlemen, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Tell us how you got started in Las Vegas, and talk a little about what the business was like when you started. g Mike Kaufman (MK): I remember when I came for my interview in 1988, I arrived late on a Friday night, and I went into Sam’s Town about 1 a.m., and the place was just jammed – on an hour waiting list at 1 in the morning. That was the bowling business in this town then – it was just gangbusters. But if I remember, we just had Sam’s Town, the Showboat, Charleston Heights, College Park, West Hills and El Rancho. It was a much simpler business then. We had a lot of leagues and we did a lot of sweepers out of the Los Angeles market. It was a very different dynamic back then. At that time, the Showboat, Sam’s Town, and El Rancho were very successful in hosting that business from Southern California. We were pretty much at capacity. We were just as full as we could be for a long time. g Jerry Francomano (JF): I arrived in Vegas in 2000, so this is my 19th year. It really is a pretty unique and funny story how I got here. I was in the pro shop business in New York, and I came out in June of 2000 for Bowl Expo and the IBPSIA conventions. We had the JP Hall of Fame Pro Shops in New York in Lake Grove. On the way out, I am reading the BJ magazine and on the cover is a photo of Bea Goodwin with Stations and Robert Paravia with The Orleans, and the article is about the explosion of bowling in Las Vegas. At that time, Coast Casinos was more involved, and Stations was just getting into it. There was a luncheon I was invited to with Sugar Ray Leonard because Sugar Ray was endorsing a bowling ball. I sat next to Sugar Ray on one side, and Bea Goodwin on the other. The only reason I sat there was because Bea’s husband couldn’t make it, so I got his seat. During the lunch, we talked, and I mentioned the article to Bea, and she said she had seen an article about me in Bowling Industry naming me pro shop operator of the decade for the 1990s. We were just making small talk. When lunch was over, Bea asked me if I knew anyone that was strong in bowling that might be willing to re-locate. I asked her if she had time to talk, and she invited me to Texas Station where she showed me the plan for Stations to grow, and in September, I was out here. Originally, I came out to develop the pro shops for Stations, but they ended up asking me to run the bowling center at Texas Station, and I’m still here. IBI: And you saw some pretty rapid growth in the next few years. g JF: I sure did. Sun Coast had just opened about that time in 2000, and we took over Santa Fe in October of 2000. Texas opened in December of 2000, and the game was on. I remember we still had a lot of late leagues on the floor, and open play was just phenomenal, especially at Texas, because it had all of the latest and greatest bells and whistles, and a cosmic show and Club Rev. People were given those little beepers so they could go up into the casino, and we would page them when we had their lane. It was a fun time. We opened

Sunset in 2004, and it had the same impact in drawing out bowlers who had not bowled in years. We opened Red Rock in 2007. Manager Dennis Matthews was there for both. Boy, have we put a lot of lane beds in this town since 2000, and it is still pretty strong even with all of these big new centers. g MK: What’s really incredible to me is that the weekends are still so busy. When you stop and think of the more than 600 lane beds available in town, it is inspiring to still see a strong demand for bowling. I think what people don’t realize is that when these operators build a 64-or 70-lane center, it is like two centers being built in a traditional market that normally would have a 24-or 32-lane center and here we have nine centers [with] 56 lanes or more. I think it says something about the popularity of bowling in this city when you can open centers of this size and still do very well with them.

g JF: Look at that 11-mile range between Red Rock and Santa Fe. We have dropped 252 new lanes in that area in 17 years, and we are still busy. We are still doing well. g MK: And consider that South Point is also in that mix, and they have the 64-lane center and the 60-lane arena. I think South Point opened in 2005, and they added the tournament plaza a couple of years ago. That is a lot of lane beds in a very short time. It also reflects the phenomenal population growth of this town. When I came here in ‘88, I think there were about 500,000 people. Now I think it is over 2 million. IBI: What are your best memories from your early days in Vegas? g MK: I think it would have to be the popularity of the professional tournaments – LPBT, PWBA, the PBA from its days at the Showboat until now. The popularity of all IBI

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COVER STORY for our local and destination customers. Due to the size and location of our centers, we have a demand for destination events, so we do whatever we can to facilitate those events because they also have an impact on other areas of the property. The locals are pretty understanding. We offer a good price point and product and I think they understand that it’s due in part to the value that the bowling centers provide to the properties when hosting destination events. We have situations when we have to bye leagues for a tournament and they may miss a week, but, for the most part, they are pretty understanding. The lanes at Red Rock.

