International Bowling Industry 2019 October Issue

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VOL 27.10

6 SHORTS • IBMHF promotes Kari Smith • Bowlero Corp acquires PBA • Nebraska’s Bill Straub retires • Distribution Center #5 for Classic Products • BVL’s 2018-2019 fundraising surpasses $1.1 Mil

30 TOURNAMENTS ‘Double Nickel’ Competition


PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager Skype: scottfrager


Excitement grows for the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup

By Paul Lane


CONTRIBUTORS Patty Heath Paul Lane Joan Taylor



By Patty Heath

36 OFF THE GRID Mission Accomplished! David “Kilroy” Kellerman conquered the Appalachian Trail for BVL and to honor our veterans. By Patty Heath

14 PROFILE Lucky By Choice PJ Rosendahl reimagines ZOT Colorsplash

ART DIRECTION & PRODUCTION Designworks (818) 735-9424

FOUNDER Allen Crown (1933-2002)

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

By Paul Lane

HOTLINE: 818-789-2695 30

40 Showcase 42 Classifieds 22 COVER STORY The Bowling-Centerto-FEC Challenge Georgia proprietor Steve Brown and family nail it By Joan Taylor

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 2019, B2B Media, Inc. No part of this magazine may be reprinted without the publisher’s permission.





October 2019



FAT CATS #2 IN ARIZONA Fat Cats, a Utah-based entertainment center, is expanding its Phoenix-area presence. In 2015, the company opened in Gilbert. In November, it plans to open its latest venue in northeast Mesa with another location to follow in 2020. The complex will offer eight movie screens and 20 lanes of bowling, plus an arcade, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, a party room, and virtual reality activities. There will also be a restaurant and bar. Fat Cats started in Salt Lake City, UT, in 2001 and now has four locations in Utah and one each in Idaho and Colorado.

WHEN IN DOUBT… RENOVATE! Skyline Lanes and Volleyball in Duluth, MN, is no more. However, after a full multi-million-dollar remodel and rebranding, Skyline Social and Games will take its place. There will be new games, entertainment, and refurbished lanes. The space will have a modern, industrial look, appealing to younger adults. Yet family will not be left out. Bryce Smith, owner of Adel Family Fun Center, Adel, IA, is always looking to improve his 61-year-old facility. The latest round of improvements included all the capping and the bumper system which is now automatic. The bar area was redesigned with repurposed lanes from a Dallas bowling center and used for the tops of the tables and bar. Previously, the restrooms were redone, everything, inside and out, was painted, and new air conditioning was installed. Here comes that duck again. Ropewalk Tavern is in its 25th year in Baltimore, MD. To revitalize, mini duckpin lanes have been added, along with virtual reality, gaming, and arcade systems. It is all about bringing in local clientele. Another Baltimore hangout that is upping its game is Mustang Alley. New owners have refinished the cherry wood floors and freshened up the paint. The center offers both ten pin and duckpin bowling.

GROOVY REDESIGN The 50+ year-old Royal Oak’s Bowlero in Royal Oak, MI, needed a lot of TLC and vision. Kelly and Dean Elliott, along with business partner Dave Zainea of Detroit’s Garden Bowl, had just that. They kept the 70s-80s charm— retro-funky— but gave it a clean, crisp look. It almost A litt le old… looks space age.

. A lot new

FORT WORTH WELCOMES PUNCH BOWL SOCIAL Punch Bowl Social, the Denverbased FEC chain, is now open for business in Fort Worth, TX. It offers craft libations, karaoke rooms, an arcade, eight mini-bowling lanes, and darts. It has garnered rave reviews since August on Yelp. “We mini-bowled for an hour, and it was an absolute blast!” said one of the first reviewers.

OTTAWA’S FUSION ALLEY What does an Ottawa physician do on his days off? In the case of Ken Frank and his wife, Shelly, they, along with other local investors, decided to open a 12-lane bowling center. The Canadian capitol has not had bowling in nearly two decades. Fusion Alley is open and offering bowling; a game room, Cole’s Corner, featuring an arcade and other games; party rooms; and an upscale sports bar and restaurant called Prime Time Grille. The goal was to enhance the community, and Frank shared with Jennifer McDaniel of The Ottawa Herald, “Everyone in that group [investors] has a deep-seated desire to see Ottawa become a better place to live and raise a family.” Fusion Alley will also become the home for Ottawa University’s bowling team.

100 YEARS OLD AND BRAND NEW A year ago, Schwoegler’s Park Towne Lanes was a pool of water with pins floating all around. With no flood insurance, it could not have been a more challenging situation. However, with the help of employees and customers, owner Robert Bloxham was able to reopen and begin planning for the center’s 100th anniversary.



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‘LAST NIGHT AT BOWL-MOR’ The Greater Boston Stage Company (GBSC) starts its 20th season with a world premiere of artistic director Weylin Symes’ Last Night at BowlMor Lanes. With bowling as the springboard, the play looks at friendship, love, and competition, through Ruth and Maude who have been having a ‘friendly’ competition for 49 years, or, stated another way, it is an “unforgettable evening of drunkenness, debauchery, and very bad bowling.” A back note: the basement of GBSC once housed a bowling alley under the rehearsal room floors. Symes shared, “And believe it or not, my father actually used to set pins in the alley when he was a teenager.”

