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CONTENTS

VOL 28.7

6 RESOURCE GUIDE

42 IN MY OWN WORDS

IBI’s new section on business resources

Keeping Attractions Exclusive

By Patty Heath

Is the out-of-home experience unique to our FEC and BEC businesses in jeopardy? By Jim Kessler

12 SHORTS

22

• A shout-out to Bowl-Easy in the Netherlands • CARES Act • Hownd vouchers • A new LASERTRON install • Center activity across the U.S. • ZOT’s ColorSplash and antimicrobial benefits

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

PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager frager@bowlingindustry.com Skype: scottfrager

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER David Garber garber@bowlingindustry.com

OFFICE MANAGER Patty Heath heath@bowlingindustry.com

CONTRIBUTORS Fred Groh Patty Heath Evan Henerson Jim Kessler Cameron Linder

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jackie Fisher fisher@bowlingindustry.com

56 A TALE OF REOPENING Opening Day Report Olympia Lanes, a 40-lane center in Hammond, IN, opens to long lines and a reduced capacity house

By Patty Heath

By Cameron Linder

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

www.BowlingIndustry.com

HOTLINE: 818-789-2695 22

32

Feature Open-Door Policy

76 REMEMBER WHEN

The grass roots fight to open bowling centers in four states

Remember? By Patty Heath

By Fred Groh

32 COVER STORY

60 Showcase

Bibbidi! Bobbidi! Bowl!

72 Classifieds

Proprietor and bowling’s fairy godmother, Elaine Brumberg, grants wishes and turns frowns upside down By Evan Henerson

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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 $60 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, P.O. Box 7350 Overland Park, KS 66207 USA. If possible, please furnish address mailing label. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright 2020, B2B Media, Inc. No part of this magazine may be reprinted without the publisher’s permission.

MEMBER AND/OR SUPPORTER OF:



RESOURCE

AMUSEMENT RECOVERY WEBSITE A collection of leaders in the bowling/FEC entertainment industry have come together in the interest of helping operators endure the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown and to help create a plan for post-virus success. Amusement Recovery is a website combining informational resources to help small businesses. “We want to help the amazing operators in this industry,” commented Armando Lanti, president of Creative Works. “The contributors who created the website are working together to continually add new, timely content to the website. We want to share new information with business owners as quickly as possible, which is crucial because of how fast the pandemic situation is evolving.” Here are many of the companies and organizations who have contributed to this website: AAMA, Amusement Products, Betson, CenterEdge Software, Concepts Performance Management, Creative Works, Delta Strike, Embed, FEG Group, Hologate, Laser Blast, Laserforce, Mini Melts, Party Center Software, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Player Once Amusement Group, QubicaAMF, Redemption Plus, Shaffer Distributing Company, Sureshot Redemption, and TrainerTainment. Visit amusementrecovery.com to start learning today. www.AmusementRecovery.com

QubicaAMFʼs Reopening Marketing Kit Reopening is upon us and QubicaAMF has released a marketing kit for centers to use during the transition. The Welcome Back to Bowling marketing kit includes social posts, monitor ads, email templates, labels, outdoor signage, checklists, and a Venue Reopening Guide outlining operational considerations and best practices for centers. The kit is available for download for free and will continue to be updated: www.qubicaamf.com/support/center-reopening-marketing-kit. In addition, the QubicaAMF technical support team is available to assist centers with free reopening technical support: www.qubicaamf.com/scheduletechsupport. Further, there is the complete QubicaAMF Resource Center: www.qubicaamf.com/support. www.qubicaamf.com

FEC SLACK CHANNEL TO FOSTER SUPPORT A Slack channel has been created for use by owners, operators, and other key players in the FEC industry to share knowledge, best practices, and ideas during and after the COVID-19 crisis. It has grown to include nearly 200 participants around the world since its creation at the beginning of the pandemic. Thereʼs a channel featuring industry news and events, a channel for FEC professionals to become introduced to each other, a channel for specific needs and requests, and, a robust channel specific to COVID-19. Founding member Christine Buhr, former owner and president of Shakers Fun Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, shared, “Thereʼs a clear need for this new way for all of us to stay in touch with each other, share a variety of ideas, and, candidly, sometimes commiserate a bit about many of the issues weʼre all struggling with now and working hard to address.” In order to join, an interested participant only needs to provide their name, business name, a little background on the business, and a brief statement about the help theyʼre seeking. Visit: fecinternational.org to request to participate. www.fecinternational.org 6

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F Te ree R ch nic eop al eni Su ng pp ort

WE’RE HERE FOR YOU WHEN YOU NEED US tŚŝůĞ ƚŚŝŶŐƐ ŵĂLJ ďĞ ĐŚĂŶŐŝŶŐ Ăůů ĂƌŽƵŶĚ ƵƐ͕ ǁĞ ĂƌĞ ƐƟůů ŚĞƌĞ for you when you need us. Our technical support team is available ƚŽ ĂƐƐŝƐƚ LJŽƵ ĂƐ LJŽƵ ƚƌĂŶƐŝƟŽŶ ƚŽ ƌĞŽƉĞŶ͘ /Ĩ LJŽƵ ǁŽƵůĚ ůŝŬĞ ƚŽ ƐĐŚĞĚƵůĞ Ă ĨƌĞĞ ĐĂůů͕ ĂƐŬ ƋƵĞƐƟŽŶƐ Žƌ ŐĞƚ ĂƐƐŝƐƚĂŶĐĞ during your reopening, contact us at ŚƩƉƐ͗ͬ​ͬǁǁǁ͘ƋƵďŝĐĂĂŵĨ͘ĐŽŵͬƐĐŚĞĚƵůĞƚĞĐŚƐƵƉƉŽƌƚ ĚĚŝƟŽŶĂůůLJ͕ ǁĞ ĞŶĐŽƵƌĂŐĞ LJŽƵ ƚŽ ƌĞǀŝĞǁ ŽƵƌ Reopening Checklist for best ƉƌĂĐƟĐĞƐ ŽŶ ŚŽǁ ƚŽ ƚƵƌŶ LJŽƵƌ ĞƋƵŝƉŵĞŶƚ ďĂĐŬ ŽŶ͘ We are just as eager to get back to bowling as you are. When you are ready to open your doors, we will be available to help you make that happen.


RESOURCE

REOPENING TOOLKIT Realizing that not all FECs have in-house marketing teams or the resources to hire marketing agencies, Embedʼs in-house marketing and creative team has developed a comprehensive and creative toolkit to help plan for a successful reopening and expedite recovery. The Creatives are provided in ready-to-print versions or artwork files that can be customized by adding logos, modifying copy, etc. Some of the powerful messaging: The Coronavirus is serious, so is our response; Keep Your Distance; Cough Under Cover; and Good Hygiene is in Your Hands. Embed also offers downloadable Insights Paper; FEC 2.0: Getting to the Other Side; videos with industry-insiders via EmbedLIVE, a web series that includes 20 webchats across 68 segments; and inspiring blog content written in-house by the Embed team, plus the award-winning Mobile Wallet, free for one year. Going to www.embedcard.com/resources/covid19-resource-centre gives you free access to all of the valuable tools to help you get back to what you do best—business. www.embedcard.com

RAISE THE SAILS To help businesses navigate through the pandemic and experience successful reopenings, Hownd® has just published its Raise the Sails Reopening Marketing Guide. The guide features many of Howndʼs proven best practices and immediately actionable recommendations to address a post-pandemic business environment. Recommendations include sales and marketing strategies and tactics; advertising; messaging; how to build revenue and establish new revenue streams; how to pivot promotional offerings; keeping employees engaged; and a variety of other useful ideas. Visit www.hownd.com/RaisetheSails. Hownd has also announced that it is now part of the #OpenWeStand movement created by GoDaddy to support small businesses struggling through COVID-19. Consumers who want to learn more about how they can support their local businesses by purchasing “Buy Now, Visit Later Support Vouchers” can visit www.myhownd.com/BuyNowVisitLater. www.myhownd.com

BPAA OFFERINGS FOR REOPENING The Bowling University team continues to offer ideas and resources for centers to use to begin the process of reopening. Now is the time to refresh centers and mindsets to create a successful Take Two! This website offers information and best practices for all aspects of center operations: Bowling, Staffing, F&B, Marketing, Resources, and Media. Visit the site: www.bowlingunivesrsity.net/opening. A new feature is Breakfast with Bowling University hosted by Bart Burger. Its latest 15-minute course is COVID-19 Social Distancing & Personal Hygiene. For more information go to: www.bowlinguniversity.net/ondemand. Other COVID-19 resources can be reached by going to www.bpaa.com and click any of the resource tabs. Take special note of the Reopening Products tab which offers Smart Buy offerings, plus other sources for cleaning products and essentials for a successful reopening. www.bowlinguniversity.net 8

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RESOURCE BPAA REOPENING RESOURCE CENTER Always evolving, the BPAA Reopening Resource Center shares the challenge of operating in the COVID-19 environment. A Zoom meeting, hosted by Bart Burger, has Robert Winkler, director of operations, at Stars and Strikes, a chain of FECs in Georgia and the Carolinas, share and answer questions regarding reopening. Also, there is downloadable resource information to be found through Bowling University on a variety of topics, including rules, USBC Modified Rules, leagues, USBC Leagues FAQs, safeguarding employees, and a reopening preparation checklist. Check out all the available www.bowlinguniversity.net

SBA LOAN INFORMATION In response to the coronavirus pandemic, small business owners in all 50 U.S. states, including Washington D.C. and territories, are eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000, plus a variety of other debt relief programs. Learn more at www.sba.gov. www.sba.gov

UPDATE: SBA REVISIONS Cameron Linder at Western Bowling Proprietors Insurance shared revisions from the Small Business Administration for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including an overhaul of the loan forgiveness application and the release of an EZ version of the application. Both applications give borrowers the option of using the original 8-week covered period, if their loan was made before June 5, 2020, or an extended 24-week covered period. See 3508EZ application instuctions. wwwwww.sba.gov

CDC Climbing to the top of the ladder for COVID-19 information, the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, better known as the CDC, is a good source for general information. Going to its website, www.cdc.gov, one can click on Business and Workplaces and there find a variety of best practices and categories of information. A person cannot be too informed. www.cdc.gov

CREATIVE WORKS SHARES As businesses start to reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown, liability is a topic that should be visited. Creative Works, in its press release, shares a blog article from Kevin Lonzo of Lonzo Law who breaks down some steps that center operators can take to protect themselves from COVID-19 related negligence claims. “Do yourself a favor and spend 10 minutes reading this article. It could save you a ton of time and money in the long run.� www.thewoweffect.com 10

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SHORTS

INDUSTRY AT LARGE 8 BOWL-EASY BRINGS BOWLING EXPERTISE WORLDWIDE Bowl-Easy, with its corporate office in the Netherlands, serves the bowling industry worldwide with innovative parts and equipment, service, and education. For the last 24 months, Bowl-Easy has exported more than 350 pinsetters and other equipment to South Korea, Colombia, and the Middle East. Their parts business includes AMF and Brunswick and service and support for Kegel lane machines. Offering management systems, mapped software, sound systems, and projectors, Bowl-Easy guarantees they can transform bowling lanes into an explosion of interactivity and visual effects. Lenders, director As in the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic has put a crimp in business, Peter of Bowl-Easy Bowl-Easy’s new 10-lane and Bowl-Easy has had to move its Bowling Academy from summer to center development in Uden, hopefully fall. In their new facility in Heerlen, they offer lane maintenance classes using two The Netherlands. lanes with USBC specs and hands-on instruction on AMF and Brunswick GS pinsetters and Kegel lane machines. Their experienced mechanics are fluent in many different languages. www.bowl-easy.com

8 HOWND EXPANDS SUPPORT VOUCHERS Hownd®,

a foot traffic generation platform for local brick and mortar businesses, has generated over $1.7 million in immediate Support Voucher revenue during the pandemic for local merchants in Arizona. Based on the municipality partnership with Tempe, Hownd has now expanded to launch the “Shop Our Local Deals” initiative with Pima County and Tucson. Barbara Coffee, City of Tucson economic initiatives director, said, “We knew we needed to be innovative and quickly come up with a set of practical solutions for our struggling local businesses.” Businesses ideally suited for this program of generating new customers and revenue include family entertainment centers, health and beauty businesses, restaurants, and bars. More can be learned at www.connecttucson.com/hownd and www.hownd.com.

