THE WORLD'S ONLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE BUSINESS OF BOWLING
PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager
6 SHORTS • Catching up with ‘Kilroy’ Kellerman • Silly Socks a teen’s inspiration • Bowlero Elite Series • Duckpin is migrating
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Light ‘Em Up!
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER David Garber
Up close with Jacques Darden, the man who illuminates televised bowling shows
OFFICE MANAGER Patty Heath firstname.lastname@example.org
By Mark Miller CONTRIBUTORS
By Patty Heath
Patty Heath Even Henerson Mark Miller
38 FEATURE Playing Around Hijinx in Jonesboro is full of foolery... and business By Mark Miller
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jackie Fisher email@example.com
ART DIRECTION & PRODUCTION Designworks www.dzynwrx.com (818) 735-9424
FOUNDER Allen Crown (1933-2002)
It’s Not Just About The Wine
42 CENTER STAGE
In Sonoma, the updated Windsor Bowling Center serves the community
A Unique Go-To Bowling is part of the fun at Banana Island Resort in Doha, Qatar
By Evan Henerson
By Patty Heath
P.O. Box 7350 Overland Park, KS 66207 (818) 789-2695(BOWL) Fax (818) 789-2812 firstname.lastname@example.org
HOTLINE: 818-789-2695 32
54 REMEMBER WHEN Just For Fun
22 COVER STORY
Homographs Strike By Patty Heath
Where Ya’ At? Red Stick Social! The new boutique bowling center in Baton Rouge is something special By Evan Henerson
46 Datebook 47 Showcase 50 Classifieds 38
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.
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EXPANSIONS, OPENINGS & NEW BEGINNINGS
THE ‘HOUSE THAT JOE BUILT’ Minster, OH, has been home to Community Lanes since 1959, and under the guardianship of Joe Baumer, 89. In May, Baumer passed the torch to Doug Davidson, proprietor of Bowlerstore.com and his wife Lori. Under the tutelage of the Davidsons, the new logo states “your local gathering place.” With 18 lanes, the center is the right size to hold youth tournaments and that is what Davidson would like to do—develop a strong youth program. Of course, it will “always be the house that Joe built.”
Patriarch Joe Baumer throws the
WELCOME TO THE LEC Once, there were movie theaters, bowling centers, and arcades. Then came BECs and FECs. Now, from Bob Bagby, B&B Theatres president and CEO, comes the LEC –luxury entertainment center. While there have been upscale complexes, it is Bagby that has coined the LEC. In December 2018, B&B opened its MediaMation MX4D theater in Ankeny, IA. The focus is now on Twin Creeks B&B Plaza in Kansas City, MO. The proposed venue will include a 12-lane bowling center with video walls and an arcade with the latest gameplay attractions. It will also house an eight-screen theater, as well as B&B’s Marquee Bar and Grille.
HANGAR 38 Three business partners—Keith Paniucki, Johnny Lee, and Manny Arisso—have opened Hangar 38 bowling center in Tallahassee, FL. The name is derived from family and aviation. It plays off the private helicopter hangar that is owned by the owner of the shopping center, the three partners, and the eight children between them. There are vintage pictures of planes which will sell the aviation idea. The 17,000-square-foot space has eight bowling lanes, more than 70 arcade games with virtual reality, a restaurant, and a 150-seat sports bar. Two dozen TVs will be scattered throughout. “We are building it for adults, knowing the kids will come,” Paniucki says. “It’s going to be a fun place for everybody.”
WACO WILL BE RECIPIENT OF MOVIE BOWL GRILLE Schulman Amusement Co. has broken ground in Waco, TX, for another Schulman Movie Bowl Grille. The 90,000-square-foot project consists of 30 lanes of bowling; a full-service restaurant; an eightscreen movie theater with food delivery and recliners; and a game room with table tennis, pool tables, ax throwing, laser tag, ropes courses, and virtual reality games. The 30-lane center will focus on family bowling. There will be a separate area that will accommodate duckpin bowling. Schulman shared that hotel representatives have shown interest in putting a hotel and conference center on the site. The Movie Bowl Grille concept also has Texas locations in Sherman, Corsicana, and Bay City.
A SENSE OF COMMUNITY It was fun and not business that first brought Cemantha and Ron Woody to Buckhannon Lanes in Buckhannon, WV. In business for 56 years, the center now belongs to the Woodys and is a second-generation family-owned center. The first owners were the Archer family. “I wanted to do something for the community,” Cemantha shared. “I wanted to give families and kids something fun to look forward to and put some life back into the community.” Woody’s integrates the retro style with modern flair and high technology. They have incorporated glow-in-thedark bowling and installed Brunswick Sync on each lane. 6
EXPANSIONS, OPENINGS & NEW BEGINNINGS
A CHANGE-UP TO ROCK ‘N’ BOWL Rock ‘n’ Bowl de Lafayette is one year old. When it opened, it offered The Sainte Marie Restaurant serving what John Blanchard said was as much fun as you could have with white linen tablecloths. However, taking a second look, The Sainte Marie will become Tiniball, Martinis & Meatballs, an environment more in step with the entertainment and accessible throughout the venue. The new restaurant expands on the character and fun of Rock ‘n’ Bowl de Lafayette. Tiniball will be open for lunch, dinner, and late night.