BOWLERO CORP BUYS PBA Bowlero Corp has purchased the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) for an undisclosed amount. Founded in 1958 by Eddie Elias, the PBA has more than 3,000 members from 30 countries who compete in a multi-level competition program each year. Bowlero is the largest owner and operator of bowling centers in the world, with more than 300 locations across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. According to the press release, all scheduled tournaments and programming will continue, with plans to build upon key initiatives including the PBA’s FOX Sports partnership. Bowlero’s Chief Customer Officer Colie Edison will serve as CEO, while Tom Clark will continue in his role as PBA commissioner. “This acquisition is about leveraging resources to give the PBA Tour the support and funding it deserves, building value for dedicated members nationwide, and expanding the brand’s overall visibility,” Edison said.

CLASSIC PRODUCTS ADDS 5TH DISTRIBUTION CENTER Classic Products has added its fifth distribution center in Henderson, NV. This will expand the next-day delivery capabilities in the Southwest. The other locations are in Largo, FL; Garland, TX; Fort Wayne, IN; and Auburn, WA. The Henderson location is scheduled to begin shipping in early October. The sales staff will be comprised of Bob Andrews, Jeff Gray, Chris Funk, and Ray Ardeneaux who already work closely with shops and centers in Nevada and all other nearby states. “The growth and support of bowling in the Las Vegas community and surrounding areas makes this an ideal location for us to offer what we do best for the bowling community in a timely manner,” said Jimmy Land, vice president of operations. 8


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Bay Tek Entertainment, in Pulaski, WI, held an open house to celebrate and share with customers its newly expanded building. The 42-year-old, family-owned company increased its corporate headquarters from 60,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet. The open house also kicked off the launch of the new Skee-Ball Wisconsin State Lottery scratch-off tickets. Skee-Ball is an 111-yearold brand which falls under the Bay Tek umbrella.

IN REMEMBRANCE NANCY STARR Nancy Starr shared her professional goal: “Bring together a select group of small business owners who want to grow and inspire others... Explore, discover, dry tears, clap for ideas, inspire, challenge, model, nurture, encourage, forgive, share my wisdom, laugh a lot.” According to Beth Standlee, TrainerTainment, this is exactly what Starr did. She and Standlee developed TrainerTainment’s business coaching program in 2013. She was integral in the success of the company and personally coached more than 15 TrainerTainment clients. She was active in the company up until she passed. Starr lost her 2.5-year battle with cancer Aug. 24.


ß BITS & PIECES ß ß ß New Mexico Open Winner Duane Mellinger, a 57-year-old recent inductee into the Colorado State Bowling Hall of Fame, became the oldest winner of the New Mexico Open at Tenpins & More in Rio Rancho, NM. The 16th annual event attracted bowlers from Canada and 13 states, including North Carolina and Oregon. It paid out a record Photo Credit: Tony Claire $65,075, much of it from corporate and local sponsors, bringing the total paid since 2004 to more than $656,000. Next year’s tournament is set for Aug. 14 - 16. --------------------------------------------------------------------

World Bowling & CBS Sports Network team up World Bowling, the governing body for tenpin bowling, has signed a multi-year agreement with CBS Sports Network. This will be the first partnership for both and will see CBS Sports Network exclusively televise World Bowling content. CBS Sports Network is a 24-hour service and is available through all major cable, satellite, and telco distributors, as well as streaming service providers. --------------------------------------------------------------------

Cali’s Earthquake Takes Its Toll Ridgecrest, CA, is home to Sierra Lanes which has been the city’s center for 32 years. July 4th weekend this year brought more fireworks than normal. A 7.1 earthquake, followed by a 6.4 earthquake, shook up the town of close to 29,000. This event, which was the biggest quake in 20 years, pushed the center to close. --------------------------------------------------------------------

FECs a Growing Trend in India FECs are designed to engage families, offering a variety of activities. According to an article by Seema Masrani, titled “Family Entertainment Centers – The Growing Trend in India,” found in Entrepreneur India, the FEC concept, started in the U.S., is now the mainstay of the shopping mall industry in India.



October 2019

PEOPLEWATCHING IBMHF has named Kari Smith as curator and program manager. Smith has been a member of the museum staff for the last four years as tour director and gift shop manager. She holds bachelor’s degrees in history and English from the University of North Texas and earned a master’s degree in museum science from Texas Tech Kari Smith University. As curator, Smith will be responsible for the satellite exhibits at USBC Open and Women’s Championships, plus the exhibits at the museum in Arlington. Long-time Nebraska assistant coach, Paul Klempa, has been named the new head coach of the Husker bowling program, replacing Bill Straub who has retired. Klempa, a Nebraska alum who bowled as a member of the university’s men’s bowling team in the 1990s and claiming AllAmerican honors, has been an assistant Paul Klempa with the women’s team since bowling became a varsity sport at Nebraska in 1997. Klempa earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Nebraska in 1994.