8 TENNESSEE BUSINESS RELIEF PROGRAM The Tennessee Business Relief Program will direct approximately $200 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds through the Department of Revenue directly to small businesses that qualify. Bowling centers and arcades were among those businesses that qualified. The program was announced June 2 by Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group. The amounts awarded will be based on the annual gross sales of the business. More details will be forthcoming through the Department of Revenue’s website. Roughly 28,000 Tennessee businesses are expected to qualify, with more than 73% of those businesses earning annual gross sales of $500,000 or less. 12

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8 LET THE GAMES BEGIN Bowling is leading the way to reopening sports. The PBA Tour, which FOX picked up the rights to beginning last year, returned June 6, with the firstever PBA Strike Derby and followed up on June 13 with PBA Summer Clash. All of the action was held at Bowlero Jupiter in Florida, without fans in attendance.

The Strike Derby saw eight players involved and competing in an elimination-bracket, timed competition where bowlers had two minutes to record as many strikes as they could. On June 13, FOX featured PBA Summer Clash with a one-ball elimination format. July will feature a four-night PBA King of the Lanes series on FS1. The regularly-scheduled PBA Tour events have been postponed due to COVID-19 but will be rescheduled for the fall and winter. “We are so excited to be one of the first properties bringing live sports back to broadcast television,” PBA CEO Colie Edison said.


PHONE: 863-734-0200 FAX: 863-734-0204 | 1951 LONGLEAF BLVD. LAKE WALES, FL 33859 | WWW.KEGEL.NET


SHORTS

INDUSTRY AT LARGE 8 HOW VR ESPORTS ARE FARING POST QUARANTINE. “We’re all climbing out of a dark hole,” said Jan Goetgeluk, founder and CEO of Virtuix, creator of the Omni Arena virtual reality esports attraction. “The data is encouraging and shows that all is not lost. Together as an industry [we] can get past this setback.” Omni Arena is the first-of-its-kind motion platform that enables players to walk and run around in 360 degrees in virtual reality games and is operated by a single attendant. Twelve of 26 Omni Arena locations have reopened. In a press release, it was reported that since resuming, gameplay sessions have increased 102% on average, with the biggest upticks occurring in the second week. Revenues are averaging $2,400 per

8 UPS & DOWNS FOR HIGHPERFORMANCE EVENTS With COVID-19 and its ramifications, bowling events have had to be flexible and yet keep their eyes on trying to maintain. Unfortunately, the PWBA has canceled its 2020 PWBA Tour season, including its two major events, the USBC Queens and the U.S. Women’s Open. With varying nationwide restrictions, several factors were considered. Most important was the feasibility of providing standardized health and safety protocols for tour athletes and staff while traveling throughout the country. The potential restricted capacity of centers also would affect the ability to conduct events. For the 2019 season, the PWBA averaged 78 competitors for each of its first three events, and the USBC Queens drew a field of 192 competitors. It is not likely that the events could comply with stringent limits. “We’ll continue to explore the possibility of conducting PWBA events in 2020 for the players, the fans, and the industry,” said Frank DeSocio, BPAA ED. “If conditions improve to allow special events to be an option, we want to find a way to make that happen.“

8 A LASERTRON INSTALL At venues that have reopened for three or more weeks, gameplay sessions on Omni Arena have recovered to 95% of pre-lockdown levels.

Overall, Omni Arena revenues are averaging $2,400 per week, about 70% of pre-lockdown levels.

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While waiting to reopen, Family Sports Center in Englewood, CO, was busy. In 2014, the center upgraded to an LT-12 LASERTRON system, and this past month they replaced their black light arena with LASERTRON’s LED Interactive Arena. LASERTRON LED arenas transform automatically to the game format selected and autonomously adapt to game play changes, as well as react and adjust to what players are doing during game play.

“LASERTRON has once again outdone themselves. They came in during the COVID pandemic and totally redid the LASERTRON arena. We are so excited to share the new arena once we are able to safely open back up,” shared Bill Dobbs, general manager. LASERTRON laser tag equipment is currently operating in 195 locations.


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SHORTS

INDUSTRY AT LARGE 8 ZOT COLORSPLASH’S ANTIMICROBIAL BENEFITS More than just a pretty lighting system! While ZOT’s ColorSplash brightens lanes, at the same time the LED lighting system can effectively disinfect the environment from bacteria. When the Ultra-Violet feature is activated, it provides a UV glow AND disinfects. How does it work? ZOT’s ColorSplash LED Lighting System incorporates white, RGB, and 405nm visible light. Its significant antimicrobial properties suppress a wide range of bacteria, mold, fungi, and yeast. Although the germicidal efficacy is lower than UV A/B/C light ranges, the limitation is offset by its facility for safe, continuous use in occupied environments. In its press release, ZOT explains the ‘how to’ and ‘where.’ Turning on the UV/Glow on the control panel, which is the 405nm visible light, will provide the benefits of antimicrobial disinfection. Here are the basic recommendations: Using Madrix/Network/485 model: You can combine ZOT ColorSplash UV/Glow (405nm) scene with white light to provide task illumination while maintaining the appearance of a traditional white LED light source. This enables in-use disinfection. You also have the ability to operate the ZOT ColorSplash UV/Glow (405nm scene or traditional white ambient lighting. This ZOT ColorSplash mode is for periods of disinfection while the space is not being used. Additionally, the system can be controlled based on usage or with pre-programmed schedules. Where to use it: Zot ColorSplash can be used in spaces where people tend to congregate, such as the front entrance, front desk, main service areas, and kitchen, including the prep area. ZOT ColorSlplash has an antimicrobial application in all areas where there are surfaces that people touch frequently.

8 CLASSIC PRODUCTS REALIGNS ITS SALES TEAM

8 QUBICAAMF’S ‘SOME STRINGS ATTACHED’

Classic Products Corp. has announced the restructuring of its sales and customer service departments. While the project has been in the works for a while, Mike Eid, president, and his team decided to move forward during the pandemic shutdown. The change in format is intended to integrate the sales, service, and support roles of each; essentially, it is a move from a single person responsibility to a team oriented coverage. The plan divides the U.S. into three regions: West, Central, and East. All of this is in addition to the in-office support team at each of Classic’s five locations. In addition to territory changes, Jason Shondrick is now manager of center services and capital equipment sales. Shawn Morris has joined Classic and will serve Shondrick’s former northeast territory— Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky.

QubicaAMF will be hosting the world’s first combination string and free-fall tournament July 25-26 at HeadPinz Entertainment Center in Naples, FL. QubicaAMF “Some Strings Attached” Invitational will be bowled across 16 lanes, including eight lanes of EDGE String pinspotters and eight lanes of freefall machines, where bowlers will bowl an equal number of qualifying games on both. The event will be open to 48 bowlers by invitation only, with the top 12 bowlers advancing to the next round of three games, then to the top five in the stepladder finals. The semifinals and stepladder finals will take place on EDGE String lanes. The number of spectators will be limited, and on-site streaming will be in place so spectators can spread out and watch the event from various areas within the facility, while bowlers will bowl three per lane to ensure social distancing during play. EDGE String is the next generation in string pinspotter technology. It complies with all dimensional specifications controlled by the USBC for automatic pinspotting machines.

8 CARES ACT AND SMALL BUSINESS Companies that did not participate in the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) may be eligible to participate in the Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act. To encourage businesses to keep employees on the payroll, the refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. Information can be obtained from payroll companies or company accountants. 16

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SHORTS

PUNCH BOWL SOCIAL LESS TWO Like most businesses, getting back open has not been easy for the eatertainment chain, Punch Bowl Social. Due to the economic instability, Robert Thompson, founder and CEO, has lost the primary investor, Cracker Barrel Restaurants. Another big disappointment is that the iconic Stapleton, CO, location, which renovated a former air traffic control tower into a 16,000-square-foot restaurant with bowling and arcade games, will not reopen nor will the Schaumberg, IL, site. In both cases, Thompson said he could not come to a lease agreement that reflects the new economy. Since the company operates large spaces that combine craft cocktails, scratch-made food, and games ranging from bowling to miniature golf and virtual reality, operating restrictions in most states limit operation. However, the future is not bleak. In a conversation with Ed Sealover from the Denver Business Journal, Thompson is confident in the big picture. He has had conversations with about 40 private-equity firms and hopes to have an announcement soon on how the company will proceed. Thompson is close to reopening one of the Punch Bowl sites in either Georgia or Texas where restrictions have been more lenient.

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SHORTS

CENTERS HERE, THERE AROUND THE U.S. NEBRASKA:

ARIZONA: Tucson bowling centers have gone from seven to five. Bedroxx Bowling is the second bowling center in under a year to close. Golden Pin Lanes closed after more than five decades. Remaining are: Fiesta Lanes, Lucky Strike, Tucson Bowl, Cactus Bowl, and Bowlero Tucson.

GEORGIA: In Valdosta, Jac’s Bowling Lanes reopened and then closed for a two-week quarantine after a person, who had been at the center, was diagnosed with COVID-19. Lowndes County experienced a leap in cases.

MISSISSIPPI: Depot Family Fun Center in Philadelphia, MS, is struggling with a decrease in foot traffic. The 27,000-square-foot facility includes bowling, a skating rink, restaurant, private bowling room, an arcade room, and an inside bar. Beverly Enterkin, owner, said safety precautions, including disinfecting bowling balls before and after use and spacing customers on every other lane are being taken. The staff is also deep cleaning the entire facility three times a day, every day, and checking customers’ temperature before entering the center. Spinners, which includes bowling, arcade games, a skating rink, and soon, a laser tag arena, in Florence, has reopened with safety measures in place. Staff members have their temperatures checked each shift and are provided with masks and gloves. Only eight of the 16 lanes are open for use, and designated staff clean and sanitize all equipment and seating areas after each use.

Michael Pirruccello’s West Lanes Bowling Center has been in his family a long time. As of September 2020, it will be 65 years. The pandemic has not been easy. He had to furlough his employees but with the help of the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), he has been able to bring them all back. “It’s been a little bit of a ride, but I think that it’s going to be alright,” Pirruccello said. The Big Apple Fun Center is open. Doing best practices, Kenny Owen, general manager, says that on odd days, they will use odd lanes, and on even days, they will use even lanes and no more than six people at a lane. By the fall, they expect to have their new indoor black light go-cart course completed.