DUCKPIN, DUCKPIN, AND MORE DUCKPIN The Rec Room is an inconspicuous lounge in Fort Lauderdale catering to a hip, downtown crowd of Millennials who enjoy old-school hip-hop and R&B from the DJ, cold beer, and cocktails. The lanes were found unused in Ohio and transported down to Florida where they have been embraced and used. The game has caught on and teams for a league have begun to take shape. Not quite as hip but definitely popular and old-school is White Oak Duckpin Lanes in Colesville, MD. It has been in operation since 1959 and still uses the old scoring station with pencils and scoring sheets. It is busy with leagues during the week and on weekends. While an East Coast, New England kind of game, duckpin has been migrating. Cleveland, OH, will see duckpin and classic arcade come together with Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar+Arcade
leasing space in the city’s west side, popular with breweries and restaurants. 16-Bit+Bar Arcade consists of classic arcade games such as Pac-Man and Frogger, while Pins Mechanical offers duckpin bowling, foosball, and other traditional games. 2020 is the forecasted opening. See IBI ’s October Feature story. Charolotte, NC, will be home to a self-pour beer and duckpin house called Pinhouse in Plaza Midwood. There will be 70 self-pour taps, duckpin bowling, and live music. Coming soon to Savannah, GA, is Moodright’s. It is conceived as a neighborhood joint, consisting of four mini duckpin lanes which will be hand set by pinsetters. There will also be dart boards, a pool table, and a full bar. In Indianapolis, there is Action Duckpin Bowl. However, there will soon be another duck in the neighborhood. 10 Pins Franklin will soon be open in Franklin, IN. Pat Hagen, owner, plans to serve food and alcohol and also show live sporting events.
A LITTLE COTTAGE WITH A BOWLING LANE In 1991 Aaron Spelling, the late Hollywood producer, built ‘Candyland,’ a 56,500-square-foot chateau in Holmby Hills, in Los Angeles, for his wife, Candy Spelling. The 4.7-acre estate includes 20plus customized rooms such as a flower-cutting room, a barbershop, and a silver storage room. There is also a French wine and cheese room with sidewalk tables, chairs, and French music. Oh, there’s also a room with one lane of bowling with its own shoe closet. In 2011, Candy Spelling sold the home to Petra Stunt, daughter of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, for $85 million in cash. Stunt has now sold the house for nearly $120,000 million. 8
Cracker Barrel invests in Punch Bowl Social Punch Bowl Social operates 17 locations in 12 states and is known for high-quality food and entertainment such as bowling and shuffleboard. Cracker Barrel is making an investment of up to $140 million into Punch Bowl. The equity infusion will give Punch Bowl growth capital for future development. Robert Thompson, who founded the chain in 2012, shared, “Our continued goal is to be an experiential Millennial and Gen Z lifestyle brand that creates authentic, social guest experiences.”
ß BITS & PIECES ß ß ß Saudi Arabian Female Bowlers Compete Per worldbowling.org, Saudi Arabia sent a team of six athletes to compete at the World Bowling Women’s Championships in Las Vegas, held Aug. 22-30. The Saudi Bowling Federation (SBF) first welcomed female participation in February 2018.
PEOPLEWATCHING Redemption Plus®, Lenexa, KS, has announced three internal role shifts that will assist in product and project management. Anthony Boyer, a sevenyear team member, was promoted to Senior Program Manager and head of the Product Solutions Department. Anthony Boyer
Kory Lafayette, a six-year team member, has taken the newly created role as Cranes & Merchandiser Manager. This position focuses on maintaining and building product trends, industry partnerships, and drive revenue growth.
Bowling with Google One of the perks working at Google’s main office, the Google Plex, is its four lanes of bowling. Always having fun! --------------------------------------------------------------------
Clays Charity Shoot The 1st annual Kegel/Classic Products Sporting Clays Charity Shoot for the IBMHF was held August 7 at Polk Sporting Clays in Haines City, FL. The event was held in conjunction with the Classic Products Florida Trade Show. Customers were invited to attend, along with manufacturers, members of the bowling industry, and local residents. Nine teams of four participated through eight clay shooting stations. The bowling industry offered up 16 sponsors for the event, including IBI. --------------------------------------------------------------------
It was an Inside Job Round 1 in Martinez, CA, was the victim of a robbery. Masked gunmen forced an employee to open a large safe containing $11,000, zip tied her and other employees, and left. After a three-month investigation, it was determined that a guard who worked at the arcade allegedly helped plan the heist. Two of the robbers were tied to a California prison gang. --------------------------------------------------------------------
Main Event taps QubicaAMF Main Event Entertainment has partnered with QubicaAMF Worldwide, making the bowling products company the exclusive provider of bowling equipment for Main Event’s ever-expanding centers nationwide. The agreement will cover new locations that will be built. Over the last seven years, QubicaAMF has invested over $30 million to re-develop its product line, delivering innovative improvements and industry-first products. 10
Kristyn Bruce, a three-year team member, is now the Customer Success Project Manager. Her position ensures a consistent and high-quality customer experience. Kristyn Bruce
Bowlero Elite Series The first of Bowlero’s Elite Series tournaments was held in April. It saw Luis Gonzalez, a 32-year-old, left-handed amateur, defeat professional bowler, Kyle Troup, for the top prize of $270,000. Gonzalez became the inaugural Bowlero Elite Series champion. The Bowlero Elite Series continues September 11, 7 p.m. ET, on NBCSN at Bowlero North Brunswick in New Jersey. The tournament will feature a prize fund of over $250,000 with the first and second place prizes of more than $100,000 and $65,000, respectively, on the line. There are eight professional bowlers and eight amateurs. Collectively, the eight pros boast an impressive 75 PBA titles and 7 PWBA titles, and feature active members of both Team USA and Mexico. The amateurs’ averages are on a par with the pros and consist of four members who have bowled a perfect game and the 35th person ever to bowl a perfect 900 series. The third and final tournament will take place on Saturday, December 28 at Bowlero, Jupiter, FL, at 3 p.m. ET on NBC. Joining the champions will be a mixture of pros from the past two events and six new amateurs. All active fall league bowlers are encouraged to apply no later than Oct. 16. First and second place prizes are $150,000 and $62,000.