Gone but Never Forgotten With the announcement of his retirement, University of NebraskaLincoln loses its one and only bowing coach. Bill Straub began coaching the men’s and women’s club programs in 1983. He then moved to the university and ran the bowling program from its inception in 1996. During that time, he coached his teams to 10 national titles: IBC titles in 1991, 1995, 1997, and 1999; and the NCAA championships in 2004, 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2015. His program has been featured in the New York Times and on HBO. After some health issues, Straub decided to slow down, but not before his daughter, Meghan, had exhausted her eligibility. His wife, Kim, also retired from her position as the team’s office Bill Straub, Nebraska’s bowling coach, manager. It is now time to move is surrounded by his support system, on... but bowling is in the Straubs’ wife, Kim (L) and daughter, Meghan (R). Photo credit: Chris Machian, The World blood, so it won’t be far. Herald

SHORTS BVL’S 2018-19 FUNDRAISING TOPS $1.1 MILLION For the third consecutive fiscal year, BVL (Bowlers to Veterans Link) has raised more than $1.1 million to support recreation therapy grants to VA hospitals and clinics for America’s veterans and active duty service members. Since 1942, it has raised more than $50 million. Mary Harrar, BVL executive director, noted that donations from bowling centers were up $65,000 over the previous year. “We are very grateful to the bowling community,” said John LaSpina, BVL board chair. “These funds will have a direct impact on veterans’ lives by funding much-needed recreation therapy programs and services.”


Lots of good events helping organizations and charities across the country. Here are a few: Pikeside Bowl in Martinsburg, WV, held The Eastern Panhandle Board of Realtors’ annual charity bowling tournament to benefit local nonprofits. The event started in 2005 as a golf tournament. In 2015, the first bowling tournament was held instead, and since then bowling has been the mainstay, with the organization having raised over $107,000. All the proceeds from the event will benefit Horses with Hearts, CASA of the Eastern Panhandle, and Hope Center. Bowling for Pets filled the Riverside Lanes at Riverside Resort, Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, NV, to help a local organization, Saving Animals In Need Together (SAINT). The proceeds will be used for SAINT’s programs such as adoption, fostering, spay and neutering cost reduction, and emergency medical care assistance. Ran-Ham Bowling Center in St. Paul, MN, has a unique way of using one dollar bills. Ten years ago, a patron put a one dollar bill on the ceiling. Off the tradition went and today one dollar bills cover the bar, ceiling, and walls. Owner Mike Runyon decided something should be done with all the ‘atmosphere.’ This holiday season, he plans to take down half of the dollars and donate them to charity. “It’s always nice to give back, and I think, you know, it’s the old Christmas ‘it’s better to give than receive’ kind of thing.” Everyone is invited to add to the wall, ceiling, or bar. Bowling for Bread is a ‘friendraiser’ raising money for 14 children’s charities during the Boca Helping Hands 13th annual event held at Strikes@Boca in Boca Raton, FL. Approximately 200 children from various children’s organizations in Palm Beach County will bowl, eat, and receive trophies. All the nonprofit organizations covered provide food, medical, and financial assistance.

STRIKE OUT SUICIDE The Kristen Amerson Youth Foundation (KAYF) is a nonprofit organization promoting healthier lives for youth and providing resources for suicide prevention. Oct. 5, it celebrated its inaugural Strike Out Suicide Bowling Night at Bowlero in Tuscaloosa, AL. KAYF’s goal was to raise more than $10,000.

STRYKES FOR TYKES The annual Strykes for Tykes, hosted by the Wooster Exchange Club, was held at Wayne Lanes in Wooster, OH. $13,800 was raised for the Wayne County Children’s Advocacy Center, whose mission is child abuse prevention and community service. The center is a centralized location for interviewing and examining children who are victims of sexual abuse and severe physical abuse. Opened in 2000, it has worked with over 2,350 children in the community.

VETS BOWL IN 3RD AWBA INVITATIONAL Thunderbowl in Council Bluffs, IA, was the location for the third annual Great Plains PVA/AWBA Invitational. Participants came from as far away as Florida and Colorado and represented 16 states. Paralyzed Veterans of America Great Plains Chapter helped in the organizing, along with tournament director, Dave Nelson. The first day began David Nelson Jr., right, gets with bowlers receiving a swag a high five at Thunderbowl during competition. bag consisting of a polo shirt and Photo credit: Joe Shearer, Storm bowling bag filled with bowling accessories. Speaking to Courtney Upah of, Nelson shared, “I wish [everyone] could come out and see it. It’s awesome. You can see what the wheelchair bowlers can do and not what they can’t do.”

What is your center doing? Email Patty Heath at 12


October 2019


PJ Rosendahl president and owner of ZOT Pinsetter Parts

PJ Rosendahl reimagines ZOT Colorsplash By Paul Lane


eter John Rosendahl, better known in the industry as PJ, the president and owner of ZOT Colorsplash, has a long and storied career in both the sport and industry of bowling. His passion for the sport began with duckpin bowling as a child in a small center in Seymour, CT. PJ eventually wanted to throw a bigger ball, so he started tenpin bowling; he loved the sport so much, he had aspirations of becoming a professional bowler. After he graduated from high school in 1982, PJ set about fulfilling that aspiration by working as a pinchaser in a local center so he could bowl for free. In 1991, PJ fulfilled his dream and became a member of the PBA, bowling mostly on the eastern regional circuit and in the occasional national event, including the USBC Masters. In 1995, he surrendered his PBA card and became the lanesman for the Eastern Regional Tour. But not before meeting his future wife, Debbie, who was enrolled in a series of Improve Your Bowling classes at a center in East Harford, CT, after she won a U.S. Open qualifier and PJ became her coach. Debbie, who is a former member of the PWBA, later became PJ’s sponsor on the PBA tour. Debbie and PJ, who just celebrated their 25th anniversary, were married in a church in Seymour, CT, and had their wedding reception in a bowling center.