OHIO: As part of Responsible Restart Ohio, bowling centers, along with miniature golf venues, were allowed to open May 26. However, Pastime Lanes is doing renovations and will open a bit later.

OKLAHOMA: Chuck Ford of Bartlesville’s Red Apple Center has turned adversity into an opportunity. When he was forced to close down during COVID-19, Ford looked at his to-do list and got going. He replaced the roof, installed new carpet and floors, upgraded the restrooms, and installed a new parking lot.

SOUTH CAROLINA: In June, the state continued to see a rise in COVID-19 cases. However, Governor Henry McMaster indicated he had no intention of closing down any more businesses. Still, The Alley in Charleston delayed its reopening based on the cases that had occurred in the Charleston restaurant industry.

BUSINESS & BOWLING Main Event is the U.S.-based arm of Ardent Leisure Group of Australia and has 44 centers. The chain recently received a capital injection of $80 million from the private U.S. investment firm of RedBird Capital Partners in exchange for a 24.2 percent interest in Main Event. RedBird will also have the ability to take a majority holding through an option for an additional 26.8 percent, exercisable between July 2022 and July 2024. Ardent Leisure chairman Dr. Gary Weiss said, “We are excited by this new partnership with RedBird which not only reinforces 18

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Main Event’s financial strength and liquidity, but also provides a value-added strategic partner who can help drive the company’s growth and expansion plans in the United States.” www Chris Morris, Main Event CEO, shared the Play Smart, Play Safe plan. “If you want to bowl, we’re going to take care of your bowling balls and take care of your shoes; you just show up, and you have fun. If you need more cleaning resources, we’ve got sanitation centers throughout the entire center for you.”



SHORTS

USBC OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS The USBC Open Championships will head to Las Vegas in 2022 with the South Point Bowing Plaza serving as the host venue. It was previously scheduled to take place in a newly built facility in Houston, TX, but with business interruptions caused by COVID-19, the Harris Coty-Houston Sports Authority and USBC mutually agreed it was not feasible. The Sports Authority planned to have its new building completed by 2022.With the economic disruption from the pandemic made the project timeline unworkable. The next available date for Houston is 2028. With the schedule change, the Open Championships will be held at the South Point Bowing Plaza in Las Vegas in 2021 and 2022. The event is the world’s largest participatory event, attracting over 50,000 bowlers who compete over a fourmonth period.

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CENTER CERTIFICATION PUSHED In December 2019, the USBC announced implementation of a center certification program, featuring tiered levels of certification and a national staff of lane inspectors, over a five-year period. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the considerable disruptions, USBC has pushed back the timeline by one year to allow centers to focus on more immediate business needs. Inspection of centers under the program will not begin until Jan. 1, 2023. USBC continues to collaborate with industry stakeholders to evaluate and build the model with details to be announced no later than the 2022 USBC convention.



FEATURE

OPEN-DOOR POLICY The grass-roots fight to open bowling centers in four states By Fred Groh

FRUSTRATION... “Certainly, I got phone calls where people were just downright pissed—and I get that—but all in all they really did say, ‘This is the hand that was dealt to us, let’s play it in the best way possible.’ I think they did a great job,” said Ohio executive director Jenny Martin-Clarke. It was the middle of June when we chatted, following almost ten weeks of bowling center closure in Ohio, March 18-May 26. A “frustrating,” “maddening” time for MartinClarke and for BPAA executive directors across the industry. As in some other states, bowling in Ohio was misclassified under COVID-19 operating and reopening restrictions, Martin-Clarke said. It was grouped with travel and tourism, which included major attractions like zoos. “We were adamant that is not where we belong.” At one point, state authorities announced that noncontact sports could resume. “We thought, well, what’s bowling if not a non-contact sport?” remembered MartinClarke. “We thought that was good news, only to find out we were not included. So we decided to start a grassroots campaign.” On May 15, a complaint number was posted on the association’s Facebook page urging calls to the governor’s office and reaching out to legislators to reopen bowling centers. The week that bowling was given its reopening date, Martin-Clarke said, she spoke with a member of the statelevel committee overseeing the lockdown of sports “because he was a cousin to one of our proprietors. I don’t know if that 22

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July 2020

Jenny Martin-Clarke, Ohio’s ED

helped. I believe that our grassroots, our bowlers, our employees— I saw so many who said that they emailed and called—I really believe that’s what did it.”

...AND TUSSLE The story was much the same in Iowa, where bowling was grouped with amusement parks, and fitness centers were allowed to reopen while recreational venues were not. “I helped write a letter to the governor, once we got into May,”


FEATURE

Bo Goergen, Michigan's executive director

Iowa ED Bev Van Blair related, “telling her how we could reopen safely and we desperately needed to get reopened or we would lose a lot of businesses and a lot of jobs in our state.” The letter, over the signature of Iowa association president Phil Torgerson, was sent on May 17. Governor Kim Reynolds answered on May 19. “A couple of days later, she announced that we would be able to open on May 29. We [had] talked to a lobbyist and we were just getting ready to talk to take further steps.” Further steps were taken in North Carolina. The bowling association there filed suit against Governor Roy Cooper, charging him in a 28-page complaint with unconstitutional use of discretion, issuing orders that “violate the right to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor,” violating equal protection of the laws, and unconstitutional suspension of state laws. A hearing in the suit was a week away when we talked with Reneé Dennis, ED of the association for the Carolinas and Georgia (BPACGA). “The bars and gyms have filed a lawsuit along with us and under the executive orders we were included with them in the lawsuit to begin with,” she said, “but we felt we stood a better chance filing a lawsuit by ourselves.” An hour after our talk, Dennis emailed us a one-line message with an exclamation point: “SC Gov just opened bowling centers immediately!” In Michigan, among the states worst affected in the epidemic, ED Bo Goergen was a couple of hours away from a call with the lieutenant governor.“I submitted a question to be asked. We have documentation where four doctors from around the state, that supposedly have our governor’s ear, did a ranking on the [infection] risk-level of activities and [scored] them from 1 to 10, ‘10’ being [the] high[est] risk.” In a survey of 36 activities from hair salons to sports stadiums, the

doctors rated bowling ‘5.’ “The argument we have is that there are industries with ‘5’s and restaurants with ‘6,’ one with a ‘9’—bars. ‘6’s and ‘9’s are able to open up in the rest of the state at 50% capacity, and bowling centers are not,” Goergen told us. The survey was published June 8 by MLive Media Group, a Michigan newspaper chain (mLive.com). Of the executive directors we talked with, Yvonne Bennett of Wisconsin sounded like she was riding highest. Her good mood followed political back-andforthing that began with the Democratic governor being sued by the Republican House speaker and Senate majority leader on his Safer At Home mandate that was to run until May 26. The state supreme court ruled the governor’s order invalid, “so as of roughly 3:30 on Wednesday, the 13th of May, our state was wide open. We had no limitations, no social distancing, zero,” said Bennett.

FROM YOUR ED’S DESK “Bart Burger and the guys at BPAA called it the wild, wild West up here and it really has been since Safer at Home was struck down.” “Once we were shut down,” said Iowa’s Van Blair, “I mostly fielded phone calls from proprietors to make sure they had the applications for financial aid that the government was putting out, that BPAA was forwarding, mostly about PPP.” “PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] and EIDL [Economic Injury Disaster Loan] were hot topics,” MartinClarke of Ohio agreed. “I spent hours trying to understand those things, and it would seem that the next day [they] would be changed, trying to keep up with that information and pass it along to our members.” Projects were moved to back burners, like the Iowa Games, where about 500 bowlers participate. “We rolled it back a couple of months,” Van Blair reported. “Grand Prix tournaments, we had a small one this weekend and now we’re having our state finals in the middle of July.” At Carolinas/Georgia, Dennis postponed, then canceled this summer’s QubicaAMF Rising Stars tournament, in which 1,400 youths bowl across all three states. “The kids had to bowl and receive their scholarship money before Aug. 1 because they go back to school,” and there wasn’t time to get the tournament in. All that required paperwork, letters, verifying averages, reading and posting to Facebook, and emailing. IBI

July 2020

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FEATURE

ON YOUR MIND Proprietors were surveyed by Wisconsin’s Bennett (on April 30 with a follow-up on June 8) and Ohio’s Martin-Clarke (on May 14) about their concerns more than a month past lockdowns. The number-one issue about reopening in both surveys: “lack of business.” Or as Martin-Clarke explained, would it make the best sense to stay closed until fall leagues? In Wisconsin, the second-ranked problem was social distancing. Said Bennett: “Our average bowling center is 12 lanes, and 70% [of our members] have 12 lanes or less. If I’m going to social-distance every other lane or pair of lanes, I only have six lanes or three pairs to bowl on. The other part of the issue is that even though they may have their center laid out for social distancing [six-foot separation], the people coming into their businesses largely don’t feel they need to socialdistance.” In the Ohio survey, proprietors were asked how much longer they could survive without the risk of bankruptcy or permanent closure. Six to eight weeks, they replied most frequently (36%). Not a surprise, about half were ready to open “ASAP” (55%). Wisconsin respondents agreed with that. “We had some good direction that some of our centers would reopen as soon as they could,” Bennett said. “Those that have reopened have done it very responsibly, out of utmost concern for their employees and their guests.” And some proprietors may have been cheered up by their leagues. In Ohio, Martin-Clarke noted, “A few centers I talked to have leagues that wanted to finish to support their centers. [The centers] opened up, allowed their leagues to come back and bowl, and then closed for the summer.”

Reneé Dennis, ED of the association for the Carolinas and Georgia (BPACGA)

Wisconsin’s ED Yvonne Tison Bennett

ON YOUR MARK A number of associations crafted their own reopening guidelines “to present to the governor or COVID team or whatever,” as Dennis put it. For her Carolinas and Georgia centers, a guidelines project was spearheaded by BPAA pastpresident Nancy Schenk of North Carolina and New York owner Joe LaSpina. Iowa’s letter making the case for bowling to the governor included 15 operating requirements the association was proposing. In Ohio, guidelines drafted by a task force of the bowling association were sent to the governor on April 22. “Our lobbyist received a text message, a thank-you for contributing these,” Martin-Clarke said. “However, as the process went on, the governor made up work groups of industry-specific experts to advise on how to open things up. We requested to have a representative on one of those committees or have our own bowling committee, [but] that didn’t happen, and our multiple requests went unanswered.” So Ohio’s grassroots campaign was born. Wisconsin joined a coalition organized by the state’s chamber of commerce, which is also the largest business trade association in the state. The bowling association put its name and support behind the coalition and worked up riskContinued on page 30...