SHORTS HORMEL INSTITUTE GETS FUNDS FOR PROSTATE CANCER
As reported on MyAustinMinnesota.com: The “Bowling for the Battle – A Fight Against Prostate Cancer” group raised a record $76,260 for innovative prostate cancer research at The Hormel Institute during its 2019 event. This was the fifth annual bowling tournament fundraiser with a silent and live auction, and each year the Austin, MN, community shows up to raise ever-increasing funds for cancer research. The success of Bowling for the Battle has funded two prostate cancer seed grants at The Hormel Institute that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. This year’s event was held at Echo Lanes in Austin. Congratulations to all who make this such a successful event, year after year.
SILLY SOCKS SATURDAY First seen in dailyridge.com under the byline of James Coulter, Zachary Kirkland loves bowling and is on a bowling team at Cypress Lanes in Winter Haven, FL. Two years ago, he needed to complete a school project; today his ‘project’ is a full-blown 501c3 non-profit. Silly Socks Saturday was a way to give back to his community by collecting and distributing socks and other items to children in the hospital. Setting up a fundraiser at the bowling center was the perfect venue. Every second Saturday of the month, Zachary and his team visit Lakeland Regional Hospital to visit the young patients and provide them bags of donated items like toiletries and small toys. Initially they provided 30 bags a month; today, they are able to donate 50 bags a month. On the second anniversary, Silly Socks Saturday celebrated with a fundraiser at Cypress Lanes where a packed house was able to purchase raffle tickets for silent auction prizes and have the proceeds of their games go towards the charity.
CENTER DONATES 20% OF DAY’S SALES 10 High Country Lanes is committed to its community. On August 5, the center donated 20% of the day’s sales to the Back2School program for school supplies for Watauga County students. Center guests were asked to bring in school supplies or make a monetary donation of $5 or more and receive a coupon for a free game.
AN UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP Dillon Colvin, 16, likes to create intricate pieces of art. He is autistic and doesn’t always filter his enthusiasm. That was the case of “The Incredible Hulk” that Colvin created for a friend. He dropped off the eight-foot structure at Leopold Lanes in Bellevue, NE, for his friend to pick up. Whether the friend lost interest or was overwhelmed by the size, it sat unclaimed. Peggy Swarbrick, center owner, brought the big guy into the center and tried to locate the artist. Colvin’s father, Brad, got wind of the situation and went to apologize for the inconvenience. No worries! The Hulk had found a home. Further, Swarbrick was so impressed with Colvin’s work, she asked him to craft a hummingbird, her mother’s favorite bird. Friendship comes in strange packages.
What is your center doing? Email Patty Heath at email@example.com.
UPDATE: Kilroy at the 1,400 Mark In the June issue, IBI highlighted Texas bowling proprietor David “Kilroy” Kellerman’s five-month hike through the Appalachian Trail to raise funds for BVL. Nearly four months into this challenge, he has hit the 1,400-mile mark, putting him twothirds of the way through with less than 800 miles to go. 12
Kellerman started his fundraising trek on April 3 at Springer Mountain in Georgia; the trail ends at Mount Katahdin in Maine. Donations to support Kilroy’s Appalachian Trail Hike for Veterans can be made at BVL.org. Follow the final weeks on Kilroy’s Facebook page. David Kellerman
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE WINE
In Sonoma, the updated Windsor Bowling Center serves the community By Evan Henerson
ven the famous California wine country can use a non-vinorelated diversion. Thanks to a top-to-bottom overhaul of the facility and the addition of blacklight golfing and escape rooms, the Windsor Bowling Center has become that diversion, and then some. James Pattison envisioned a family-friendly bowling mecca when the opportunity arose for him to purchase the rundown former bowling center on Conde Lane in the picturesque community of Windsor which is located in the heart of Sonoma County. The 2000s were heading to a close when the purchase was finalized, and the first phase of the center’s overhaul was the renovation of the downstairs, complete with the installation of new lanes, new carpet, and new scoring monitors. Pattison waited out the recession to take the center to the next level. For phase two, his focus turned to the 6,000 square feet of unused space
on the second floor. Windsor Bowling Center added blacklight miniature golf, a pair of escape rooms, and a party room. Cosmic “rock and glow” bowling has made a return. James Cameron’s hit movie Avatar became the backdrop for the mini-golf design handled by Creative Works, and a new elevator was installed to make everything fully accessible. The cost of the two phases came to about $1.2 million, according to Pattison. “The building was built in the mid 1980s, and it’s kind of hard to believe that they never did anything with the upstairs,” said Pattison, who did a lot of the work himself to help bring down the costs. “When I bought it, it was old with a lot of the same décor from the 1980s – wood paneling on the walls and stuff like that. We took all that out, sheetrocked and painted it with nice family entertainment colors to freshen it all up and make it presentable. That alone made a huge difference.”