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Debbie and PJ threw their first bowling balls together as a married couple, followed by their first dance. They had matching bowling balls and shoes, with Debbie wearing her wedding gown, and PJ decked out in a tuxedo. PJ’s bowling center experience as a pinchaser, lanesman, and ultimately head mechanic served as steppingstones for the future. As a mechanic, he gained valuable experience with capital equipment from AMF and Brunswick. With his innate ability to understand the inner workings of both the electronic and mechanical aspects of the equipment, PJ routinely took preventive maintenance measures and was able to troubleshoot to resolve most issues. This got the attention of bowling distributors and manufacturers, leading to a whole new mechanically-focused career, starting when he was hired by BowlMaster Bowling Supplies in East Granby, CT. Even though PJ had worked in bowling centers for a number of years, he did not begin to truly understand the industry until he joined BowlMaster as their technical service representative and salesman. The late Bob Maulucci, the president of BowlMaster, became a mentor to Debbie Rosendahl, executive vice president and CFO of Zot Pinsetter Parts PJ. Maulucci saw PJ’s potential and


PJ welcoming Steve Szabina on his first day as sales manager for ZOT

encouraged him to learn more about the industry through hands-on experience. And learn he did. In his capacity as a technical service manager at BowlMaster, he learned the importance of talking to mechanics like a long lost friend. He was able to empathize with them because PJ remembered that at one time, he was that mechanic. He familiarized himself with the various aftermarket product brands Bowlmaster carried, including those of two Denver-based manufacturers: ZOT Pinsetter Parts and Vantage. The lessons he learned eventually took him to Denver in 1998 to manage technical service and sales at ZOT Pinsetter Parts, Inc. PJ was the logical choice — he had the technical service experience in both major brands of capital equipment, and he was already familiar with the ZOT product line which he’d sold extensively during his tenure at BowlMaster. PJ worked as the technical service manager at ZOT for six years. In 2004, PJ resigned from ZOT to become the brand manager for parts for Vantage after the company became a part of Ebonite International. He stayed with Vantage until Ebonite sold it to QubicaAMF in 2009. After Vantage was sold, PJ had to think long and hard about what to do next. It was time to take stock; he decided to start his own business. As all entrepreneurs know, this decision triggered deep soul-searching and sleepless, worried nights. It was a dark period in PJ’s life; the start-up highlighted his lack of knowledge and experience in areas such as financing. He had to scramble to get the business off the ground and make it work. But this difficult period was a valuable, growth experience that led PJ to a new opportunity. In 2012, Roger Lindblad, the president and owner of 16


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ZOT, called PJ to ask if he knew anyone who could repair PC boards at the component level. “Yes, me,” he said. Roger and PJ quickly worked out the details and a few weeks later he was back. PJ’s experience in brand management, plus a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management, which he earned during his first tenure at ZOT, soon led to PJ being promoted to ZOT’s general manager. ZOT was developing a DMXcontrolled RBG and white LED pindeck light. But PJ knew that Tenpintec in Australia had developed a similar product and was already selling it; PJ and Tenpintec quickly came to an arrangement whereby ZOT would manufacture the product in Denver, eliminating costly research and development expenditures and shipping expenses. The product was rebranded as ZOT ColorSplash. PJ soon expanded the range of products under the ColorSplash brand to include LED lighting solutions for most of the additional amenities offered in a modern FEC. Apart from the pindeck light fixture, the expanded product line was no longer limited to the bowling industry, thereby opening up new growth opportunities for ZOT. While all this was happening, Roger Lindblad was planning his retirement, and PJ, having become more involved in the day-to-day business at ZOT, recognized that the company had great potential for growth; ZOT was well- established and had a good reputation. The idea of purchasing ZOT from Roger began to develop. PJ knew and understood that it was the ideal time to kick-start and reenergize the company, taking it to a higher level. PJ remembers, “Roger was thinking more about retirement than expansion, and we worked together to make it possible for me to purchase the company.” PJ already enjoyed a good relationship with a vast network of vendors and distributors necessary to make the purchase work. It came down to daily management of the company’s finances.

Roger Lindblad handing over the keys of ZOT to PJ saying, “It’s all yours, PJ!”

PROFILE Finances proved to be the biggest challenge for PJ. While he had learned a few basics when he started his first business, the most challenging issue he had to deal with was, in his words, “Financing, financing, financing. It’s not like being a department manager in a company and being given a set of goals and a budget to work with.” Purchasing ZOT was a whole new ballgame, and there was much to learn, on the job quickly. He needed to arrange and manage financing for both the company’s immediate needs and future growth plans. The list was endless. And he had to learn to manage growth while it was happening, which is not just about increasing sales. PJ understands the business PJ and Paul Lane at the Bowltech today, and he says that if an European Trade Show in Made, owner is not prepared or does the Netherlands not have a plan in place to manage growth, things like customer service, employee morale, and product quality will soon spiral out of control and become unmanageable. When PJ took over ZOT, he inherited a company that had survived the recession but paid the price by having to cut costs. A more aggressive marketing strategy became an integral part of ZOT’s new beginning and long-range plans for the future. PJ and his team developed a series of impactful marketing strategies: national print advertisements were reinstated in the trade media; an updated website dedicated to the new ZOT ColorSplash LED lighting range of products; expanded participation in trade shows (including Bowl Expo and IAAPA Expo); a series of high quality, image-driven collateral sales materials; and increasing social media marketing across the traditionally popular platforms. PJ is not afraid to try new things — he leans more towards new experiences, growth, and change as a way of life. At the recent Bowl Expo in Las Vegas, Ray Jordan of Tenpintec in Australia commented, “PJ has a vivid imagination, and there’s a constant flow of new and innovative ideas that he is able to communicate and clearly articulate.” PJ’s management style is that of a straight shooter: he’s decisive, which means employees and customers rarely have to wait for a decision. PJ believes decisions should be made quickly based on the best information available at that moment. PJ’s number one priority is to make sure his employees are taken care of at all times. He said, “We are only as good as our employees, and we have a responsibility as business owners to support and take care of them.” With changes afoot, PJ hired Steve Szabina as sales manager, and Zach Parmer as AV and ColorSplash project manager. Debbie, who had a 15-year career in the banking industry, became the company’s executive vice president and CFO. ZOT’s new business model is working, and the company is poised 18