events was special. There was tremendous support from the locals and destination customers who came in not only to spectate but to also participate in the pro ams. For me, the LPBT years were really something, and at times pretty exhausting. At one point, I think we had something like six televised events at Sam’s Town in one 12-month period. We did a lot of events there. g JF: I think the amazing growth is my best memory – just watching these beautiful centers go up and get going. I’ll never forget going down that escalator to see our center at Texas for the first time when it was finished. It was just dirt when I got here, and I was amazed. In October, it was just dirt, and they are telling me it is going to be done with all of the bells and whistles in December. I’m thinking, ‘Yeah right!’ [But] by golly, they got it done! To this day, when I go down that escalator, it is like going into Yankee Stadium — you go through the Bronx, go in to the stadium, and all of a sudden, there is this beautiful, lush, green baseball field. Red Rock is our newest shining star without a doubt. When Sunset was built, it was modeled after Texas, and you get the same feeling in both places. And then when we built Red Rock, it incorporated all of the little extras and details and tweaks that we wished we had done at the other two, so it has become our flagship center. It is the only center in Vegas with a 12-lane private bowling lounge for VIP parties. IBI: How do you balance your locals and leagues with all of the special events? g MK: It is tough sometimes. I think what you need to understand is that the bowling centers are amenities to the properties, and we are very fortunate to have companies who invest a lot of money in those centers to provide a quality product 26

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g JF: The manager that has the biggest challenge with that is Dennis Matthews at Red Rock, with all of the corporate buyouts and special events, and he handles it just like Mike said. We try to have all of that stuff in line before leagues start so there are no surprises. Back East, we bowled when the weather was cold. Here, we have the whole year to work with, so it is a little easier. We also try to coordinate with each other for major events, and if we can’t handle something, we send it to another place. It has been a good working relationship with us with major events – USBC and others. We communicate as much as we can, because getting them to Vegas helps all of us, and that includes the folks at South Point as well. ‘Heads in beds’ is what it is all about. IBI: What is the biggest change in recent years? g JF: What has kind of changed is that we don’t see as many bowlers come out to bowl action like we once did, like in the Gold Coast masking units have the classic Las Vegas feel.


COVER STORY High Roller or the Eliminators, or others. I miss seeing guys like Chris Barnes and Rudy Revs and so many more. That has fallen off for a number of reasons. But who knows, maybe someday it may come back. Looking at it like a New York kid who might want to bowl in those types of events, there are some good memories. And there was always a dual reason for coming out. We loved to bowl, but we also loved the dice tables, and the blackjack tables, and all of the rest. Gambling was a big part of it, but now, those guys can gamble in their own neighborhood in almost every state, so maybe they just don’t save up for that big trip to Vegas every year.

And we have the VIP room at Red Rock that does some very elaborate corporate and private parties. We do more corporate parties, more than any of us ever thought we would do. Some of our new scoring systems even have some special features for hourly and package bowling, so we are learning like everybody else. If you look at it just from a business point of view, it would be great if everybody bowled by time, because then we would know when we would get that lane back to sell to the next customer. But if you just buy a couple of games, we don’t know if you will take 30 minutes or two hours to bowl – you may wander down to the sports book in the middle of a game, so especially in peak times, it makes sense to sell time bowling.

g MK: I agree. We had the International Eliminator Tournament at Sam’s Town for five years, along with the Mini Eliminator and High Roller. All of them did very well for many years, but after September 11, 2001, it was different. We dropped the International Eliminator not long after 9-11 because bowlers were just not comfortable with flying, especially the international players. IBI: The trend in bowling is the FEC model, and perhaps Vegas led that charge. These centers are the ultimate FECs, including the newest movie+bowl concept. Do you have packages with timed bowling, or corporate parties, and do you cross-promote with your movie theaters? g MK: We do some packages, and those are usually by time, but for the most part, we still sell bowling by the game, because it still works well for us. I think Jerry’s centers do more time bowling than we do. For years and years, we have marketed to those coming in for movies, and we have been very successful. g JF: And there is another amenity that is upgrading the product by putting in food and fancy seats and game rooms to meet the demands of these young customers who have money to spend. IBI