FEATURE With the two phases of the remodel complete, Pattison’s Windsor Bowling Center has become a community centerpiece, a business that offers amenities for all ages. Pattison’s initial projection to the bank was for a 13.5 % increase in revenue. The actual number came closer to a 38% increase. “I just like how a lot of the centers are offering more than just bowling,” said Pattison whose professional background is in the automotive industry, but who has loved the sport since childhood “Some of them have full-fledged bumper boats and bumper cars
Glow-golf is a unique experience at Windsor Bowl
The new gaming was a welcome creative challenge for Creative Works which installed the golfing and the escape rooms. For the golf course, the world of Avatar’s Pandora meant the integration of futuristic robots into a lush wilderness, requiring the use of LED lighting, DMX Hundreds of successful escape room patrons have posted their accomplishments on effects and strategic sound elements. Windsor Bowl’s social media pages “We had a lot of previous experience with this theme because they have the land for it. Some of them have batting in laser tag arenas, and it was a fun challenge to bring the cages. It’s just a matter of how different we want to be and what experience to a mini golf course,” said Danny Gruening, we want to offer.” Creative Works vice president of marketing. For the creation of the escape rooms on the second level, Creative Works needed to construct a lobby area for people BOWL-ERO LANES waiting for their escape experience. That IDAHO FALLS, ID (24 LANES) area needed to function as both a specific waiting area for those waiting to access the escape room and a part of the overall We congratulate Pat Luras and Jason Paris on their purchase facility which was open to bowlers and of this fine center and thank Don Ross of Stonefield, Inc. for non escape-room bound guests. trusting us to handle the sale. We wish them all the best in “It seems counter-intuitive,” Gruening the future. Ken Mischel, Managing Partner of The Hansell said, “but our team was able to find a Group, served as broker in the transaction. creative way to accomplish this balance. Pattison has spent the last several years traveling the professional circuit with his daughter, Maranda, a tournament bowler Bowling’s Only Full-Service Brokers, who was the U20 California state champion Appraisers & Financial Advisors in 2017 and 2018. Pattison’s travels – and his professional research – took him to centers across the country. He cites Check out our listings at www.thehansellgroup.com Rollhouse Mentor (formerly Game of
(619) 551- 6005
Mentor) in the suburbs of Cleveland, OH, as a center that somewhat mirrored his vision for Windsor Bowl. For the Windsor Bowling Center revamp, he worked closely with building owner and developer Ken Lafranchi of Lafranchi Architecture and Development. Each man gives the other the lion’s share of the credit for accomplishing the vision. “If it wasn’t for Ken, this bowling center wouldn’t exist,” Pattison said. “He’s done more for it than I have.”
“He did all the interesting parts,” counters Lafranchi. “We just handled the pure development part, the parking lot and the building improvements. They had been talking for years about wanting to do laser tag or blacklight golf. This is a matter of his vision, of what he saw as a vital operating business.” Lafranchi notes that there are only three bowling centers in all of Sonoma County, a county of 500,00 people north of the San Francisco Bay Area and Marin. In addition to servicing the area’s winerelated tourism industry, Windsor Bowling Center fills a local need as well. “You see a lot of families. The place is always packed,” Lafranchi said. “League nights are doing a booming business. The center is a very positive amenity for the community of Windsor and for all of northern Sonoma County.” ❖ 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.
S P O N S O R E D BY C R E AT I V E WO R K S
HOW COCONUT BOWL DOUBLED THEIR VISITORS WITH NEW ATTRACTIONS
ild Island in Sparks, NV, started as a water park and family entertainment center (FEC) in 1989. Over time, it grew to add bowling and other attractions. In 2018, Coconut Bowl at Wild Island was looking to begin an expansion to add new attractions. With big name companies such as Apple and Google arriving, the Reno and Sparks area of Nevada was booming. For years, Wild Island had a strong grip on the market. However, once the town’s population exploded, they knew that competitors would try to establish themselves in the flourishing area. To stay ahead of the curve and maintain status as the premier FEC in the area, Craig Buster, general manager of Coconut Bowl, decided on a 50,000-square-foot expansion to his existing 75,000-square-foot facility. Coconut Bowl was looking for a reliable and durable laser tag attraction as part of their expansion. Buster sent members of his team to LaserTAG360, a two-anda-half day educational seminar where they covered a wide variety of business-building entertainment topics. The Coconut Bowl team started touring existing Creative Works laser tag arenas in different markets. They decided to move forward with Creative Works to design and install a snake temple laser tag theme. “It was a no brainer. I think the product is a notch above everybody else. I think it’s the look, the artists that came in and painted, the props, and just how robust it is. It’s bulletproof.” The laser tag attraction was only a small part of the Coconut Bowl expansion, and Buster used it as a complementary piece to the attraction mix. He also added blacklight go-karts, a 100-game arcade, private event rooms, a patio with a food truck and fire pits, and a big mezzanine for private events. The expansion has led to impressive results for Coconut Bowl.Revenue numbers are important, but this industry represents so much more. It’s about memories with friends and family. It’s about emotions. “When I watch people walking out
of our laser tag experience, there aren’t people walking out of there all sad. I mean everybody is hootin’ and hollerin’ and ready to look at the scoreboard!” Buster advises new owners to take advantage of valuable information and networking opportunities at trade shows and conventions. “I’m a firm believer in getting educated in this industry. If you don’t attend [events like] IAAPA, Bowl Expo, LaserTAG36, you’re just not relevant.” Expanding or renovating an existing FEC is not an easy process. It requires a lot of time and emotional energy. “I’m a
firm believer in getting educated in this industry. If you don’t attend [events like] IAAPA, Bowl Expo, LaserTAG360, you’re just not relevant.” Operators must research the market, attend industry events, select the attraction mix, undergo construction, and manage timelines. However, as Coconut Bowl proved, the results can help operators deliver more memorable experiences, dominate their market, and increase revenue. ❖ To learn how laser tag can get customers off the couch, into your center, and boost your revenue, download the free report at www.thewoweffect.com/ibi
CREATIVE WORKS CAN HELP YOU MAKE A LONG-TERM PLAN.