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IBI

July 2020


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Lake Wylie Bowll N N’’ Bounc ce Scores Big Afterr Replacing g Free-F Fal alll Pinspotters with EDGE St

Darrin Skinner Owner Lake Wylie Bowl N’ Bounce

“I have bee n bowling for 35 years, and am an above ave rage g bbowle r, s o I f ig ured that if I wa s comffor table bowlin ng o n str ing pin sppotte rs the n most of my cu stome rs would be, too.” –D ar r in Skinner

Center:

Lake Wylie Bowl N’ Bounce Lake Wylie, NC

Bowling Lanes: 16 Owner:

Darrin Skinner

ƩƌĂĐƟŽŶƐ͗ Bowling Arcade Games Laser Tag a Bounce Room ^ŽŌ WůĂLJ ^ƚƌƵĐƚƵƌĞ

>ĂŬĞ tLJůŝĞ Žǁů E͛ ŽƵŶĐĞ ŝƐ ƚŚĞ ƉƌĞĞŵŝŶĞŶƚ ĞŶƚĞƌƚĂŝŶŵĞŶƚ ĚĞƐƟŶĂƟŽŶ ŝŶ >ĂŬĞ tLJůŝĞ͕ Ă ĐŽŵŵƵŶŝƚLJ ŶĞĂƌ ŚĂƌůŽƩĞ͕ EŽƌƚŚ ĂƌŽůŝŶĂ͘ KǁŶĞƌ ĂƌƌŝŶ ^ŬŝŶŶĞƌ ŽƉĞŶĞĚ ŚŝƐ & ŝŶ ϮϬϭϮ͘ dŽĚĂLJ͕ ŝŶ ĂĚĚŝƟŽŶ ƚŽ ϭϲ ůĂŶĞƐ ŽĨ ďŽǁůŝŶŐ͕ ŚĞ ŽīĞƌƐ ϳϬ ĂƌĐĂĚĞ ŐĂŵĞƐ͕ Ϯϰ ǀĞƐƚƐ ŽĨ ůĂƐĞƌ ƚĂŐ͕ ďŽƵŶĐĞ ĂƩƌĂĐƟŽŶƐ͕ Ă ƐŽŌ ƉůĂLJ ďƵŝůƚͲŝŶ ƐƚƌƵĐƚƵƌĞ͕ ĂůŽŶŐ ǁŝƚŚ &Θ ŽīĞƌŝŶŐƐ͘ dŚĞ ďŽǁůŝŶŐ ƉŽƌƟŽŶ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ ƌĞƉƌĞƐĞŶƚƐ ϯϬй ŽĨ ƚŽƚĂů ƌĞǀĞŶƵĞ͘ ďŽƵƚ ϵϬй ŽĨ ďŽǁůŝŶŐ ƌĞǀĞŶƵĞ ŝƐ ƌĞĐƌĞĂƟŽŶĂů ďŽǁůŝŶŐ͕ ƚŚĞ ƌĞŵĂŝŶŝŶŐ ϭϬй ůĞĂŐƵĞ ƉůĂLJ͘

The Challenge ĂƌƌŝŶ͛Ɛ ďŝŐŐĞƐƚ ĐŚĂůůĞŶŐĞ ƐƚĞŵŵĞĚ ĨƌŽŵ ŚŝƐ ĨƌĞĞͲĨĂůů ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌƐ͘ DĂŝŶƚĂŝŶŝŶŐ ƚŚĞŵ ǁĂƐ ŶŽƚ ŽŶůLJ Ă ůĂƌŐĞ ĞdžƉĞŶƐĞ͖ ŝƚ ŚĂĚ ďĞĐŽŵĞ Ă ďŝŐ ŚĞĂĚĂĐŚĞ ĨŽƌ Śŝŵ ĂƐ ǁĞůů͘ ͞tŚŝůĞ ďŽǁůŝŶŐ ƌĞƉƌĞƐĞŶƚĞĚ ĂďŽƵƚ ϯϬй ŽĨ ŵLJ ƌĞǀĞŶƵĞ͕ ŝƚ ǁĂƐ ŽǀĞƌ ϱϬй ŽĨ ŵLJ ĨĂĐŝůŝƚLJ ŵĂŝŶƚĞŶĂŶĐĞ ĐŽƐƚƐ ĂŶĚ ǁĂƐ Ă ƐŽƵƌĐĞ ŽĨ ƉĞƌƐŽŶĂů ĨƌƵƐƚƌĂƟŽŶ͕͟ ĂƌƌŝŶ ƐĂLJƐ͘ ͞/ ĐŽƵůĚ ŶŽƚ ĮŶĚ ŵĂŶLJ ĞdžƉĞƌŝĞŶĐĞĚ ƚĞĐŚŶŝĐŝĂŶƐ͘ ĚĚŝƟŽŶĂůůLJ͕ / ǁĂƐ ƐƉĞŶĚŝŶŐ ĂŶ ĂǀĞƌĂŐĞ ŽĨ ΨϭϬ< ƉĞƌ LJĞĂƌ ŝŶ ƉĂƌƚƐ ũƵƐƚ ƚŽ ŬĞĞƉ ŵLJ ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌƐ ƌƵ ƵŶŶŝŶŐ͘ / ŚĂĚ Ă ǁŚŽůĞ ƌŽŽŵ ĨƵůů ŽĨ ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌ ƉĂƌƚƐ͕ ĂŶĚ ŝƚ ǁĂƐ ƚLJŝŶŐ ƵƉ ǀĂůƵĂďůĞ ĐĂƐŚ͘͟ ůŽŶŐ ǁŝƚŚ ŝŵƉĂĐƟŶŐ ŚŝƐ ďŽƩŽŵ ůŝŶĞ͕ ĂƌƌŝŶ͛Ɛ ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌ ƉƌŽďůĞŵƐ ǁĞƌĞ ŚƵƌƟŶŐ ƚŚĞ ĐƵƐƚŽŵĞƌ ĞdžƉĞƌŝĞŶĐĞ͘ ͞ Ɛ Ă ůĞĂŐƵĞ ďŽǁůĞƌ ŝŶ ŵLJ ŽǁŶ ĐĞŶƚĞƌ͕ / ǁĂƐ ƐĞĞŝŶŐ ĮƌƐƚŚĂŶĚ ƚŚĞ ŝŵƉĂĐƚ ŵLJ ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌ ƉƌŽďůĞŵƐ ǁĞƌĞ ŚĂǀŝŶŐ ŽŶ ŽƵƌ ŐƵĞƐƚƐ͘͟

The Solution ĂƌƌŝŶ ďĞŐĂŶ ĐŽŶƐŝĚĞƌŝŶŐ ƐƚƌŝŶŐ ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌƐ ĂƐ ĂŶ ŽƉƟŽŶ ĨŽƌ ŚŝƐ ďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ ŝŶ ϮϬϭϳ͘ ͞/ ǁĂƐ ŝŶƚƌŝŐƵĞĚ ǁŝƚŚ ƚŚĞ ĐŽŶĐĞƉƚ ĂŶĚ ƚŚĞ ďĞŶĞĮƚƐ ŝƚ ĐŽƵůĚ ŽīĞƌ ŵLJ ďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ͘ Ƶƚ ŵLJ ďŝŐŐĞƐƚ ĐŽŶĐĞƌŶ ǁĂƐ ŚŽǁ ǁŽƵůĚ ŵLJ ĐƵƐƚŽŵĞƌƐ ƌĞƐƉŽŶĚ͘ / ŚĂĚ ŶŽ ŝĚĞĂ͘ /Ĩ Ă ŐŽŽĚ ƉŽƌƟŽŶ ŽĨ ƚŚĞŵ ĚŝĚ ŶŽƚ ůŝŬĞ ďŽǁůŝŶŐ ŽŶ ƐƚƌŝŶŐ ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌƐ ƚŚĞŶ / ƐƚŽŽĚ ƚŽ ůŽƐĞ Ă ůŽƚ ŽĨ ďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ ƌĞǀĞŶƵĞ͘͟ dŽ ƌĞƐŽůǀĞ ŚŝƐ ĐŽŶĐĞƌŶƐ͕ ĂƌƌŝŶ ƚĂůŬĞĚ ǁŝƚŚ ŽƉĞƌĂƚŽƌƐ ŽĨ ƐƚƌŝŶŐ ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌƐ ĂŶĚ ƚŽŽŬ ĨƌŝĞŶĚƐ ĂŶĚ ĨĂŵŝůLJ ƚŽ ďŽǁů ŽŶ ƐƚƌŝŶŐ ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌƐ ŝŶ ƐĞǀĞƌĂů ĚŝīĞƌĞŶƚ ĐĞŶƚĞƌƐ͘ ͞/ ŚĂǀĞ ďĞĞŶ ďŽǁůŝŶŐ ĨŽƌ ϯϱ LJĞĂƌƐ͕ ĂŶĚ Ăŵ ĂŶ ĂďŽǀĞͲĂǀĞƌĂŐĞ ďŽǁůĞƌ͕ ƐŽ / ĮŐƵƌĞĚ ƚŚĂƚ ŝĨ / ǁĂƐ ĐŽŵĨŽƌƚĂďůĞ ďŽǁůŝŶŐ ŽŶ ƐƚƌŝŶŐ ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌƐ ƚŚĞŶ ŵŽƐƚ ŽĨ ŵLJ ĐƵƐƚŽŵĞƌƐ ǁŽƵůĚ ďĞ͕ ƚŽŽ͘͟ ŌĞƌ ĚŽŝŶŐ ŝƐ ƌĞƐĞĂƌĐŚ ĂƌƌŝŶ ĐŚŽƐĞ ƚŽ ƌĞƉůĂĐĞ ŚŝƐ ĨƌĞĞͲĨĂůů ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌƐ ǁŝƚŚ YƵďŝĐĂ D& ' ^ƚƌŝŶŐ ƉŝŶƐƉŽƩĞƌƐ͕ ǁŚŝĐŚ ǁĞƌĞ ŝŶƐƚĂůůĞĚ ŝŶ ƵŐƵƐƚ ŽĨ ϮϬϭϴ͘


“ T he ED GE Str ing Pin sppotte rs have g ive n me peace of mind. T he y tran sfor o med s omething that wa s a major s ource off hear tbur n into s omething that i s no longge r an i ssue.” –D ar r in Skinner ound Darrin is saving arro $45K K per yearr acr a ro oss 16 lanes, orr $2 $2,800 perr lane per year e r and his fo ormerr ro f oom full of sparre pinspotterr p parts has been re ed educed to one small shelff. “ T he ressppon s e f rom my recreational bowle rs could not have bee n any bette r.” –D ar r in Skinner

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Are QubicaAMF ubicaAMF F EDGE String Pinspotters right fo or yourr center? dŽ ůĞĂƌŶ ŵŽƌĞ ǀŝƐŝƚ͗ ǁǁǁ͘ƋƵďŝĐĂĂŵĨ͘ĐŽŵͬ ͬ ĚŐĞ^ƚƌŝŶŐ


FEATURE ...Continued from page 26 ...

Iowa’s ED Bev Van Blair

mitigation requirements for centers in case bowling was to reopen in phases.