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COVER STORY IBI: Are your centers still getting much graveyard business? g JF: No. All of our centers used to run 24 hours, but now they all have closing times. g MK: Here at the Orleans and at Sam’s Town, we are still open 24 hours, but Gold Coast and Sun Coast are not. IBI: What is your percentage of league bowlers? g MK: Overall ours is about 24-25%. g JF: Ours is 23-27%. It’s that percentage of revenue. IBI: Are tournaments still a big part of your business? g JF: Yes, we do USBC, PBA, and I’ll never forget that 50th Tournament of Champions at Red Rock when Kelly Kulick won. We do TNBA Nationals [which] we share between the two companies. g MK: Yes, we still do quite a few tournaments, like the Golden Ladies event. As I mentioned earlier, there is still a demand for tournaments in Vegas, so we look at the event and determine the potential overall benefit to the property. With more demand for convention housing space, we need to be cognizant of when we position tournaments in relation to other events that may be taking place in town during that time. With gaming expanding throughout the United States, more attention is paid to other revenue streams within the properties when considering tournaments. IBI: We will never forget that 49-cent breakfast at Smoky Joe’s Café at Sam’s Town when the LPBT was there, but it is getting more difficult to find food bargains these days in Vegas. Do you agree? g JF: It is changing. Food is an important part of the revenue today. MGM recently ran a national ad advertising their property and Vegas, and nowhere in the ad was the mention of any kind of gaming. It was all about food and entertainment and the hotel. That says a lot. Just look at the number of high profile chefs that are here now – Gordon Ramsey, Wolfgang Puck and many more. It is amazing. g MK: I think what we have seen in Las Vegas over the years is the ability of operators to adapt to changing social and economic trends and then do it in such a way that it is hard for any other market to compete with on what Las 30

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Vegas has to offer in an overall entertainment experience. As Jerry said, there is more of an emphasis on hotel, food, and entertainment as opposed to the gaming aspect of the business. IBI: We may no longer have Mega Buck Tournaments in Vegas, but you still operate mega centers, and these big places provide a lot of jobs. How is your staffing done compared to a traditional center? g MK: Our staffing is much different than a traditional center. What you have to understand is that when you talk about the bowling center, you actually have five other departments involved in the day-to-day operations. The only bowling center [designated] staff are the desk attendants and the mechanics. Internal maintenance staffs the porters, snack bar and bar team members are staffed by the F&B department, and the engineering department assists with any maintenance other than on the pinsetters and lanes. g JF: Yes, we might have 30 people working in the center during a given day, but maybe only 15 of them are on our center payroll. IBI: Have you seen an increase in security based on what has been happening in recent times? g JF: I don’t know if it has increased or just that it seems to be more visible. I know in my company the security people do a great job and they are very physical. By that I mean that they are not in the back of the house, they stay on the floor, in the parking garages, everywhere. They are easy to see, and we like that. They may have a couple more now, but I don’t think it has changed that much, they always did a good job, and they still do.


COVER STORY g JF: I love it because I don’t have to shovel sun! I don’t play when it gets that hot. I have friends that visit, and they go out to play and come back dragging. g MK: It doesn’t bother me as much because I came here from Arizona. And most of the year it is not actually that hot. IBI: Do you see more VIP lounges going in the other places like the one at Red Rock?

Red Rock Lanes at Red Rock Casino and Resort.

g MK: It is the same here. I think it has always been a priority simply because of the nature of the business. They are very good at what they do. IBI: Where does the Vegas bowling business go from here in the next five years? g MK: If you had asked me in 2013 what Las Vegas would look like in five years, I don’t think I, or others, would have imagined that we would have the Raiders coming to Vegas, a new NHL hockey team, or major league soccer. In this town, when you try to predict what will happen in five years, it is almost impossible because of how ever-changing this market is. IBI: But what about bowling? g MK: Bowling will always be a part of it, but what it will look like is anyone’s guess. It has been an iconic part of this town for so long that it’s hard to imagine that it would not be in the future as well. g JF: If we could see five years ahead, I think we might see more involvement with food and beverage, more packages available for this new generation that seems to want everything and want it now. We will get more in tune with them. IBI: They seem to have more money? g JF: I think they do, and sometimes cost is not much of a factor. I can see a time when a customer comes in and they don’t touch anything. We will have a host that gets them shoes and finds them a ball, puts their names into the scorers, takes their food and beverage orders – everything. We have some of that now in places like the lounges, but I can see that becoming the norm. IBI: It seems like you both love living here? Is it because you can play golf in the 110 degree heat? 32

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g MK: I’m not sure. There have been a couple of boutique venues in town that were not successful for various reasons. We looked at it here at the Orleans, but we have events that require all 70 lanes so it would have to be a modular application where we would have the ability to transform the space into a boutique setting or leave it as traditional bowling. The cost of retrofitting a space for such an application becomes cost prohibitive as opposed to incorporating such a concept in the initial building phase of a project. g JF: We have looked at it the same way. The food and beverage part of it is huge, and it takes a lot to make it work. g MK: The food is the driver in those types of operations and it is hard to get the price point that you need to justify the cost outlay especially in some of the local market areas. g JF: I think in all of our places — Boyd, Stations, South Point — they are family friendly. They are community places. In this town, that is real important. What do I do here that I can do with my kids? Bowling is maybe the best choice. How many times can they go to the movies? I think with the hockey team we may see more ice rinks pop up. ❖

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.