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The former electric company building was vacant for many years and was scheduled for demolition when Lay’s group stepped in with a proposal to save it. The renovation preserved and enhanced what some consider to be one of the coolest buildings in Baton Rouge.
The new boutique entertainment center in Baton Rouge is something special. By Evan Henerson
is ten boutique lanes have been engaging visitors on a nightly basis since mid-April, but W. Robert Lay is fairly certain that the folks from Brunswick who helped bring it all to life, will be forever after screening his calls. “I hear that there’s a picture of our install in Brunswick’s headquarters,” said Lay, the owner of Red Stick Social in Baton Rouge, LA. “It was probably one of their most challenging installs. We really value the engineers who handled it. They did a hell of a job, but I don’t think [Brunswick’s new products director] Jay Saladino is going to want to hear from me ever again.” Lay punctuates this last line with a laugh, and Saladino – who talks to Lay regularly – emphasizes that he is always delighted to get a Red Stick Social call. “Just like any of our other projects, sometimes we have to get creative,” said Saladino. “This one made us think outside the box. Now we’re W. Robert Lay, owner of Red Stick Social, supervised the renovation of the 100-year-old building working on multiple projects like this.” during its overhaul IBI
The install? Bien sûr not a cakewalk. Engineers and construction crews had to maneuver those ten lanes and string pin machines across two levels of a 103-year old historic building. The available space required shortening the size of the lanes and the approaches to make sure everything fit
comfortably. Brunswick worked with the development’s architect, Weinstein Nelson, and there was plenty of time to make sure that everything proceeded smoothly, said Saladino. It may not have been easy, but innovative projects are worth the labor and the headaches, particularly when the outcome is as magnifique as the 30,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor venue in Baton Rouge’s Electric Depot campus has turned out to be. Located between the city’s Mid City and downtown areas, the former Entergy power plant is at the intersection of 15th and Government Street. The historic building that now houses Red Stick Social once powered the city’s first streetcar and helped Baton Rouge morph from an agricultural city to a thriving industrial town. A century later, the Entergy buildings had fallen into disuse and were donated to the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Agency. A $20 million redevelopment of the six acre site paved the way for the newly created Electric Depot campus which would include apartments, restaurants, offices, a coffee house, a yoga studio, and Red Stick Social is the anchor tenant. The center is a site for all kinds of meet-ups, whether one arrives to hear live music, mingle at a private or corporate event, take in the views from the rooftop bar or – when the weather permits – enjoy the outdoor green space. Baton Rouge is a college town in the midst of LSU terrain, making the site a destination for gaming and sports-watching. With bowling options available at different venues in the city, Red Stick Social is courting social rather than
league bowlers. “It’s not a bowling center. It’s a place for a night out,” said Saladino. “So people come there and they’re going to eat, they’re going to drink, they’re going to bowl;
they’re going to have fun with their friends, and then go home.” “We call ourselves a boutique entertainment center,” added Lay. “We’re more heavy food and beverage, heavy alcohol, but we do welcome folks under 21. I don’t want to say we’re a one-stop shop, but we offer a very socially engaging experience. We can offer something for pretty much anybody to have a good time and enjoy themselves with a group of people.” The former power plant building had sat vacant for many years and was scheduled for a date with the wrecking ball when Lay’s group stepped in with a proposal to save it. The renovation preserved and enhanced what some consider to be one of the coolest buildings in Baton Rouge. The renovation left much of the building’s high warehouse windows and steel fixtures intact and some conversation pieces were kept in place. Upon entering Red Stick Social, visitors can look up and see a 20ton gantry crane looming over the lobby. “We have a lot of exposed brick, steel, glass and concrete. It’s a very industrial turn-of-the-century type building,” said Lay. “All of the original features are still there. When you walk into a Dave & Buster’s or a Main Event, you know what you’re getting yourself into. When you continued on page 30...
...continued from page 26
walk into this, you’re like, ‘Wow I didn’t expect that.’” Lay is a Shreveport native who lives and works in Atlanta, checking in on Red Stick Social every couple of weeks. Never much of a bowler growing up, he nonetheless recognizes the social aspect of the sport. “I’ve seen how bowling has come back into the mainstream,” he said. “It’s a great social game. Anybody can do it at any age, and it attracts
all the different socio-economic backgrounds. It’s a great kind of opportunity for people to have a really good time and spend time together, and you can do it inside.” “We opened in April which is kind of a weird time when there’s not a lot going on in terms of special events,” Lay added. “Now that we’re getting into football season and with the weather getting right, we’re really looking forward to hosting some cool special events that use both the inside and outside of our campus.” ❖
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.