INTO THE FUTURE For Michigan’s Goergen, who is also a proprietor, the top problem as bowling centers reopen is going to be the restoration of consumer confidence. Leveraging PR by Taylor Global, via BPAA, he issued an op ed piece to four Michigan newspapers, “beginning that process.” “The number two concern—it could be number one in most proprietors’ minds—is we need to be at 100% [capacity] by Sept. 1 when leagues start. When we open up, as other states have shown, we’re going to be limited to the amount of capacity that we’re allowed.” Six of the eight COVID-related districts set up in Michigan are in phase four of six reopening phases; the other two districts are in phase five. Georgen is still trying to get all Michigan bowling into phase five, where centers are allowed to operate at 25% of house capacity. “There isn’t a business in the world that can operate profitably at 25%,” but that’s better than nothing, which is what the rest of Michigan bowling was enjoying when we talked with him. As to staffing when centers reopen, Bennett said, “With the smallest centers, staffing isn’t relatively a problem. It’s mom and dad and some kids. But at our larger centers, staffing has been an issue because of the federal pandemic unemployment compensation, FPUC, that gives receipients an extra $600 on top of their state benefits. “I’m full-time and I have two part-timers,” explains Bennett, “and one of my part-timers didn’t want to come back because she is getting regular unemployment and $600 and that’s way more than she makes as a 20hours-a-week employee. “Roughly 30% of our respondents said that staffing has been a problem. I know bowling centers that have curtailed their hours. They’re good business people and they’re going to limit their hours to what they can staff and cover. They may have wanted to be open seven days a week, now maybe they’re only open four or five.” Dennis runs two centers in North Carolina. She has lost five staff people to other jobs “because we’re not open. Your staff is collecting unemployment and making more money than they would be [while] working for you.”

darkest days of the epidemic are receding fast, if at last. It was a confusing and trying time where good customer relations are likely to pay off as never before. On Michigan’s private Facebook page for members, they were asked: “With bars and restaurants opening this past Monday, what has been the turnout?” A thoughtful Goergen said, “A couple mentioned it was slow and a couple of more proactive ones have shown great response. I think it’s all about the recognition within your community. Whether you’re getting support from your community or not, and how you market it.” Except for two Bowlero centers, everything in Wisconsin membership is mom-and-pop including two chains of three and seven centers. “They’re familyowned and [they have] family relationships with their community,” Bennett said. “To the extent that I have a family relationship in my community with my guests, I think they are more comfortable knowing and trusting [the proprietor to provide safe premises]. I think that relationship in a community makes a difference on the comfort-level of people coming back.” ❖

PAYOFF “Our guys and gals are slowly reopening here in Ohio,” MartinClarke summed up. “My phone traffic has died down considerably since they’ve been allowed to reopen. They’re getting busy.” In the sketch we drew from talking with the EDs in this article, the 30

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July 2020

Fred Groh is a regular contributor to IBI and former managing editor of the magazine.



COVER STORY

Proprietor and bowling’s fairy godmother, Elaine Brumberg, grants wishes and turns frowns upside down By Evan Henerson

D

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o I look,” asks Elaine Brumberg, “like the Fairy Godmother of Bowling?” The question isn’t easily answered. Admittedly, fairy godmothers — if legend and Disney are to be believed — may come in all shapes, sizes and appearances. But the woman on the other end of my Facetime screen is not wearing a gown or brandishing a wish-granting wand. So.... “Do I look like I’m going to be 80?” returns Brumberg. “Well, I am. In May.” This also isn’t easily believed. Perhaps it’s Brumberg’s energy, effervescence and the

July 2020


COVER STORY

Elaine’s beloved Thunderbird Lanes

fact that, well, I have seen news footage of this woman in a pink princess ballgown, a look not exactly in keeping with prototypical bowling center proprietors. The owner of Thunderbird Lanes in Warminster, PA, Brumberg is many things: innovator, author, wife, mother, grandmother, leader, cosmetics expert and, for the last two and a half years, an expectation-flouting executive in an industry largely controlled by men. The Fairy Godmother of Bowling is Brumberg’s alter ego when she packs up her portable dinosaur stand and plastic pins and comes into Philadelphia area hospitals permitting children who can’t come to Thunderbird Lanes to experience the fun of the sport. To these kids, Brumberg makes wishes come true, and — like them — she feels the magic. “I hope to God I can keep waving that magic wand and bring smiles to these children’s faces until I’m ninety something,” Brumberg says. “For me, that’s what I think is going to keep me young.” It’s safe to say that bowling is Brumberg’s second act. She spent many years in the beauty and cosmetics industry, authoring three books, including, “Save Your Money, Save Your Face,” and “Take Care of Your Skin.” She was interviewed on multiple talk shows and traveled the country. As the wife of bowling center proprietor Norman Brumberg, Elaine ran the youth leagues and eventually became interested in learning the

Elaine, in her street clothes, is still pretty magical IBI

July 2020

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COVER STORY

Elaine with her close friend, Michael, who inspired her work with special needs children and adults

business herself. When Norman’s health declined, the Brumbergs sold off four of their five centers, keeping Warminster, with Elaine eventually taking over the business after Norman’s death. She trained at the Bowling Proprietors Association of America in Dallas. Brumberg’s business philosophy revolves around delivering unparalleled service. Thunderbird Lanes employees are expected to always ask whether a customer has visited before and, if they haven’t, to offer assistance to help them get acclimated. Brumberg herself is a visible and recognizable presence at her center, greeting and embracing her guests, welcoming the league bowlers and making sure everyone is having the best possible experience. “We just had six birthday parties on Saturday and two adult parties, and I went down and talked to every family,” Brumbeg says. One guy looked at me and said, ‘Elaine I’m a pizza maven and this is the

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July 2020


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COVER STORY

Elaine with her bowling buddies

best pizza I have ever eaten in a bowling center.’ I said, ‘Would you put that on Facebook?’” “I’m proud of what I do. I’m proud of the fact that I have incredible management. I treat my staff like they’re my family and they are my family.” In this practice, Brumberg notes she is following the example set by her late husband, Norman, who also treated customers of Thunderbird Lanes like they were guests in his home. “He was an incredible human being and an incredible businessman,” Brumberg says of her husband who died in 2011. “Brunswick came along and they offered my husband a great deal of money to buy our center, and he wouldn’t sell them because he didn’t want his employees to be unemployed. That’s the kind of individual he was.” Glenn Keenan, vice president of sales for US Bowling, has known both Brumbergs since he was a teenager and has served as both a professional sounding-board as well as a trusted friend to Elaine since she entered the world of bowling proprietorship. According to Keenan, Thunderbird Lanes’ future – and Norman Brumberg’s legacy – are in stable hands with Elaine. “She knows she has to cater to all different demographics,” Keenan says. “I would say hers is a modernized version of her husband’s management style. She knows how to delegate, and she knows when she sees something she doesn’t like and 36

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July 2020

she’s quick to correct it. She has a really good grasp of what it takes to own a center and to run it properly.” As with cosmetics, Brumberg discovered she had a flair for bowling center administration as well. She has introduced multiple promotions for open bowlers, everything from couple’s nights, lady’s night, wine and bowl, to promotions for mothers, fathers, and veterans. League bowling does brisk business Monday through Friday. On Saturday morning, the center hosts groups of special needs bowlers, a service of which Brumberg is especially proud. Brumberg had a close friend whose then 14-year old son, Michael, was diagnosed with cancer and was not expected to survive. But he defied a grim prognosis and beat back the disease. Brumberg eventually had a lightbulb moment: certain kids who might love to bowl will never be able to visit Thunderbird Lanes. “I thought if they can’t come to me, I’ll go to them,” Brumberg says. Which, according to Keenen, is entirely in character. “Elaine is a very warm and caring person, for sure,” he said. “That old saying, she would give you the shirt off her back? She would do it without being asked.” Brumberg packed up her dinosaur stand and a set of plastic Continued on page 40...




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COVER STORY ...continued from page 36

pins and lanes. Dressing up in princess regalia, she brings party favors on her visits to St. Christopher’s and Shriner’s Hospitals. According to Brumberg, the experience brings her as much as joy as it does to the children.

Elaine, dressed as Mrs. Claus, brings holiday cheer to her guests

“These children forget they’re sick,” Brumberg said. “I can’t begin to tell you how much joy I get that I’m bringing these kids [joy], to see the smiles on their faces. They forget they’re sick. I forget they’re sick. They hug and kiss me. It’s just incredible.” As much as she and her team are hatching new ideas for open play bowlers, Brumberg is also, to some extent, a traditionalist where bowling is concerned. Other than adding a redemption arcade, she has balked at any suggestions that she move toward transforming Thunderbird Lanes into a family entertainment center. There will be no removing lanes to carve out space for laser tag or rock-climbing walls at this facility. “I didn’t want to take away from my programs for the special needs children. I didn’t want students from the high school to have nowhere to bowl,” Brumberg says. “There are fewer and fewer bowling alleys or 40

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July 2020

bowling centers because people are turning them into family entertainment centers. They think they can make more money.” In the two and a half years that she has been running the center, Brumberg has financed major renovations and upgrades, including new furniture, a new bar, and café. The facility has a new food service manager which has led to expanded menu items. On the bowling side, Thunderbird Lanes has new synthetic lanes, added new glow-in-the-dark QubicaAMF lanes, and all new shoes. 50-inch flat screen TVs and new carpeting were scheduled to come in the spring, but the plans were made pre-COVID-19. “All these things are important because they really dress up the center,” Brumberg says. “I’d like to bring in a commercial chandelier to make the entrance more exciting. You have to invest on your business. You can’t just let everything go.” There was a time in their marriage when Norman Brumberg made the mistake of telling his wife that she could not do something. “I can do anything but brain surgery,” was her response. She still feels that way. “I want to be an inspiration to other women, to show them that, in the bowling industry, they can be as qualified as their husbands or managers or whatever. They can buy out centers and they can run them,” Brumberg says. “I want to show people that — guess what! — women can be proprietors. Anybody who is in the bowling industry can say, ‘Hey, I can do the same thing as Elaine Brumberg! I can be as successful as she is.’” ❖

Evan Henerson is a features and lifestyle journalist who lives in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in TV Guide, American Theatre, Orange Coast and the Los Angeles Daily News where he was a staff writer and critic for nine years.


100%

SYNTHETIC

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IN MY OWN WORDS

KEEPING ATTRACTIONS

EXCLUSIVE Is the out-of-home experience unique to our FEC and BEC businesses in jeopardy? By Jim Kessler Editor’s Note: The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concern for the future of digital and virtual attractions in the family entertainment business. VR expert Jim Kessler of LASERTRON has addressed three of the most pressing questions.

QUESTION NUMBER ONE:

Are we investing in attractions that can only be experienced out-of-home (OOH)?

Anything that is digital or mostly digital is a huge liability to the existence of our OOH entertainment industry - just ask any movie theater operator. By now we have all heard what a few movie studios have already done. They leapt across that imaginary line and released several of their movies direct to the in-home and mobile entertainment market, which means they bypassed out-of-home movie theaters. The movie studios did this without even blinking an eye. Yes, the coronavirus was the catalyst that caused the studios to bypass the movie theaters, but what is important to note is how quickly and easily they did it. When “Trolls 2” was released April 10, 2020, on multiple digital platforms it earned much more than anyone expected. On April 28, 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported 42

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the benefits that the studios received by renting their digital entertainment direct to consumers:

“For studios, the prospect is especially alluring because they retain about 80% of the digital rental or purchase fee—compared with about 50% of box-office sales. Universal has made more than $77 million in revenue from “Trolls World Tour” domestic customers so far. That means “Trolls World Tour” has generated about $95 million in rental fees from nearly five million customers since its release, based on revenue figures cited by the person familiar with the matter, who didn’t dispute the estimate. The same amount of revenue during a theatrical run would have required a box-office gross of $154 million, or about the final tally of the original “Trolls” movie. The sequel cost about $90 million to produce. The original “Trolls” collected $153.7 million at the domestic box office. Universal received about $77 million of that total; about half stayed with theaters.”