DATA MARKETING

PAID CONTENT BY

CHANGE THE GAME—HOW TO MONETIZE YOUR KIDS BOWL FREE DATA WITH FETCHREV “So, when are we coming back?” It’s six little words that mean so much in the mind and heart of every business owner from Tempe to Tallahassee, and everywhere in between. A universal sign that when spoken by a fledgling fun seeker immediately conjures up visions of a customer who will grow with you through the years, from gutter guards to perfect games. At FetchRev, we can help get you there. With the names and email addresses collected through KidsBowlFree.com, our objective is to transform this data into revenuegenerating opportunities by sending targeted, simple-topurchase or claim offers when people are looking to visit your center for the first time (or their first time in a while). It’s our patented and proven platform to getting customers back through your doors, spending repeatedly and predictably for the long run. With that said, let’s step up to the line and take a good hard look at how we monetize your data and keep your customers coming back for more strikes, more parties, and more moments to be shared on social media for many years to come.

1

Thumbs Up: Increasing Your Facebook Likes

While the task may be impossible to put a monetary value on a single Facebook Like, the clear truth is that the more tuned-in a fan is to the day-to-day goings-on of your business, the more likely they are to want to visit it for themselves. Get your fans invested with quality content and regular Facebook-exclusive specials, and you gain an inner circle of customers who love staying in the know—and 34

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taking advantage of digital deals. Converting emails collected through KidsBowlFree.com into fans for your bowling center is as easy as sending an automated email through the FetchRev platform that asks them simply to “like” your page. Sweeten the deal by providing an incentive or reward for becoming a fan.

2

Give the People What They Want: Purchasable and Claimable Offers

The most intuitive and direct way to turn your KidsBowlFree data into tangible revenue is through emailexclusive discounts. The “Buy Now” purchasable offer is FetchRev’s lifeline, providing a simple path to purchase with a simple, three-step, buying process. Your task is to create a special that’s both clear and compelling—with enough creativity to stand out in an inbox full of online offers and deals. We recommend discounting services or providing an added value at no less than 30% off your regular price, as well as utilizing package deals such as two hours of bowling, shoe rental, and a large pizza for groups. While purchasable offers tend to result in lower rates of conversion and higher rates of redemption, a more certain way to see your click rates skyrocket is by employing a FetchRev coupon campaign. Claiming these kinds of discounts requires no payment up front, putting the decision in customers’ courts to come in and redeem, all while our software automatically sends them redemption reminders over email. A coupon campaign is a good way to cast a wide net, and then watch as the most interested and dedicated customers walk back through your doors to cash in their discount.


SLUG?

3

Icing on the Cake: Utilizing Birthday Data

Maybe it’s all the cake or the encouragement to treat ourselves around our birthdays, but customers are statistically more likely to spend money to celebrate their special day than other dates. Acquiring children’s birth dates is a crucial factor in any bowling alley’s marketing plan that hosts parties. The KidsBowlFree.com form asks, but does not require, parents to fill in their youngsters’ birthdays—but if that piece of data is missing, it’s easy to follow up. Send a FetchRev date collector campaign to the email addresses missing birth dates, nudging customers to join the Birthday Club in exchange for a special deal on their child’s birthday. Once you have adequate birthday data on your customers, you can begin sending out a number of email campaigns to encourage parents to spend. Many of our clients have enjoyed success from “Buy Now, Book Later” party package deals, sent out 45 days prior to the child’s birthday. These deals allow you to collect birthday party money and to work with parents well in advance to schedule

and plan a memorable experience, significantly increasing the number of birthdays you book. Another option is to send a “Last Chance” email seven days before the child’s birthday with a discounted service—such as 50% off one hour of bowling—providing extra incentive to buy.