By Mark Miller
hether it’s the PBA or PWBA tours, collegiate or youth tournaments, if you’ve watched nearly any bowling telecast over the past three-plus decades, you’ve seen Jacques Darden’s work even though you’ve never seen him. While people hired by networks such as FOX and ESPN handle the cameras and the players engage in the action, Darden is the person who makes any show come to life through the lights. In fact, he oversees all production services, including drapery and camera decks, each week with five people. It’s something he’s done for a diverse array of events, shows, and productions since the late 1970s. “Lighting always was easy for me and I found so simple,” said Darden, who turned 65 in March. “It’s basically mathematics, volts, and watts equal lamps. That’s just math. Everybody is scared of electricity, but it’s the simple laws of physics. Don’t touch something that’s grounded or you will get electrocuted.” His passion actually was grounded through a love of art dating back to at least junior high school. When theater groups needed someone to paint something, Darden was there to help. Born in Beaumont, TX, Darden spent his early years in his 32
The master, Jacques Darden, hard at work illuminating bowling
Darden with his son, Travis, celebrating a job completed
mother’s hometown of New Iberia, LA. The family later moved back to the Lone Star State, first in Beaumont, then in the Lufkin/Nacogdoches area for high school. He started college at Stanford University in California before transferring to the Paris Institute of Technology to finish his undergraduate degree. He completed his graduate work in theatre at Queen Mary’s Hall of Art which was part of the University of Oxford in England. He interned at the famed Piccadilly Circus in London where he assisted several rock operas. When he returned to the U.S., Darden started working
behind the scenes for rock and roll tours through a company called Concert Lighting. Among the acts he worked with were Pure Prairie League, Amazing Rhythm Aces, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Judas Priest, Grateful Dead, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Conway Twitty. He was even considered an official Twittybird, the name the singer gave his crew. He soon joined the stage hand union which gave freelancers union cards because younger people understood modern electronics better than the more experienced workers. By 1980, he bought Concert Lighting; the company has been called Lights of Texas, TDub Lighting, Illumination, and, since 2012, Darden Lighting which is exclusively for bowling. The Illumination branch of his business is for any other kind of event. In 1986, a production truck switcher Darden knew connected him with George Smith, producer of the former Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour on ESPN, and it’s been virtually non-stop ever since. When the PBA moved its telecasts to ESPN from ABCTV a few years later, Darden added them to his client list. Soon thereafter, he was hired by the former American Bowling Congress, Women’s International Bowling Congress, and Young American Bowling Alliance for their shows, a tradition that has continued under the USBC since 2005. Once he became connected with bowling, he stopped doing music tours. While rock tours required one or two semitrailer trucks, bowling has traditionally needed only one truck, Birdseye view of what it takes to make a tournament television-ready
Darden’s final product: a perfectly lit television program 34
PROFILE which means half the gear and twice the return on investment. He keeps overhead low by having only two other permanent employees, including son Travis. All other personnel are freelancers he hires locally in each city. Darden said a lot of has changed since starting on the bowling trail. “When we started, the first shows were basically three cameras – one in the back, one hand-held, and one on the lanes,” he said. “All I did was put a row of lights down the lanes and around the bowlers and that was it. We’d come in at 10 in the morning to shoot a show at 7 in the evening and had plenty of time in between to take a nap. Now it’s grown to such a technical thing. There’s much more equipment involved.” Today Darden’s crew uses up to seven cameras which means a wider area of lighting. Where before it was focused only on the bowler and the lanes, now the audience and interview areas come into play. Check out shows this year and you may have noticed a difference. FOX asked Darden to improve the lighting quality, so he purchased LED technology which provides more of a daylight white look; he started using the new equipment last fall for the PWBA. The first time it was employed with the PBA was The Clash at the Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales, FL, in December 2018. The new lighting emits a lot less heat which has forced veteran bowlers to re-learn how the lights affect a telecast. While the old, hotter tungsten lights tended to alter the oil patterns, the LED lights run cooler and don’t affect the oil pattern. The best unintended consequence: it’s not as hot for bowlers standing on the lanes. Darden also has more color options with his new lights, including red, blue, green, or other required special effects. Like the bowlers he works with, Darden is a true nomad working on weekends and traveling between stops during the week. While his warehouse is in Aztec, NM, where his son Travis lives, Darden rarely is there
When he has free time, Darden enjoys hitting the road on his motorcycle. 36
Unloading the single truck filled with equipment in advance of a television gig
since he’s gone 30 - 40 weeks each year. He has a home in the Crimea in the former Ukraine where his wife resides, but more often stays with his son or daughter, who lives in Atlanta, since most of his work is in the United States. When he does have breaks, he likes to go scuba diving, skiing, and backpacking into remote areas. However, for Jacques Darden, it’s always been about the television show and making it a better production. After years of perfecting his craft at different types of events, he still prefers bowling over anything else. “I find the bowling industry to be kinder people, more considerate,” he said. “The bowlers, like Earl Anthony and Dick Weber, used to take me to dinner. Now these guys know they can come up to me and let me know about an issue. My point is to make it right for them, and if they have an issue where the light is blinding them, then I’ll move it. With bowling, it’s more like a family type of thing. Nobody has a big head.”❖