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for growth. “It [ZOT’s growth] made me realize that we can rise to almost any challenge if we put our mind to it,” says PJ, “but it’s not without sacrifice, a lot of perspiration, and a few scary moments.” The reenergized ZOT Bowling Parts and ZOT ColorSplash departments are still growing. So what’s next? PJ has many things in the hopper, including finding a more modern and spacious facility to house ZOT’s corporate headquarters. A show room, complete with bowling lanes and machines to showcase ZOT’s diverse and growing range of products, will be the

PJ presenting an Outstanding Acheivement Award to Eastern Sports’ Masanori Kato (left) and Akira Nakano (right) at the June 2003 BowlExpo

anchor of the new headquarters and will ensure ZOT has the space and wherewithal to better manage current and future business. The new headquarters will help to maintain and improve customer service, while updating the working environment for ZOT’s employees. Is PJ a lucky person? “If being in the right place at the right time is considered ‘lucky,’ then maybe. But, being in the right place at the right time has no meaning unless you recognize and seize the moment and the opportunity it presents, and that part is not luck, it’s a skill set.” ❖

Paul Lane is former Director of Marketing and Marketing Services for AMF Bowling, Inc. He has been the director of 18 AMF World Cups, an officer in national and international trade associations, and a pro bowler during a career that spans more than 60 countries and 50 years.


By Joan Taylor e never planned to own bowling centers, but native Georgian Steve Brown is approaching his 50th year of “doing this crazy stuff.” Adding to the craziness was the recent $2,000,000 in renovations and upgrades at both of his bowling centers, Fun Bowl Fayetteville and Fun Bowl of Henry County. “Back in my day,” Brown said, “we had wooden lanes and no computers. Now we have a generation that doesn’t know how to keep score! Another major change in our business was [taking] out smoking in our centers two years ago; [that] created a whole different environment. To a great extent we changed the way the model looked. I feel better about our future than I [have] felt in many years because of all the ‘toys’ that we have now.” Once the centers were updated, the business focus has been on the whole family, hence the transition to an FEC model: both 32-lane centers received new furniture from Brunswick and QubicaAMF; each center transformed their simple game rooms into redemption centers and installed the Embed card system. Brown is a realist, a businessman, and a family man. “In this age 22


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COVER STORY of the modern bowling center, you have to have all the revenue instead of sharing it with other vendors. For forty years, I shared the game revenues. It was time to buy the games outright. My son, Matt, headed up the remodeling project. But he didn’t realize that he would be buying all these games for our company. We had to make some significant changes to compete in the marketplace. So we made the decision to go all in.” Going back to the family’s original Fun Center dynasty, Brown said, “We had five centers at one time around Atlanta but [we] sold three of them; we didn’t own the real estate at those three. But we did in Fayetteville and Henry County — the best tenant is yourself.” The two Brown-owned centers do not share the same business model. Fayetteville was built in the 1980s, and Brown says, “The footprint was smaller, whereas Henry County has a bigger footprint spanning more land, so we are able to do more there. Fun Bowl of Henry County has outdoor miniature golf, billiards, bowling, laser tag, and games galore.” One exceptional purchase at Bowl Expo for the Henry County location was Hologate by Creative Works. Hologate is a virtual reality attraction featuring nine games of up to four people. “Instead of just playing the game,” Brown explained, “you are inside the game playing with three other people.” The annual Bowl Expo is where Brown and Matt have gone faithfully over the years. “I try to look for a nugget every year,” says Brown. “I am not ashamed to say I still learn a lot.” Keith Padgett from Zone Company, Inc. put in the Henry County laser tag equipment. David Capilouto from Betson Enterprises designed, consulted, built, and outfitted the redemption center. The Browns ended up with 40 games at Fun Bowl of Henry County, and

BETSON ENTERPRISES David Capilouto is regional vice president for Betson Enterprises, the family entertainment center specialists. But he is more than that; he is a friend of Steve Brown and the Brown family. Capilouto and Brown met when Brown managed centers in the Atlanta market around 1987. Capilouto had been in the distribution end since 1975. While it took Brown and his son, Matt, four years to meticulously research how to remodel and update their two bowling centers, Capilouto was not surprised at the length of time it took them to decide what was best for their businesses. “This happens often when someone is making a large investment and making this type of transition,” says Capilouto. “Steve has always been very thorough in his decisionmaking, and, once he realized that his son, Matt, was very capable, it was time for the transition and to build his business to a new level. Owning his games has helped him reach that goal.” Was it renovation or remodeling? “It was remodeling that was fairly extensive throughout the bowling center(s), but very limited remodeling in the game room. He had games and an operator all the years that he has been in business. So, some electrical work was done, and in one of his locations we removed a wall to extend a party area which turned out to be a nice move.” It sounds as if it would have taken weeks or maybe months, but Capilouto proudly says, “We were on the property on Monday and out by Friday at both locations. This is very normal for Betson.” “I’ve been in the industry for over 44 years,” says Capilouto, “and the reason I continue to love what I do is some of the relationships that I have fostered over that [time]. It gives me great pride and pleasure to work with people who not only take my advice, but also make decisions that are based on our relationship. The Browns, both Steve and Matt, have given me that pleasure, and we at Betson are truly blessed to have them as partners on this journey together.”