4

Spot On: Refining Your Communications with Targeted Offers

How—and how often—customers engage and interact with your emails helps set the tone for a strong marketing strategy. With the customer data gathered through KidsBowlFree, or even systems like our Wi-Fi hotspot offering, you now have in your possession the ideal starting point for sending personalized, targeted follow-up campaigns through FetchRev. Mastering the art of the first impression represents a spark of opportunity to start things off right with your list by sending an offer that’s both irresistible and relevant to their interests. Additionally, FetchRev automatically collects data on responsiveness to birthday/anniversary campaigns, reviews generators and coupons to simplify your segmentation process and grow your existing customer list.

Does all of this sound like it’s right up your alley? The above is just the tip of the iceberg of what we have to offer and how we can best assist you to safely and successfully convert your Kids Bowl Free and other customer data into quality customers destined to come back through your doors repeatedly. Visit our website at www.fetchrev.com or reach out for a demo at (877) 394-2410 today. IBI

July 2018

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SHOWCASE MUST-HAVE TOOLS FOR BECS

Whether you are new to debit card systems or looking to upgrade your current Point of Sale or Redemption Management Solution, Embed’s range of products and services have been created with operators’ needs in mind. Powering the most advanced debit card readers on the market, TOOLKIT is a comprehensive suite that increases revenue and operating efficiency and reduces costs. Its simple and clean interface is intuitive and easy to master for you and your key team members. Embed’s smartTouch family of readers can take your business to a whole new level. All models support Playwave™ contactless and have recently gained new touchscreen functions, including the ability for guests to check balances on any reader. Learn more at www.embedcard.com.

EASY E-SHOPPING

Managing orders for parts and supplies for your center doesn’t have to be frustrating. There is now a better way to buy! QubicaAMF introduces eShop, where ordering your parts and center supplies just got amazingly easy. The QubicaAMF eShop offers easy ways to find the parts you need quickly, ensure they’re the right parts, and manage your purchases efficiently. Get started today by visiting qubicaamf.com/eshop.

HOT NEW GAME

A GAME OF TIMING

Bay Tek Games has introduced its latest and most unique redemption game, Squiggle. A mechanical game, Squiggle boasts a vertical presence and an exciting appearance that demands attention in any game room without taking up a huge footprint. Timing is everything with the drop of the yellow ball. It is unlike anything in the field. With its glowing, irresistibly oversized button, animated lighting, and engaging sound package, Squiggle will keep players dropping by for more. Also, a do-over is allowed if the player misses completely. For more information or to order, call (920) 822-3951 or sales@baytekgames.com.

Fireball is Benchmark’s “hottest” new redemption game that has been shipping since February, and the units in production runs have been reserving quickly! Operators are drawn to its modern presentation and profitable quick play formula, plus players enjoy having more skillful control of the game play. Fireball is a reimagining of a previous Benchmark ball drop concept with fiery neon graphics, eye-catching black light effects, and a new skill stop feature. This allows players to stop the rotating wheel and time the ball drop, or vice versa, to earn displayed ticket values or win the bonus. It measures: 33” wide; 40” deep; 82” high. For more information, call (561) 253-3300 or go to www.Benchmarkgames.com.

CLUSTER SEATING

ON-LANE ORDERING

New Center Consulting Inc., 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.

The bowling industry’s iconic, self-retracting cluster seating is back and better than ever before! Brunswick’s Center Stage furniture line now offers the refreshed Swing & Swivel seating, featuring a new chair design, technology integration, and contemporary color and material options to cater to the expectations of today’s bowlers. A perfect complement to Center Stage’s soft seating, the Swing & Swivel is a maximized seating solution with a small footprint, equipped with charging ports and the option to have the Sync Scoring & Management System monitor affixed to the table top for easy access. More information: www.brunswickbowling.com. 38

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FEATURE

A Trip Down

MEMORY LANE Ted Baer and J.C. Cramer preserve bowling history at their Omaha Bowling Museum.

By Mark Miller very year, Jason Milligan thoroughly tests and eventually approves hundreds of bowling balls as part of his job with the USBC equipment specifications department. Brian Hirsch, a member of the International Bowling Media Association (IBMA) board of directors, and a member of several bowling equipment manufacturing staffs, is a self-admitted lover of bowling balls of all types. As many bowling balls as they’ve seen through the years, one would think these two would not easily be impressed with the sight of more. But one visit last year to the Memory Lane Bowling Museum outside Omaha, NE, left both men nearly speechless. “This is ridiculous,” said Milligan after touring the place located in a mid-1960s-era shopping mall southeast of the city in Bellevue. “The word wow does no justice to this place,” emphasized Hirsch after just a short time ogling the large display of spheres, old and new. Coowned by Omaha businessmen and avid bowlers Ted Baer and J.C. Cramer, Memory Lane – otherwise known as the Omaha Bowling Museum – may be the largest, privately-held collection of bowling memorabilia anywhere. The items displayed consume a large room in the Southroads Mall owned by Baer and originally by his late father Alan. “We call it ‘our collection that we put out,’ ” said Baer, a member of the Nebraska, Omaha, and Council Bluffs, IA, bowling halls of fame and Omaha Sports and Hockey halls of fame. “We love to show