Mark Miller is a freelance writer, editor, and public relations specialist from Flower Mound, TX. He's the author of Bowling: America's Greatest Indoor Pastime available at Amazon.com or directly from him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLAYING AROUND Hijinx in Jonesboro is full of foolery… and business
By Mark Miller
ne visit to Shenanigan’s northeast of Dallas was all Stacey Bloxton needed to decide what name to give her bowling center in Jonesboro, AR, after a major expansion. “I love the name Shenanigan’s because it means fun and foolery,” she said. “So we tried finding something that was really close that meant fun. My general manager, Kelly Stevens, mentioned Hijinks and at first I said no, but then it grew on me.” And thus on April 1, 2016, Jonesboro Bowling Center became Hijinx Family Entertainment Center. “That’s pretty ironic that we opened on April Fool’s Day,” she said. The new parking lot sign and multiple neon-colored lights at the front entrance confidently convey that something completely different awaits inside. The 32-lane center underwent a big renovation to become more of a family oriented facility
for the town of 76,000. “With the expansion, we added 12,000 square feet including party rooms,” Stevens said. “We made it all family entertainment. To this day, we still have people coming in at least 10 times a week saying they’ve never been here before.” A marketing student at nearby Arkansas State University designed a new logo; the new slogan, ‘Game Night Reinvented’ was introduced. Ever since the rebrand, a growing number of customers have had plenty of fun — and not just those from Jonesboro. “Our reach is beyond a local bowling center. We’re pulling people from southeast Missouri, a little bit of Kentucky, west Tennessee, and Mississippi,” Stevens said. “Our reach has expanded [by] at least triple of what it was because we have something to offer for everyone. We [never knew] what this
FEATURE could be until after the first year.” While little changed to the bowling area, everything off the lanes changed dramatically. The old snack bar was replaced with the small restaurant JT’s Grill, named after Stacey’s father; Sybel’s Snacks for lighter fare was named after her mother. An expanded children’s play area called Hamilton’s Playground — named after Hamilton the Hedge Hog, the center’s mascot — was created to include a ropes course, foam factory, inflatables, soft-contained play, along with virtual reality and laser tag. Interestingly, the expansion included a special locker room built for the Arkansas State University women’s bowling team. “It’s a cool relationship,” Bloxton said. “It’s cool to get new recruits in here; they come in and see the facility, and we get to meet them. It’s been a
Jonesboro was the only 2019 PBA national tour stop hosted in a city with a population of less than 100,000; the great Norm Duke competed at Hijinx in that tournament.
of that; and we’re on their radio station. It’s a lot of fun. They are really pushing the family environment. It works out great.” Hijinx had 24 lanes when it opened as Selby Lanes in 1976. Original owner Butch Selby lost it to the bank two years later, and it was sold to a group of Texas investors. In the mid-1980s, it was purchased by Lavon Crawford who added eight lanes in 1997. Bloxton and parents J.T. and Sybel Barr and brothers James and Phillip bought the center in June 2002. It became a full family affair when Bloxton’s husband joined the team. They removed eight lanes in 2011, added laser tag in 2013, and broke ground for the expansion in 2015. Bloxton said transitioning to Hijinx flipped the traffic patterns in unexpected ways, especially in the summer. “At most bowling centers, summer is the slow time but what we’ve seen with this transition is the summers are busy during the week and quieter on the weekends since we are a lake area,” she said. “Summertime is actually one of our busier times, and our slow time is during football season in September and October.”
Arkansas State University’s women’s bowling team has a dedicated locker room at Hijinx
great partnership.” That relationship expanded last year to the school’s football program with The Kids Zone at ASU home games. “We go out to every home football game and set up the inflatables and yard games, and hand out game cards so the kids will come back [to Hijinx] and use them,” Bloxton said. “They advertise us on the Megatron; they send out 30,000 emails, and we get to be part 40
The newly renovated lanes at Hijinx
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FEATURE November is Special Olympics Month with three consecutive Fridays of competition featuring 1,000 athletes from two counties. “We call it one of our grand partnerships because the athletes are amazing,” Bloxton said. “I wish everyone had the attitudes they do. They are amazing.”
The new square footage has allowed Hijinx to offer an all-access pass featuring three hours of bowling and games. A lunch buffet can be added for an additional charge. It also helped attract the only 2019 PBA national tour stop hosted by a city with a population of less than 100,000 For the past six years, the center has hosted the annual MidWinter Invitational collegiate tournament. “It was amazing. It was a great experience, and they’ve already called us wanting to do it again next season,” said Bloxton, Where too many centers have lost league bowlers, Hijinx has maintained them at 3,000 strong. One reason is there are two full-time staff dedicated to league bowling. “We still thrive on our leagues. We have two nights where we’re basically full. We constantly find new leagues to fill in,” said Stevens, the daily leader of the 63-person staff.
Hijinx’s mascot Jinx the Robot clowns around with the Arkansas State University mascot Howl the Red Wolf at a community event
What’s also amazing is Bloxton is negotiating to expand the brand to another city in Arkansas and potentially one in Tennessee. “I’m praying that it works out,” she said. Look for Hijinx in the mid-South opening soon! ❖
Mark Miller is a freelance writer, editor, and public relations specialist from Flower Mound, TX. He's the author of Bowling: America's Greatest Indoor Pastime available at Amazon.com or directly from him at email@example.com.