IN MY OWN WORDS The release of “Trolls 2” directly to the home and mobile consumer market is just another example of why digital entertainment is so dangerous to the OOH entertainment industry. It confirms that movie theater operators have little to no control over how movie studios decide to monetize their digital content. All forms of digital in-home and mobile entertainment have been on the rise for many years and will continue to increase at an accelerated rate. Direct-to-consumer platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple, Disney+, Peacock, HBO, YouTube, X-Box, Nintendo, Sony, and many others, need to be fed an ever-increasing supply of new digital entertainment content. And remember, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Universal/Peacock, HBO, and others control and/or own their own movie studios and the digital platforms that

A Hologate attraction has been one of the bright spots in out-of-home entertainment

can deliver their digital entertainment. How much revenue does Disney keep when they release a movie or TV series they produced on their own digital platform??? 100%!!!!! It’s important to note that VR is another form of digital entertainment that is already being delivered to the in-home and mobile consumer market and it’s growing rapidly. We have seen this movie before (pun intended) with video game developers shifting their focus from developing video games for the OOH arcade industry to spending 99.99% of their resources on developing the best video games for the in-home and mobile entertainment market. Due to the coronavirus, several VR companies have already shifted their focus to figuring out how to exploit the in-home and mobile entertainment market. And why shouldn’t they - especially if their goal is to make more money. Without a doubt, the biggest opportunity for VR content creators and suppliers is the in-home and mobile entertainment market. Since the opportunity is so big, the market is going to be dominated by large, multi-billion 44

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dollar companies that are focused on selling all forms of entertainment directly to the consumer market. As reported by TechCrunch on November 26, 2019, “Facebook buys VR Studio behind Beat Saber… Buying Beat Games and bringing it into the fold of Oculus Studios suggest Facebook may be interested in following the strategies Microsoft and Sony have employed as they’ve bought up small studios and funded new titles.”

OOH VR = multiple Trojan horses. Do you have one in your center? OOH VR is a digital Trojan horse. If we invest in VR or any other type of digital entertainment, we have to understand that we have no control over how the digital VR content is distributed, monetized, or what entities ultimately control the content and the overall customer relationship. Even though VR attractions are operated in OOH venues, the venue operators often don’t control the data being collected from their guests. Here’s an important question to ask: If a VR supplier decides to sell their company and all their digital VR content, IP, and player data to Facebook or some other company, will the OOH venue operators get any of that upside they helped to create? Answer = NO! Many VR companies continue to collect player data from the attractions they sold to OOH entertainment operators. This player data is valuable and can be used to build a loyal following. Again, Facebook and several other companies have bought or have controlling interests in multiple VR companies. Think of OOH VR as Facebook’s and other VR promoters’

One of many Lasertron’s out-of-home arenas Continued on page 48...


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IN MY OWN WORDS ...continued from page 44

ultimate Try-It-Before-You-Buy-It-OOH marketing tool to grow their digital in-home and mobile gaming and entertainment platforms. How much is Facebook paying you for their product placements in your OOH venues? Answer = Zero dollars again! On the most recent post discussing the top in-home VR games of 2020 as reported by techradar on June 4, 2020:

“Gone are the days of limited libraries and repetitive experiences—now that virtual reality is sliding into the mainstream, there’s a wide range of VR games to choose from and whether you like high-octane shooters or slow-andsteady puzzlers you’re going to find a world to get lost in.” In the same article, techradar discussed the rave reviews coming in for Valve’s new VR game, Half-Life: Alyx:

“Some were afraid that Half-Life: Alyx, one of Valve’s first VR games and the first new entry in the series in over a decade, might not live up to the expectations. But, without a shadow

QUESTION NUMBER TWO:

of a doubt, this is a Half-Life game that fills the roomy shoes that Valve left behind in 2007. It’s that good.” techradar then continues,“So grab your PSVR, HTC Vive or Oculus Quest headset, and get ready for the ride of your life with the best VR games of 2020. And, be sure to keep checking back, because as new excellent VR games are released, we’ll be adding them on here.” Important note: Just like the movie studios, VR entertainment providers can easily steer our guests to their current or future online platforms. These platforms will be able to offer our guests a much better overall gaming experience from the comfort of their homes or on their mobile devices 24/7/365 and at a dramatically lower price point. A price point that will be less than one penny per minute of game play compared to 100 pennies per minute for out-of-home venues. If we really want to create more resilient OOH entertainment venues, then we should be investing in OOH attractions that are impossible to replicate for the in-home and mobile entertainment market.

Are we investing in attractions that are unique in our market area?

If our competitors can buy identical or very similar attractions, then those experiences won’t enable us to gain a competitive advantage. The oversaturation of venues with similar and often identical offerings isn’t going to end until we stop purchasing the same “Me too!” entertainment options. The goal is to work with manufacturers and suppliers who are committed to providing our guests with dramatically better

attraction experiences that can only be found out-of- home and exclusively within our venues.

Key Attraction Features: 1. OUT-OF-HOME ONLY (OOH): Real physical experiences that can’t be replicated for the in-home or mobile entertainment market. 2. RADICAL: Our guests are blown away by our attraction because it’s unique and exponentially superior to anything they can experience in-home or OOH in our market area. 3. SOCIAL: Attractions that enable our guests to have fun by participating or playing together with family, friends, groups, coworkers, and fellow guests. 4. HABIT BY DESIGN: Our venues provide our guests with a clear benefit that is truly engaging, effortless, rewarding, and enjoyable to experience. All the parts are designed to enable a strong habit to form - a positive habit that improves our guests’ lives. Continued on page 52...

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IN MY OWN WORDS ...continued from page 48

5. BRANDED: The goal is to operate a high quality, unique, and recognizable national or international brand within our venues. 6. EXCLUSIVE: Only our venue in our market area can have it. This means we have to partner with an attraction manufacturer/supplier who will provide us with a radius protection that enables only our venue to operate the attraction. As an example, how hard and costly would it be to buy a few dozen axes, some wood, chain link fence, and metal posts to build a six lane axe throwing attraction? r Hatchet from Home Depot $45.99 x 24 = $1,104 r 2 x 6 x 12’ lumber for target wall and side walls $8.56 x 100 pcs = $856

In reality, building an axe throwing attraction that is safe and highly durable requires real world experience. In fact, operating an axe throwing attraction safely while simultaneously making the guest experience fun and entertaining is much more complicated than it would appear. Developing any attraction and taking it to the highest level possible is always a very iterative process. With all the above being said, my core point is this: If the barrier-to-entry appears to be very low and the money generated is high or potentially high, then the number of competitors is likely to ramp up very fast, which will ultimately dilute the long-term opportunity. It’s important to note that the more difficult an attraction is to replicate, and the harder it is to operate, the more valuable it can be to the long-term success of a venue. The key is working with the best attraction developers to create superior attraction experiences that are difficult to replicate and require a professional team to operate them. The alternative is an easy-to-replicate and operate attraction which inevitably turns into a bloody red ocean of competition.

r 2 x 4 x 12 foot lumber for framing $5.62 x 84 = $472 r 4’ x 8’ x ½” plywood for lane walls $19.85 x 42 = $834 r 6 ft. x 50 ft. 11.5-gauge galvanized steel chain link fencing $191 dollars x 2 = $382 r 6 ft. 16-gauge galvanized metal post with fasteners, brackets, etc. approximately $65 per post x 14 = $910 r Paint for targets (red, green, and blue) $50 r Miscellaneous fasteners = $100 Total Cost of Materials = $4,708 plus labor, but can probably be constructed using a few beer drinking buddies in exchange for some free craft beers and some axe throwing time. Again, how hard is it to open an axe throwing business? The answer is pretty easy and not very expensive either, or so it would seem.

QUESTION NUMBER THREE:

Are our attractions and services designed to maximize socialization?

Our entertainment venue’s core strength needs to be our ability to facilitate the gathering of friends, family, groups, coworkers, and fellow guests on a regular basis. The key is focusing a significant portion of our resources on figuring out the best ways to maximize human interaction 52

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and connection within our community venues. We do this by making sure our attractions and services are designed to enhance and maximize our guests’ ability to play and socialize with each other.


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IN MY OWN WORDS A few examples:

q Give our guests lots to talk about 1. Multiple games or rounds when participating in an attraction - this will give participants more to talk about 2. Promote and use the most habit-forming game formats during our venue’s primetime hours of operation 3. Tournament events help to build a community of players and fans 4. Visibly post game stats for players, squads, teams, and tournaments on large displays throughout our venue

q Facilitate multiple shared experiences 1. Attractions that allow our guests to play or participate together on a team or squad will maximize the fun and value of our venue’s experiences 2. Areas to gather that make it easy to talk, drink, share a meal, and tell stories during and after an attraction experience 3. Tournament events designed for attracting players and fans q Tools to meet up 1. Ability to email invitations for parties and group gatherings 2. Notifications to friends and family when you make a new reservation 3. Automated weekly tournament qualification ranking updates

q Reasons to return 1. Monthly passes which facilitate return visits in less than 30 days 2. Email reminders of the value remaining on our guests’ monthly cards that will soon expire 3. Notifications to players and squads when they have qualified to play in a tournament event or no longer qualify and must play again to requalify. 4. Promotion of social events

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In summary, there is a lot we can do to separate ourselves from the competition, but it takes time and money to make it happen. That is why it’s so critical to learn as much as we can about the different ways we can dramatically differentiate our venues from our competitors. It’s important to point out that we can’t be dramatically better at all things. We must select the one or two things we have the ability and resources to make 10 times - or at least five times - better. It’s unlikely that we will have the skills and knowhow required to make our chosen attraction experience(s) dramatically better from the very beginning. This is a journey and we must pick the path that is within our capacity to become the very best we can be, but then we must do the iterative work required to make our attraction 10 times better. ❖

Jim has over 30 years of experience in the design, development, and manufacturer of large, multiparticipant attractions as well as the management and operation of entertainment centers that operate multiple attractions and services.