E

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it off. But we’re at that weird level of what are we going to do? We need to do something because people really need to know about it.” If you don’t know where it is, you would never know it was there. There’s no signage outside the large, mostly empty mall. Word-of-mouth is what spreads the gospel of the collection. Special events like the one during the 2015 USBC Convention, which Milligan and Hirsh attended, expand the museum’s reach. of the Ted Baer poses with some

Bowling memorabilia at the Omaha

Museum.


FEATURE The origins of Memory Lane date to 1993-1995 when Baer and Cramer began separately collecting old bowling balls – Baer in Omaha and Cramer in his native Detroit. It was one evening about a decade later when Cramer was showing off a Brunswick Crown Jewel to some of his bowling friends that Baer approached him. “This guy walks up and says ‘Hey, you collect balls?’ and I said ‘Yeah,’” Cramer recalled. “He said ‘That’s one of my favorites.’ I said, ‘That’s nice.’ He said, ‘I’ll trade you two balls for that one ball.’ To a guy from Detroit, the ball must be worth a million dollars if he’s willing to give you two for just one. I said, ‘No, not interested.’ He said, ‘How about three balls?’ I said, ‘You can give me 20, and I’m not going to trade it.’ ” Soon thereafter they visited each other’s homes to see their entire collections. While Baer’s stock of 150-200 balls looked like the back of a pro shop, Cramer’s 100 or so looked like the front, neatly displayed on special shelving he had built in his basement. Plus Cramer had accumulated other memorabilia like multiple sets of pins, some old wooden benches, even a pinsetter. Cramer ended up trading the Crown Jewel straight up for a prized Manhattan rubber ball and a friendship and partnership blossomed. Between 2009-2010, each had accumulated between 300 and 400 balls. Not only did it make it difficult to find and show off any one artifact, their wives wanted their basements back. Since Baer owned the mall and had plenty of available space, he decided to move his collection there, with Cramer agreeing to do the same. But that only created an empty room with boxes of hundreds of bowling balls everywhere. Thus the idea of a museum was developed. “We were trying to figure out how to display these things because we had so many of them,” Baer said. “We have a lot of doubles. We probably have 1,000 42

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unique undrilled bowling balls out right now and about 90%+ of them are pre-urethane.” Among those are a vintage 1930s or 1940s wooden Mineralite ball. “Once we got here, it expanded,” Baer added. “We were able to add machines and tele-scores and wood benches from bowling centers. We have pinball machines and pretty much anything that was bowling related, including old ball returns. We didn’t have anywhere to put them. When we first opened, we thought we’ll never get this thing full. Now we need more room.” “It was fun after that,” Cramer said. “It’s great when you have a partner who tries to one-up the other guy. Only Ted’s hard to one-up, though I’ve gotten him a few times.” Through their museum, the duo has been visited by famous bowlers including Mike Aulby, Parker Bohn III, Steve Cook, Dave Soutar, and Sam Zurich, many of whom send items to Omaha. They’ve also accumulated pieces from the personal collections of hall of famers like Dick Weber, Don Johnson, and Mike Berlin. There’s even an old working pro shop display but neither Baer nor Cramer know how to drill balls. Weber’s family insisted on a good portion of his collectables be moved to Omaha, including Weber’s name banner once displayed at PBA events, and numerous trophies, such as the one he won in his first professional tournament in 1955,