Matt (left) with father Steve Brown


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COVER STORY 20 games at the Fayetteville location. The game ratio is 70% redemption, 20% video games, and 5% merchandisers. The process of obtaining funding to grow his business was a great experience for Brown. “I have to give credit to Doug Kilroy from the Smart Biz Company. He did the leg work for me to get a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. Tom Zernick from First Home Bank did all of the financing for the remodeling,” says Brown. Upgrades or renovations won’t stop here, though. Brown says that they are always looking to improve. “It’s about growing the revenues. I learned this: expenses never go down. Your revenues have to grow with the expenses. You need a net profit to stay

viable. One of the biggest assets for me and my wife, Jackie, is that we have a son in the business. I’m excited because we have a younger generation that spends money differently from the older generation. It’s important to have

someone [younger] on our team to [understand] the changes, and that person happens to be our son. One change over the years is the evolution of the charge card machine; now we swipe the cards and have the money by 6 p.m. We do about 78% of our business with debit and charge cards. It helps us to reach the younger families today because they don’t carry cash anymore.”

Brown worked in bowling centers early on as a youth bowler. “I started 26


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COVER STORY non-league. So what we have is fun for everybody. We have to be many things to many people.”

working in a bowling center in 1969 when I was 12 years old, picking up the trash in the parking lot and then getting promoted to cleaning the bathrooms. My brother, Mike, and I started working there together. We bowled there as well; I won Youth Bowler of the Year in Atlanta in 1974 and [Mike] won in 1973. We enjoyed bowling together. He has since passed on, but we grew up in this business together. I stayed with it in Atlanta, running pinsetters, being a mechanic and then in 1976 managing centers. I still love the game and running centers even more today than back then.” So with Jackie, Matt, and Steve all involved in the business, is there any time for outside hobbies? Brown laughed, “Golf. I love golf. It’s a good thing, too, because I once had occasion to bowl in front of Bowling Hall of Fame coach Fred Borden at one of our clinics. He asked me to throw a couple of shots, and then two more. I asked how I did, and he advised me to take up golf.” Brown has set a good example for center owners who might want or need to remodel. “Go to other centers,” he said. “About every other year we look at other centers, see what they are doing, and get more information as far as traffic flows and patterns go. I would suggest lining yourself up with a vendor or vendors who have been in the bowling side of business for many years. When people tell me they want to get into this business, I challenge them to work for six months in a bowling center, especially weekends. It’s different owning something versus enjoying something; it’s a long-term investment.” With all of the innovations and updates in the bowling business, Brown still relies on old school customer relations methods. “I was trained by some good, independent bowling centers in Atlanta,” explains Brown. “We had to go from one end of the center to the other and speak to everybody. I was told, ‘The office doesn’t make any money. The money is where the people are — out on the lanes.’ It’s good advice even today. In today’s environment, most centers can’t depend on the league bowler; 88% of our business is 28


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While daughter, Katie, is an insurance underwriter, son, Matt, is a lifer in the bowling business. “He has been in the business since he was six years old,” Brown said. Brown’s wife, Jackie, is ensconced in the accounting end of the business; she is training daughterin-law, Lucy, in all aspects of the centers’ accounting department. Even Brown’s mother, Mary Lilquist, 79, comes in seven days a week and processes the daily reports. “If something happens to me, I know the centers will keep [going] on. They have sustainability as small businesses, largely because I made Matt an equal partner.” Brown is subliminally grooming the next generation of customers, as his five grandchildren,

ages 12 down to one, frequent the centers to play the games. Well played, sir, well played. ❖

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





n November 16th, 2019, bowlers, coaches, officials, supporters, and international journalists from over 80 countries will arrive in Palembang, Indonesia, for the 55th Annual QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup Tournament. Mrs. Hj. Percha Leanpuri B.Bus., MBA, president of the Indonesian Bowling Federation (PBI), said, “We are delighted to have been selected as the hosts of this most prestigious tournament. And I can promise all bowlers, officials, and visitors a very warm welcome and a most memorable 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup. We are looking forward to meeting you here in Palembang in November.”