A TALE OF REOPENING

Olympia Lanes, a 40­lane center in Hammond, IN, opens to long lines and a reduced capacity house By Cameron Linder

M

y family and I finally got out of the house and went bowling! Olympia Lanes in Hammond, IN, is a 40-lane center in northwest Indiana that opened for the first time in three months on June 14. As valuable customers of WBPI, I wanted to support the Loxas family by taking my family out to bowl. On opening day, business at Olympia Lanes was BOOMING! Even though the bowl didn’t open until 11a.m., there was a line at the door as early as 9:30 a.m. When we arrived, the house was packed, and there was an hour-and-half long waiting list. With Indiana mandating businesses to operate at 50% capacity, the bowl ran an empty lane between each pair of lanes, allowing them to use about 30 lanes. We got on a lane at 1 p.m.; when we left at 2 p.m. the bowl was still filled with customers. Olympia Lanes owner, Nicholas Loxas, estimates that he had 300 bowlers on opening day. Loxas planned the reopening of his center with the new guidelines in mind: in addition to the social distancing mandate, he also continually communicated with customers to remind them of the social distancing etiquette because, “Floor markings were generally ignored,” Loxas said. All staff were required to wear masks, but customers use of masks was voluntary; most chose to bowl

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The little Linders enjoy their first day out at Olympia Lanes

without one. Olympia Lanes’ hours were reduced in order to have extra time to sanitize and clean the center every morning. House bowling balls, shoes, and all seating areas are disinfected between each use. Each lane’s high-touch areas are cleaned before reissuing it to a new customer. As amazing as his opening was, Loxas remains focused on the health and safety of his staff. “So


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A TALE OF REOPENING I couldn’t be happier for Olympia Lanes and I hope their experience is indicative of what’s to come for other centers when they reopen. In the midst of all the chaos of 2020, I hope this opening day report will give you encouragement and optimism going forward! ❖

Olympia Lanes proprietor Nick Loxas Cameron Linder, CEO of WBPI

far all of the staff has remained healthy. They are taking their health and well- being seriously and are protecting themselves and their loved ones,” remarked Loxas.

Cameron Linder is the CEO of Western Bowling Proprietors Insurance, serving 300+ bowling centers in 30 states for the past 30 years. After graduating from the Air Force Academy and serving as a Captain in the Air Force, Cameron joined his father in the business. After doubling the size of the bowling program, he purchased the business from his father in 2017. With his passionate team of agents, which includes two professional bowlers, he continues to grow the program and fight for bowling proprietors in every way he can.

2

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We’re working hard to support the industry during these difficult times. We can’t wait until we’re ready to get back to a state of play, but until that happens we’ll continue to do our best to support our partners and customers with ideas and resources to get through this, because at the end of the day we’re all connected.

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SHOWCASE NOTE: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, some bowling centers, BECs and FECS have gotten the green light to reopen. This month’s Showcases highlight our devoted advertisers continued support of our industry. They are ready to talk to you about their innovative products. We will get through this together.

FREE REOPENING TECH SUPPORT

Businesses such as bowling and entertainment centers all over the globe have started to transition to reopen. As we continue to navigate the challenges of this worldwide event together, QubicaAMF wants you to know that while things may be changing all around us, we are still here for you when you need us. As we look forward and you begin to prepare for operational readiness, QubicaAMF technical support teams are available to assist you. If you would like to schedule a call, ask questions, or get assistance during your reopening, you can submit your request online at www.qubicaamf.com/free-reopening-tech-support.

BIRTHDAY PARTIES

Birthday parties can be BIG money! QubicaAMF’s Birthday Party QuickStart Program, the first of its kind, has been proven to boost this business segment by 50% or more and attract new open play customers. Families are willing to pay top dollar for a personalized, positive birthday party experience, so make your center their first choice. Great birthday parties provide valuable word-ofmouth advertising and the perfect opportunity to attract new families and kids to your center. The Birthday Party QuickStart Program includes digital in-center and outside center marketing material, along with a comprehensive digital manager’s guide full of tips, tools, and ideas. Learn more at QubicaAMF.com.

PROGRAMMABLE LED SYSTEM

ZOT offers a truly unique LED lighting and control system that is changing the way the industry thinks and markets its business. ColorSplash provides new and existing businesses with the ability to create custom light shows comprising a myriad of colors for an all new entertainment experience and, at the same time, promoting revenue and profit. ColorSplash is more than a lighting system. It’s a marketing tool that can be tailored for virtually any promotion, ranging from birthday parties, corporate team building events, holidays, and major sporting events. For more information contact Steve Szabina, (405) 503-1710; www.colorsplashlighting.com.

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MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION PROGRAM

Brunswick’s Sync One™ is a revolutionary way for centers to update their scoring and management systems by eliminating capital constraints, scoring and hardware obsolescence, increased business complexity, and the financial risks associated with large IT purchases. Sync One is a monthly subscription program that bundles Brunswick’s Cloud marketing system, the OpenLane™ loyalty app and 24/7 technical support, and includes lifetime software upgrades and a lifetime equipment warranty. Sync One delivers all the proven benefits of Sync scoring and management, helping centers increase dwell time, repeat visits, F&B and group sales, guest satisfaction, employee efficiency, lane utilization, and cost control. Sync One also provides frequent updates, with new features rolled out several times each year. Learn more at brunswickbowling.com/SyncOne.



SHOWCASE BRING BOWLERS BACK

Hownd helps local bowling centers reopen to the sights and sounds of customers coming through the doors again when the time is right. Through an elegant combination of web, social, email, and the MyHownd™ consumer mobile app, Hownd drives the Effortless Foot Traffic® needed so you can get back to business and start filling up your lanes once more. Connecting you to the right customers, at the right place, at the right time, Hownd is a proven, fully automated foot traffic platform that generates repeat visitors for local businesses. With Results Delivered Pricing (RDR), you don’t pay until the customers are back. To assist with the economic recovery post COVID19, get the ball rolling with your first 15 customers free!

2020 – A NEW MILESTONE

This year, Steltronic celebrates 40 years in the bowling industry! Plus, this summer is the time for Focus software updates: World bowling scoring method has been implemented! Instant messaging for our scoring monitors! New score sheet printouts with actual pinfall display, ball by ball! Crossed mode (league style) bowling for standalone systems! Imply pinsetters interfaced, a total of 35+ pinsetters interfaced worldwide! Steltronic really believes software updates should be free! We are YOUR bowling center management specialists since 1980. For more information call (800) 942-5939 or info@steltronicscoring.com.

SOCIAL DISTANCING FLOOR DECALS

With social distancing being the new norm in America, eBowl.biz wants to make sure your customers are comfortable as soon as they step back in your center. To help you prepare for that day, eBowl.biz has produced a line of floor decals to guide your customers through proper queuing. They can be used at the front counter, bar service window, snack bar, or anywhere customers line up for service. They are also bowling appropriate and fun!!! To use, simply peel and place on the floor with 6-foot spacing. At $69.95 per 5-pack, they are a real bargain! All orders include FREE shipping to U.S.A. destinations. Call (541) 549-0999 or visit www.eBowl.biz to order.

INTERACTIVE LASER TAG

LASERTRON is the only arena designer offering a turnkey, 100% LED, interactive, and programmable arena with new game formats, including its new Battle Royale game. If you haven’t seen LASERTRON’s presentation or visited one of its company-owned LASERTRON arenas in the last six months, then there are a lot of new updates to learn about. Experience firsthand the most advanced arena at the Rochester, NY, venue or see an online presentation. Call Ann at (305) 257-3930 or email akessler@LASERTRON.us to set up a presentation and a time that works for you. You won’t be disappointed. www.laser-tron.com.

CUSTOM BOWLING WEAR

INVERSE was launched in Spain in 1990 and today is known for its high-quality products with innovative materials and original design. The company lives by and for sports, and from the beginning, INVERSE has made clothing with fabrics and patterns specific to each sport—cycling, running, triathlon, swimming, skiing, and most recently bowling. The company offers design, pattern manufacturing, printing, and tailoring departments, which are coordinated and supervised by a rigorous quality control department. Their polo shirts, jackets, and other accessories are becoming increasingly sought after. See the variety of INVERSE products at www.inverseteams.com. 62

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ZOT ColorSplash Lighting the Way As a business owner you clearly understood the value of adding Ultra Violet/Cosmic lighting that enhanced your customer’s entertainment experience. Today, decades later, there’s a whole new concept: Namely “ColorSplash”— an LED Lighting System that offers a wide variety of colors and light shows that generates HKKP[PVUHS YL]LU\L HUK WYVÄ[Z MVY `LHYZ [V JVTL

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SHOWCASE MESSAGE FROM: OMEGA PATTERN WORKS

USBC APPROVED SYNTHETIC PIN

With its extreme durability, Twister pins have a much longer life than conventional wood pins. Since they don’t compact or compress like wood, there is no need to “rest” or rotate Twister pins or worry about moisture content. Twister pins won’t need to be replaced as often, and additional rotation sets won’t need to be purchased, meaning big savings on your bottom line! Since its shape hardly changes while in play, the flight of Twister pins remains true, even after thousands and thousands of lines of use. Meaning: consistent score-ability and the same pin action from day one! To find out more about Twister and where to find your local distributor, please visit: www.twisterpins.com.

UNITE & HELP

BOWLING LOGO SOCKS

Centers are selling BVL (Bowlers to Veterans Link) logo socks to raise extra cash. Available in stock by popular demand, Bowling Logo Socks sizes are available for youth, teens/women, and men. Mix and match Athletic and Glow Socks by the dozen. Call for details on how your center can use Bowling Logo Socks. Expert Hosiery/Funtime Footwear is THE athletic footwear supplier for bowling, skating, and FECs. Call (919) 799-7707; email support@experthosiery.com; or go to funtimefootwear.com.

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In the effort to keep bowling on people’s minds and to help re-enforce the public effort to combat the COVID-19 disease, US Design Lab LLC has developed a special bowling oriented logo with simple, one word reminders on what all of us can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Gary Smith shared, “We have set up a store where people can purchase t-shirts and other accessory items to help communicate the effort and to help keep bowling ‘top of mind.’ During this campaign, which will run until we all get through this, we will contribute $2 for each t-shirt and $1 for each accessory item sold to The Bowlers To Veterans Link (BVL).” Here is a link to the store: https://teespring.com/stores/us-design-lab “Let’s all help our vets, our industry, and put a smile on our faces. We are in this together.”



SHOWCASE SHOE COVERS

Kegel had announced a partnership with Bowling Buddies, a manufacturer of a patented, single-use bowling shoe cover. The Bowling Buddies shoe cover has a sole with slide and grip material, allowing customers to wear their own shoes instead of wearing rental shoes. Kegel will take on the sales and distribution of this disposable shoe cover which has already made a name for itself at centers across the country. Kegel has acquired all the inventory which will be available for immediate sale to centers on www.kegel.net/bowling-buddies. Chris Chartrand, Kegel CEO, noted that amid the growing concern over sanitation due to COVID-19, one concern is the use of shared items like rental shoes and bowling balls. He said, “Bowling centers should not risk losing a single customer over the discomfort of using these items, and we feel it’s important that they give customers this new option.”

PARTS, PARTS, AND MORE PARTS

Throughout the years, technicians and mechanics have relied on ZOT Pinsetter Parts as a valuable resource for problem-solving products and solutions. Founded in 1964, ZOT is a well-established manufacturer and supplier of unique electronic and mechanical parts and assemblies for centers that are equipped with 82-30, 82-70, 82-90, A, A2, and Jetback pinsetters—products that are frequently the preferred choice of technicians worldwide. ZOT has recently expanded its parts offering to include a line of unique Pinnacle and Dynamic parts. These parts stand alone as solid, proven performers. Check ZOT’s new website at www.zotbowlingparts.com or call toll free (877) 236-8505. ZOT Bowling Parts, Get Right to the Good Parts!