FEATURE ironically in Omaha. Also featured are the last ball Weber used on tour and a bowling pin signed by famed actor Ricardo Montalban. “I’ve known the Weber family forever,” Baer said. “They are the nicest people I know. Rich Weber told me to come over. He had heard about the museum. “It’s not only the physical stuff, but trusting us to bring it to a good home. It’s always here if they ever want it back. It’s priceless stuff that deserves to be in a museum. Some of the trophies are huge.” Baer is a life-long-bowling and sports fan. “I love bowling. I love everything about the sport. I went to a birthday party when I was 7 and fell in love with it. I shot 9 my first score. This was way before bumpers. I just fell in love with it right away.” Baer, 56, bowled junior leagues until age 15 then moved up to the adult ranks. He bowled his first American Bowling Congress/USBC championships in 1976 in Oklahoma City and his most recent in Reno, NV, in 2011. “I grew up at West Lanes on 72nd and Dodge,” Baer said. “I remember going into every bowling center which had that lacquer smell. I always thought it was funny they had Brunswick A-2 pinsetters, and I remember how different they sounded from the AMFs.” Baer’s father, Alan, opened Southroads Mall in 1965 and later owned two or three other malls. The family owned the Omaha/River City Lancers hockey team from 1987-2004 and Tri-City Storm based in Kearney, NE, from 2000-2006. Baer’s greatgreat grandfather, Jonas Brandeis, founded the Boston Store department store that later led to the J.L. Brandeis & Sons department store which Alan owned until 1987 when he sold it to Younkers, another department store chain. A PBA member since 2000, Baer currently serves as first vice president of the Omaha Bowling Association whose office is next door to Memory Lane. The 48-year-old Cramer, owner of Telemax Teleservices, an Omaha-based telemarketing business and owner of several buildings and a popcorn store at the Omaha airport, also is a long-time bowler. He competed in the prestigious Michigan Majors series against the likes of John Mazza, Harry Sullins, and Larry Walker. Both the right-handed Baer and left-handed Cramer have 44

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bowled in leagues and tournaments around Omaha for years. Baer has averaged as high as the 230s with more than 40 perfect games and series as high as 842. Cramer has 14 perfect games and an 829 best series. He’s competed in 24 USBC nationals plus 27 Petersen Classics. Now that they have Memory Lane well organized, Baer and Cramer are hoping to expand so they can show off even more of their collection. They have two more rooms in the mall completely full of additional items not on display and hope to open another wall to be able to show off more items focusing on the PBA. They’d especially love to get their hands on some of the outrageous clothing worn by Ernie Schlegel, Guppy Troup and Wayne Webb. “We’d like to be more hands-on. Our goal is to sometime have an actual working lane,” Baer said. “We have a long way to go. It’s just J.C. and I paying for this. You have your shoot-for-the-moon wish list. We just want to continue it. It’s the thrill of the hunt.” Though they secretly know how much their collection is worth, neither Baer nor Cramer want to sell anything. They will, however, trade duplicates for things they don’t have. “Our biggest joy is showing it off to people, especially the older people,” Cramer said. “If you’re 50 or older, you almost cry going into that place because you see balls you threw and maybe you had a 300 games or meeting somebody whether it was a pot game or a tour event. The stories we get out of these guys are endless.” Want to see Memory Lane? You’ll need to make an appointment since it’s not open without one. Just visit omahabowlingmuseum.net or call 402-552-1009 to set it up. It will be time well-spent. ❖

Mark Miller is a freelance writer, editor, and public relations specialist from Flower Mound, TX. He's the author of Bowling: America's Greatest Indoor Pastime available at Amazon.com or directly from him at markmywordstexas@gmail.com.


DATEBOOK

JULY

SEPTEMBER

17-19 BPAA Bowling University Management School Toftrees Golf Resort State College, PA

West Coast Bowling Convention Reno, NV (925) 485-1855 sandit@norcalbowling.com

30-31 BCA of Florida Seminar & BOD Hammock Beach Resort Palm Coast, FL Chris Gallas chris@bpaa.com

AUGUST 2-5 Pro Shop Training Classes Jayhawk Bowling Supply Russ or Alex (800) 255-6436

7-8 LaserTAG360 Creative Works www.lasertag360.com sales@thewoweffect.com

8 Nebraska State BPA Annual Meeting TBD Chris Gallas chris@bpaa.com

22-23 Trainertainment Advanced Sales BPAA Training Campus, Arlington, TX Trainertainment.net (817) 886-4840

IBI

DECEMBER 6-9 Pro Shop Training Classes Jayhawk Bowling Supply Russ or Alex (800) 255-6436

23-25

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 klm@sbcglobal.net BPAA One-Day Management Boot Camps Available to state associations & multi-unit centers

8-9 BCA of Florida Annual Meeting Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club Palm Harbor, FL Chris Gallas chris@bpaa.com

Upcoming Management Boot Camps:

July: Missouri, Skip Merryman, (817) 385-8446 Pennsylvania, Chris Gallas Ohio, Lewis Sims, (419) 935-1394

22-24 East Coast Bowling Center Convention Kalahari Resort – Poconos www.bpaa.com IBI