The new Lasertron attraction is one of Hijinx’s largest draws 42
A UNIQUE GO-TO BOWLING IS PART OF THE FUN AT BANANA ISLAND RESORT IN DOHA, QATAR BY PATTY HEATH.
By Patty Heath
vacation to rival all vacations, that is what Banana Island Resort Doha in Qatar offers. It is a sanctuary island setting, complete with over water villas and a one-of-a-kind, dedicated
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wellness center nestled in the Arabian Gulf, off the coast of Doha. IBI has focused on its bowling facility which attracts and entertains just about everyone. Situated right next to Tedâ€™s American-style diner, sharing time on the eight lanes of QubicaAMF equipment is a great way to end the day, start the day, or any time! â?– Three Bedroom Anantara Overwater Villa Terrace
IBI September 2019
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IBI September 2019
BOWLER YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENTS The following events have been confirmed and are currently accepting entries:
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OCTOBER 11-13 Bowlero Bayou Youth Championship Bowlero the Woodlands Conroe, TX Additional tournaments are currently being planned for 2020 in Dallas, TX; Minneapolis, MN; Atlanta, GA; and Central Florida. Bowlers, who are interested in learning more or would like to sign up for a tournament, may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
23-24 Trainertainment Business Growth Conference BPAA Training Campus (817) 886-4840 www.trainertainment.net 28-30 East Coast Bowling Centers Convention Atlantic City, NJ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino www.bpaa.com
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JANUARY 2020 12-15 BPAA Summit Belmond Charleston Place Hotel Charleston, SC Bpaa.com/bowlingsummit
7-9 2019 Southwest Bowling Proprietors Trade Show Sheraton DFW Airport Irving, TX Karen Miller email@example.com
26-28 IAAPA FEC Summit Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Stone Mountain, GA Iaapa.org/fecsummit
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SHOWCASE NEW FUN & GAMES
Betson Enterprises, distributor of amusement equipment, parts, and services, introduced its latest fun and games at 2019 International Bowl Expo. The highlights were the latest from Raw Thrills such as Nerf Arcade and Halo: Fireteam Raven 2-Player, along with other favorites: Space Invaders Frenzy, Injustice Arcade, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Bob Boals, executive vice president of Betson, said, “Each year we show the top performing games that we strongly support, and [we] know our customers will be happy with the increase in foot traffic and revenue.”
DFX Sound Vision’s DFX VersaPar LED 6 IP65 RGBAWUV offers 18 6-in-1 LEDs providing 1495lux at 3M brightness; integrated dual rigging brackets; 6, 8, 10 channel DMX modes; 120W maximum power consumption; integrated data and power cables; power linking for up to six units; 28º beam angle; available barndoor attachment; and a 50,000-hour average LED life. The DFX VersaPar LED 6 IP65 is perfect for theatrical, installation, outdoor, and production applications. Built with a cast aluminum house, you can rest assured this unit will survive anything thrown at it. Barndoor attachments are sold separately. Info: dfx-
Focus software, provided by Steltronic, has some of the best security available. With the fingerprint reader as one of the many security devices, what cashiers can and cannot do is completely under your control. Steltronic Focus software is built with Microsoft SQL Server, and all of the data is encrypted for secure credit card EMV chip card transactions, time clock entries with fingerprint, and passwords are safe. With the front end of Focus software as the most userfriendly system available, complete control of your family entertainment center equipment and financial data is completely secure. For more information: (800) 942-5939 or email@example.com.
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Operation of QubicaAMF’s new EDGE String pinspotter is made even easier with the innovative Tech Wizard app, which proactively notifies and guides your staff if attention is needed. With this smartphone app, your staff can now focus on customers and worry less about pinspotters, because Tech Wizard will notify you when attention is needed. The app informs you and your staff of any operational alerts and guides you through resolving any issues or routine maintenance with simple instructional videos. And, its cloud-based management tools put machine performance data, service history, and reporting capabilities at your fingertips, from anywhere. With the EDGE String and Tech Wizard app, you will enjoy peace of mind and guests will enjoy authentic bowling fun. To learn more: www.qubicaamf.com/edgestring.
Brunswick Bowling has captured lightning in a bottle with Spark™ Augmented Reality Bowling. Electrify your lanes and turbo-charge your traffic with the industry’s first immersive, interactive scoring experience. Spark surrounds the bowler in a mesmerizing, oneof-a-kind experience as it delivers the latest technology and entertainment trends to your lanes. Spark engages every segment of entertainment seekers with software-driven technology and innovation that’s built for tomorrow but delivered today. Only from Brunswick. Are you ready to light it up? Visit www.brunswickbowling.com/Spark or call your Brunswick representative today. IBI September 2019
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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. CANADA, Carman, Manitoba: 8-lane, 5-pin center with 6 Brunswick 81 5-string pinsetters & 2 Double Diamond 2B freefall pinsetters. Includes snack area, alcohollicensed, and 5,950 square-foot building. $250,000. Call Kos Realty (204) 745-7710. NE PENNSYLVANIA: 8-lane center. Includes commercial rentals, great location & great opportunity. Owner retiring. Center4sale@yahoo.com. NEBRASKA: 16-lane center in a nice town, Ogallala. Remodeled bar and kitchen. Asking 250K. Contact Jacob. cornhuskerlanesNE@gmail.com.
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