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INSURANCE DURING COVID-19

Western Bowling Proprietors Insurance (WBPI) is the only bowling center insurance program offering limited communicable disease coverage. The sad fact is, nearly every center in the country has an insurance policy that does not help them while they are closed by the government in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Our policies do not cover this exact scenario, however, WBPI does offer a limited communicable disease coverage that would pay for your loss of income and cleaning costs should your facility be closed by the public health authority due to contamination by a customer or employee with COVID-19. As businesses begin to reopen, proprietors worry about being re-closed if someone with COVID-19 visits and contaminates the center. Please call or email us to learn more about this coverage and see if your center qualifies through Western Bowling Proprietors Insurance. (800) 200-9998 or WBPIprogram.com.

MOBILE APP CONNECTION

OpenLane®, the mobile app by Brunswick, makes it possible for your customers to control their experiences from their mobile devices just as they do when booking travel, shopping, or buying a cup of coffee. With OpenLane, guests can sign onto wait lists, track and share their score achievements, and access specials and coupons. They may even edit their names and photos within Sync games, using Brunswick’s patented mobile scoring system integration. OpenLane increases customer loyalty by making it easier and more rewarding to connect with your center. It provides you with one of the most effective marketing tools available today. Visit https://brunswickbowling.com/openlane to learn more.



SHOWCASE MESSAGE FROM: ASTRO CARPET MILLS

Astro Carpets wants to assure our valued customers that our manufacturing facilities are currently fully operational, while also doing our part in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in all areas possible. During this time, our sales and customer service representatives, as well as designers, will work from home offices and continue to be available by both phone and email. For those who are choosing to use this time to invest in your future, we hope you turn to Astro Carpets to help with your renovation or new build flooring needs. This too shall pass, and together we will come out stronger and better than ever! Contact: Stefanie Mantooth at (800) 542-4189 x 836 or visit astrocarpetmills.com.

PROTECTIVE REOPENING EQUIPMENT

To help protect your employees and guests, Redemption Plus has released a line of personal protective equipment including face masks, face shields, floor stickers, acrylic shields, and hand sanitizer. Please consider these items in your reopening plans. Visible protective barriers will help people feel more at ease when visiting your location. All these items are available for purchase through www.redemptionplus.com. Receive 10% off your order by using coupon code SMALLSIGH at checkout. On redemptionplus.com, you will also find our Reopen Toolkit, a collection of resources to help you reopen safely. In the toolkit are downloads, webinar recordings, and a sample reopen marketing plan. Don’t forget, if you need help reopening your redemption area, please call us at (888) 564-7587.

CLEAN UP SOLUTION

MESSAGE FROM SHAFFER DISTRIBUTING

As we, Shaffer Distributing, currently live through the COVID-19 pandemic, we reflect on past experiences that have guided us in becoming the company we have been, are, and will be in the future. Throughout our 91 years serving the amusement game industry, we have weathered 15 different recessions and managed to become a stronger version of ourselves. We look at ways to reshape our organization, not our culture, to insure the long-term success of our operations. We are often asked, “How do you do it?” Well, it’s quite simple. We CARE. We are a family business, and we value our relationships with our employees, customers, and partners that embrace a positive and proactive attitude, every day. We are here for YOU!

Kegel has released its new, advanced house ball and multipurpose cleaner, Micro Striker, for shipping in May. Micro Striker comes in a tablet form which mixes up fresh into a cleaning solution. It contains active chlorine for powerful cleaning performance. The tablets are sold in 50-packs and each tablet can be used to make a 24-ounce bottle. In addition, the bottle includes a special, continuous mist sprayer for each application. Micro Striker tablets can also be used in other containers and spraying devices, including electrostatic sprayers. A starter kit, including two bottles and 50 tablets is available. For info: www.kegel.net.

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SHOWCASE TECHNOLOGY: THE PATHWAY TO CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

The COVID-19 public health crisis has fundamentally changed the way people interact with each other and within their communities. As restrictions are lifted and the entertainment industry begins to reopen, social distancing and crowd management guidelines will impose new operational challenges. Brunswick’s 60-minute presentation demonstrates how you can leverage

technology to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve efficiency, while providing a safe and fun entertainment experience. Learn more at www.brunswickbowling.com/reopen.

SOFTWARE UPDATES FOR NEW NORMAL

TouchDesk III users will be getting an email with a link to information about new software updates available for helping centers cope with the new requirements of operations. According to Glenn Hartshorn at New Center Consulting, one possible requirement already seen in other countries might be contact tracing. This may require the center to be able to provide a report of customers with the dates and times they were at the center. Touch Desk will now make that a standard report in our main report menu function. A hands-free console is another one that might cause some centers problems, but TouchDesk III already has customers who opted to have no consoles, which is made easy by our interactive Desk Software, and we can help our customers eliminate the need for a keypad alto-

MONOPOLY IS BACK!

Betson Enterprises suggests you get into the swing with Monopoly Roll ‘N Go! Skillfully spin the LED-lit dice to land on properties. Collect the same color family to win a Monopoly Bonus. Monopoly Roll ‘N Go features two attractive 55” LED screens combined with the “MUST SPIN” LED-lit dice, creating the game of the decade – the Roaring 20s are back! For more info: www.betson.com/amusement-products/monopoly-roll-n-go.

STRATEGIES FOR REOPENING

gether. Another good feature is our Mobile Touch Desk giving employees the ability to take customers straight to the lane assigned without the need for counter interaction or keypads, a customer service option several of our customers offered pre-COVID. We offer these and other solutions to our nearly 300 customers, giving them a more contactless customer interaction. If you have TouchDesk III or if you need a new system to help you meet new restrictions, give Glenn a call at (248) 375-2751.

Beth Standlee, founder and CEO of TrainerTainment, has focused on reopening in a grand way! As she said in an email, proprietors have a second chance to do all they meant to do. She hosts Peer Talk, a weekly ZOOM meeting to discuss and share ideas, plus other webinars which are helpful in defining core values; new processes; staffing from managers to sales reps to the front line; practice parties; and safety and sanitation procedures. TrainerTainment, Growing People & Businesses, is a coaching company dedicated to guiding centers to the new and better normal. Learn how TrainerTainment can help you. Go to: www.TrainerTainment.net.

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CLASSIFIEDS

BEST DARN DEAL ON THE MIDWAY!!!!! For your average sized center, I can bring 2,000 open bowlers over 5 months. I have dozens of topnotch references.

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BOWLINGFAN

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Kevin Malick since 1991 Bigk2u@yahoo.com |(863) 602-4850 Leave an email address for more info


CLASSIFIEDS

WWW.TEXTBOWLING.COM

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CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE FOR SALE: WOOD LANES, MAPLE & PINE; ANVIL SYNTHETIC LANES; DECKS & FLAT GUTTERS; BRUNSWICK POWER LIFTS; B-2000 HOOD/RACKS; KEGLE ION LANE MACHINE; BRUNSWICK GLO SWING-N-SWIVEL SEATING; STELTRONIC SCORING; PARTS READY FOR PICK UP. EMAIL TODAY! KNOTRITELLC@GMAIL.COM NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com. REPAIR & EXCHANGE. Call for details (248) 375-2751.

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BOWLINGFAN

CENTERS FOR SALE ILLINOIS: 24-lane, recently remodeled center w/ new parking lot. 40,000 s/f on 1.67 acres. Qubica scoring and POS system. Strong leagues w/ 900+ bowlers, also pool leagues. Sports bar & grill, pro shop, video gaming, & banquet hall w/ lots of room to convert. Owner retiring. Call (847) 613-5020 for price & info. NEBRASKA: 32-lane center, land & building. Features Brunswick A2 pinsetters, Brunswick Pro Anvilane lanes, Brunswick 2000 ball returns. Also, large lounge seating to 250; party room seating up to 80; game room, café with established catering service. Center caters in-house and to other locations year-round. For more information, call Don Mehring, Action Holdings Real Estate, office (308) 384-3777 or cell (308) 380-0444.

EQUIPMENT WANTED LANE MACHINES WANTED. We will purchase your KEGEL-built machine, any age or condition. Call (608) 764-1464.

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

SERVICES AVAILABLE Drill Bit Sharpening and Measuring Ball Repair. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com.

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

1-800-700-4539

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/

SELL YOUR CENTER

(818) 789-2695

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CLASSIFIEDS

WWW.TEXTBOWLING.COM PROPRIETORS WITH AMF 82-70 S.S. & M.P. MACHINES Save $$ on P.C. Boards Exchange & Repair!

MIKE BARRETT Call for Price List

Tel: (714) 871-7843 • Fax: (714) 522-0576

VISIT OUR BRAND NEW FACEBOOK PAGE WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/ BOWLINGINDUSTRYMAGAZINE 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

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

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

SELL YOUR CENTER

(818) 789-2695

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REMEMBER WHEN

Remember? One more for the gang! This was summer 2019, back in the normal days. Enjoy!

It’s Charlie Brown Time! Summer – Comradery – Bowling harlie Brown, our quintessential average person, and his pals love to bowl. Competition runs rampant, and no one feels it more than Charlie, who never gives up but rarely wins. Franklin does his best “go get ‘em, rah! rah!” but... as Franklin says, he’s the Charlie Browniest! He speaks to all of us. ❖

C

- Patty Heath

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PHONE: 863-734-0200 FAX: 863-734-0204 | 1951 LONGLEAF BLVD. LAKE WALES, FL 33859 | WWW.KEGEL.NET


WELCOME BACK TO BOWLING CENTER REOPENING MARKETING KIT e ome Back to Bowling Center Reopening As you prepare to reopen, we have created a free digital Welc DĂƌŬĞƟŶŐ <ŝƚ ĨŽƌ LJŽƵ ƚŽ ƵƟůŝnjĞ ƚŽ ǁĞůĐŽŵĞ LJŽƵƌ ĐƵƐƚŽŵĞƌƐ ďĂĐŬ ƚŽ LJŽƵƌ ĐĞŶƚĞƌ͘ dŚĞ Ŭŝƚ ŝƐ ĐŽŵƉůĞƚĞ ǁŝƚŚ͗ • Social posts • Monitor Ads ͻ ŵĂŝů dĞŵƉůĂƚĞƐ

ͻ >ĂďĞůƐ • Outdoor Signage • Checklists

/Ŷ ĂĚĚŝƟŽŶ͕ ǁĞ ŚĂǀĞ ƉƌŽǀŝĚĞĚ Ă Venue Reopening Guide ĨƵůů ŽĨ ŽƉĞƌĂƟŽŶĂů ĐŽŶƐŝĚĞƌĂƟŽŶƐ ĂŶĚ ďĞƐƚ ƉƌĂĐƟĐĞƐ ĂƐ LJŽƵ ƚƌĂŶƐŝƟŽŶ ƚŽ ƌĞŽƉĞŶŝŶŐ͘ ŶĚ͕ ǁĞ͛ůů ĐŽŶƟŶƵĞ ƚŽ ƵƉĚĂƚĞ ƚŚĞ Ŭŝƚ ǁŝƚŚ ŶĞǁ ĐŽŶƚĞŶƚ ĂƐ LJŽƵ ĐŽŶƟŶƵĞ ƚŽ ŽƉĞŶ LJŽƵƌ ĚŽŽƌƐ͊ ŽǁŶůŽĂĚ ĨŽƌ &ƌĞĞ͗ ƋƵďŝĐĂĂŵĨ͘ĐŽŵͬƌĞŽƉĞŶŝŶŐŬŝƚ

WELCOME BACK TO BOWLING!