Idaho, Skip Merryman

September: Louisiana, Marc Pater, (225) 925-5471

11-12 TrainerTainment Business Coaching BPAA Training Campus, Arlington, TX Trainertainment.net (817) 886-4840 IBI

48

IBI July 2018

Contact Kelly Bednar (817) 385-8462 Kelly@bpaa.com

Official magazine of the convention


CLASSIFIEDS

3

EASY WAYS

to place your Classified Ad in International Bowling Industry Magazine

Call (818) 789-2695

Fax (818) 789-2812

E-mail

your ad to:

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CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE LARGE INVENTORY USED EQUIPMENT: 16 lanes synthetic panels, foulline forward; 60 lanes, pindecks; 40 lanes Steltronic auto scoring, “Focus”; or 24 lanes Steltronic auto scoring, “Wins”; or 60 lanes Qubica auto scoring. Will separate all and/or sell parts. Conversion boards for flat screen conversion, for any brand; 40 lanes Vantage or Brunswick GLO swing seating, very nice; ZOT belt-drive “ball kickers”; 16 or 24-lane pkg, completely modernized & beautiful, will relocate to your location; could include Laser Tag. knotritellc@gmail.com. Looking for affordable automatic scoring?! Email knotritellc@gmail.com. We might have the ANSWER for you. NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com. REPAIR & EXCHANGE. Call for details (248) 375-2751.

SELL YOUR CENTER (818) 789-2695

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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.

MECHANIC WANTED 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 david@shorelanesbowling.com.

EDUCATION & TRAINING PRO SHOP TRAINING. Classes always forming. Jayhawk Bowling Supply (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com.

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BOWLINGFAN

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. FLORIDA: Central. Attractive, mid-sized center with revenues trending up. Owner retiring. Call David Driscoll (352) 735-8065. AMF and some BRUNSWICK PC board repair/exchange. 6-month warranty, fast turnaround. Call or write: WB8YJF Service 5586 Babbitt Road, New Albany, Ohio 43054 Toll Free: 888-902-BOWL (2695) Ph./Fax: (614) 855-3022 (Jon) E-mail: wb8yjf@sbcglobal.net Visit us on the WEB! http://home.earthlink.net/~wb8yjf/


CLASSIFIEDS

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CLASSIFIEDS 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

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

SEL L

BUY

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 - daryl@tuckerbowling.com

www.tuckerbowling.com

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CLASSIFIEDS

TECHNICIAN NEEDED QubicaAMF, the world’s largest bowling equipment provider, is seeking a technician wanting to take their skills to the next level by joining our Technical Support team located in Richmond, Virginia. We are seeking a self-motivated professional with excellent communication skills, who pays attention to details, is a great listener and technical troubleshooter.

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! SELL YOUR CENTER

(818) 789-2695

All Keys done by code # Locks and Master Keys E-mail: huff@inreach.com TOLL FREE

1-800-700-4539

The ideal candidate will have practical knowledge on lanes, ball returns and scoring equipment and working knowledge of pinspotters and/or pinsetters. They will know safety procedures and standards of bowling equipment. Can easily troubleshoot, identify and suggest repairs and/or replacements of malfunctioning bowling equipment. This position will be will be responsible for answering incoming calls for customers, conducting comprehensive assessments of issues, troubleshooting and providing solutions to challenges. We offer a competitive compensation package which includes medical and a 401K plan. If you have the desire to work for the market leader in the industry, please send your resume along with a cover letter detailing your experience to Peggy Martin at pmartin@qubicaamf.us.

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REMEMBER WHEN

1956

“Oh boy. What a beer!”

T

he two Bs—beer and bowling. But for the National Brewing Co., in Baltimore, MD, and all those beer drinkers in the Chesapeake Bay region, it was “Natty Boh” or “National Boh”, otherwise known as National Bohemian Beer. See that little on-eyed, handlebar-mustachioed gentleman in the right lower corner? He is Mr. Boh and has been the mascot for Natty Boh since 1936. In 1950, Dawson Farber, VP of marketing, was asked why Mr. Boh only had one eye. “No idea,” was the answer. In 1956, when this ad ran, bowling was on the rise: ABC membership was 2,225,000; WIBC boasted 764,456; ad YABA had 131,255 members. The conversation of our two bowlers is a little oblique but certainly energetic. One thing is for certain, they love their beer, and they love their night out bowling. ❖ - Patty Heath

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IBI July 2018 Issue  
IBI July 2018 Issue