Host center, Jakabaring Bowling Center (Photo courtesy of Terence Yaw, ABF Online) 30


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Palembang is the capital city of the Indonesian province of South Sumatra. The host venue for the tournament is a 40-lane center located within the vast Jakabaring Sports City Complex, an Olympic-style, multisport complex which was the host venue for the Asian Games in August of 2018 that included bowling. A total of 166 athletes from 18 nations competed in bowling at these games, all vying for gold, silver, and bronze medals in team and individual events. Director of ABS Pte Ltd., QubicaAMF’s official distributor for Indonesia, James Murray, commented, “The 40-lane bowling center has the latest QubicaAMF bowling equipment, including BES X Ultimate Scoring, ensuring the bowlers will have some of the best playing conditions in the world. We at ABS, together with the wonderful people of Palembang, are looking forward to welcoming the world’s leading bowlers, their supporters, and visitors in November and to show them our beautiful city.” A full-service pro-shop and café will also be added to the center in time for the tournament. “What a wonderful venue!” added Pat Ciniello, chairman of the board of QubicaAMF. “It is indeed an honour for bowling, particularly for the Bowling World Cup, that we are part of such superb sports facilities here in Palembang. I am so grateful to H. Herman Deru, S.H., M.M, Governor of South Sumatra, for supporting the event, and to the president of the Indonesia Federation, Mrs Hj. Percha Leanpuri B.Bus., MBA, chairwoman of the local organizing committee.” This is a return visit to Indonesia for the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, which was last held in Jakarta in 1980 when 35 countries participated; less than half the number Mrs. Percha Leanpuri, the expected at this year’s event. A 23-year old president of the Indonesian Paeng Nepomucemo won his second of four Bowling Federation (Photo World Cup victories that year (and a world- courtesy of Terence Yaw, record) after an epic three game 676-663 dual ABF Online)

TOURNAMENTS with Mexico’s Alfonso Rodriguez. The women’s division was won that year by Canada’s Jean Gordon. In August, Anne-Marie Board, the tournament manager for QubicaAMF, Bernard Gibbons, the tournament director,

Mrs. Percha Leanpuri, president of the Indonesian Bowling Federation, with QubicaAMF World Cup tournament director, Bernard Gibbons, who is presenting Mrs. Percha with an Irish linen handkerchief.

and James Murray, director of ABS, QubicaAMF’s distributor, visited Palembang to meet with Chairwoman Leanpuri and Governor Deru to plan the myriad aspects of the tournament: hospitality, receptions, banquets, the official hotel, the opening and closing ceremony, transportation, manpower, tourism, entertainment, and arrangements for a well-appointed media facility for the local and world press. Each is an essential element that contributes to the uniqueness of the event. The excitement for the tournament will be felt immediately as bowlers and supporters arrive at Palembang’s International Airport, where there’s a massive floor-to-ceiling, wall-sized banner promoting the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup Tournament. The banner has been in place since August. Arriving bowlers and guests will be greeted with cultural dancing and music, and a team of locals will be assigned to meet and greet the visitors, escorting them to the hotel. The five-star Wyndham OPI Palembang has been designated as the official

tournament hotel, which is connected to an upscale shopping mall with a light rail transit train station that has stops throughout the city and Palembang International Airport. After the welcome reception, the bowlers will assemble at the Jakabaring Bowling Center for the ball control check and official practice. This will be followed by the opening ceremony, a colourful event full of pageantry, entertainment, and speeches by dignitaries from the Indonesian government. The center will be decked out with the flags of all the participating nations and the ceremony gets underway with a parade of nations. The women’s representative from Indonesia will take the Oath to Sportsmanship on behalf of all the players, and the chief marshal will take the same oath on behalf of all the officials. The tournament ends after six days of intense competition with the men’s and

Anne-Marie Board, QubicaAMF World Cup tournament manager, trying her hand at making a Songket during a visit to Zianal Songket in Palembang. Songket is a fabric that belongs to the brocade family of textiles that is handwoven in silk or cotton, and intricately patterned with gold or silver threads. The metallic threads stand out against the background cloth to create a shimmering effect.


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TOURNAMENTS intense competition with the men’s and women’s finals and trophy presentations to the individual first, second, and third place finishers. The high game award and the award to the highest scoring country will also be given. The victory banquet will be held in the ballroom of the Wyndham OPI Palembang Hotel, a lavish affair that will include traditional cultural dancers and music. Two more awards will be presented at the banquet — the Sports Man and Sports Woman James Murray, director of ABS Pte. of the tournament. These awards Ltd, QubicaAMF’s distributor in are voted on by the bowlers. Indonesia. In addition to the local organizing committee and employees from ABS Indonesia, tournament manager Anne-Marie Board takes her own team to manage various aspects of the tournament. This year’s team includes: Bernard Gibbons, tournament director; Cliff Adair, assistant tournament director; Tina Quirke, assistant to tournament manager, Judy Howlett; Hiroshi (Hero) Noda, official tournament photographer; and Daniele Soverini, scoring and results manager. Additionally, there will be the social media

Anne-Marie Board, QubicaAMF World Cup tournament manager, in the center, presenting Herman Deru, governor of South Sumatra, Indonesia, on the left, with a friendship plaque, as Indra Gamulya, executive committee of Olympic Solidarity, and Mrs. Percha Leanpuri, president of the Indonesian Bowling Federation, look on with pride.

Anne-Marie Board, QubicaAMF World Cup tournament manager, smiles with Mr. Aswin Limansantoso, special advisor to the Indonesian organizing committee.

Mrs. Percha Leanpuri, president of the Indonesian Bowling Federation, reading the names of all past Bowling World Cup champions on the men’s and women’s trophies.

team, Dom Gall, Andy James and, for the first time, Rick Vogelesang. An added bonus for any host country is to have their local representative win the tournament. It’s only happened twice in the first 54 years of the tournament: Bob Worrall (U.S.A.), 1981, at New York City’s Madison Square Garden; and Shannon O’Keefe (U.S.A.), 2018, in Las Vegas. With a home gallery cheering them on, this may be the first time Indonesian bowlers make the finals and keep the winner’s trophy in their home country. 32


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Bowlers, coaches, supporters, and guests from around the world will return home with very fond memories of their visit to Palembang, Indonesia, and will cherish the camaraderie between the participating nations and the new friends they will have made. It’s all part of the panoply of the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup. A special thank you to Aswin Limansantoso, a special advisor to the organizing committee, who coordinated gathering the information and photos for this story. ❖

Paul Lane is former Director of Marketing and Marketing Services for AMF Bowling, Inc. He has been the director of 18 AMF World Cups, an officer in national and international trade associations, and a pro bowler during a career that spans more than 60 countries and 50 years.


th ty Hea t a P y B


avid “Kilroy” Kellerman, Texas proprietor of Mel’s Lone Star Lanes, has finished his 2192mile trek of the Appalachian Trail to raise funds and awareness for Bowlers to Veterans Link (BVL) and all veterans. “My Appalachian Trail adventure would never have happened if not for the freedoms given to me as a United States citizen by the great men and women who are serving or have served in our military. I dedicated my hike to them by raising funds for the bowling industry’s oldest and own charity – the Bowlers to Veterans Link.” John LaSpina, BVL board chair, said, “We are so grateful to everyone who has donated so far in support of David’s hike and BVL, and we hope



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others who are inspired by his incredible journey will continue to give what they can to help BVL continue to be there for our veterans.” The 160-day, 5 million steps solo hike has raised more than $71,000 to date, surpassing Kellerman’s original goal of $50,000 and gaining on the upped target of $75,000. ❖



October 2019


Focus-NEX is Steltronic’s scoring system with all the features and software modules to make your investment a full package. It has truly the best 3-D “patented” animations with WOW factor built in, in-house advertising to grow your business, and guaranteed to be the friendliest system to operate at the front desk and on the lanes. With Steltronic, you are making an investment in your business that really is a “no hidden future costs” commitment. Steltronic knows you don’t want surprise invoices, especially those for front desk and back office software licensing fees that seem to show up a year or two after you make your initial purchase. Steltronic is YOUR bowling center management specialists since 1980. For more information: (800) 942-5939 or

WEBSITE PLATFORM now has Google ads available through our BowlRX website platform. Access a sophisticated tracking algorithm that, along with select affinity grouping, will deliver as many as 50,000 targeted impressions and hundreds of clicks into your website every month. You can now reach people that are interested in bowling or birthday parties without them having to search for your business! The system goes way beyond simple keyword searches, and the results are huge. Learn how your center can reach more people every day by upgrading to a BowlRX website with Google ads. Contact Carey Tosello @ (541) 549-0999 or go to


LAI’s Outnumbered is a competitive target shooting video game specifically engineered to reward people every time they play. Players unlock in-game content after each stage, which they can use to create and upgrade custom weapons in the game’s free companion app. Progress is saved, and, by using the app to log in at the cabinet, players can pick up where they left off and use their new weapons in the game, creating a revolving door for repeat gameplay. Players can also use the app to find the closest game and track their career progress against live global leaderboards. Packed with pop culture references, multiple levels of difficulty, and an endless combination of weapons, Outnumbered will bring players back to your venue time and time again! Experience it yourself at IAAPA Booth 1034 in November, or visit for more information.


IBI October 2019


Brunswick introduces Sync® Invicta™, the latest generation of Sync® Scoring and Management System, the fastest-growing system in the industry. Brunswick partnered with proprietors to develop Sync with the mission of addressing their biggest challenges: drive traffic, extend length of stay, increase spend-per-visit, and drive repeat visits by providing leading-edge, interactive entertainment, added convenience, and greater variety than ever. With the release of Sync Invicta, Brunswick has introduced a number of new products designed for each customer segment: open play, groups, and league bowlers. Vision™ User Interface – suggests other games the guest may be interested in playing based on past behavior; Open Lane® – a custom mobile app, making it easier to connect with a center; Rival Rumble™ – a team competition designed to encourage participation across all skill levels; and League Pals – the first and only cloud-based league management platform for scoring, online payments, and accounting. Learn more:


QubicaAMF’s BES X Experiences offers an on-lane experience for every guest. With the transformation from bowling to bowling entertainment, the challenge is creating an on-lane experience to delight each and every guest, making it easy to pick something just right for them, for the staff to seamlessly deliver it, and for your center to make more money. BES X Experiences is the new way to offer bowling entertainment as easy as 1, 2, 3! Now centers can showcase their most popular ways to play on big screens for guests to view and choose. Experience the easy, new way to offer bowling entertainment and drive more revenue for your business. Learn more at

CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE Lane Sanding Equipment for Sale. Gallicchio Sanding Machine, etc. Call Vic @ (780) 454-1110 NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or REPAIR & EXCHANGE. Call for details (248) 375-2751.

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

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

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

HELP WANTED 82/70 MECHANIC wanted in Paso Robles, California, the wine country. Busy small-town 16-lane center. Email:

CENTERS FOR SALE SOUTH FLORIDA: Rare opportunity to purchase 30-LANE, fully upgraded FEC center. $2M annual revenue; $250K+ net with absentee ownership; owner/operator potential is HUGE; all new everything including scoring; full liquor license; kitchen; arcade & much more. Fantastic location. Will consider all reasonable offers. NICK (954) 684-7066. ILLINOIS: BUSY 20-lane center in excellent condition, strong consistent earnings (solid leagues and parties), pro shop, and snack bar. Real estate included. Ken Paton (503) 645-5630.

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

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October 2019





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


October 2019