International Bowling Industry Magazine 09/14

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VOL 22.9



Proprietors Helping Proprietors

Southern Charm Meets British Style

By Scott Frager

In Atlanta, The Painted Pin mixes warm Southern Hospitality with a decidedly British sensibility to create a unique experience. By Anna M. Littles 18


PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager Skype: scottfrager



CONTRIBUTORS Fred Groh Patty Heath Anna M. Littles




• Seniors take bowling seriously at Pinz in Studio City, CA. • Lucky Strike hosts Conquer Cancer Campaign. • KBF shows TV’s Today how to throw a strike. • David Garber is new IBI Associate Publisher.

38 PROFILE A Flash of Silver on the Kansas Prairie Brent Bowers is the Kansas state official BPA coach and travels to any member center that asks. By Fred Groh (818) 735-9424

INTERN Rachel Gale FOUNDER Allen Crown (1933-2002)

12655 Ventura Boulevard Studio City, CA 91604 (818) 789-2695(BOWL) Fax (818) 789-2812

By Patty Heath

HOTLINE: 888-424-2695 32

52 REMEMBER WHEN AMF 1952 By Patty Heath

18 COVER STORY 44 Showcase

Branding Irons AMF attempts bringing bowling back into popular culture with three distinct brands under one banner.

45 Classifieds 51 Datebook

By Fred Groh

SUBSCRIPTION RATES: One copy of International Bowling Industry is sent free to every bowling center, independently owned pro shop and collegiate bowling center in the U.S., and every military bowling center and pro shop worldwide. Publisher reserves the right to provide free subscriptions to those individuals who meet publication qualifications. Additional subscriptions may be purchased for delivery in the U.S. for $50 per year. Subscriptions for Canada and Mexico are $65 per year, all other foreign subscriptions are $80 per year. All foreign subscriptions should be paid in U.S. funds using International Money Orders. POSTMASTER: Please send new as well as old address to International Bowling Industry, 12655 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, CA 91604 USA. If possible, please furnish address mailing label. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright 2014, B2B Media, Inc. No part of this magazine may be reprinted without the publisher’s permission.





September 2014


Proprietors Helping Proprietors It’s heartbreaking being told that a pinsetter chassis or something equally vital is suddenly on the fritz and the center isn’t stocked with a spare. Murphy’s Law states that such disasters happen early on a Friday night just before a full-buyout corporate event or when leagues are taking up every lane in the place. That’s also exactly the time when the manufacturer is about to close for the day and the shipping dock crew is waving good-bye to Ned, their friendly FedEx truck driver. Which means the repair is at least three days away, and you’ll be down some lanes at the worst possible time. What do you do? In Southern California we’ll probably get on the horn and call around to bowling proprietors in town with similar equipment and ask for help. This scenario really happened to us a couple of times in the past few months, and we’ve heard similar stories from other bowling owners in our vicinity. And in every case, the proprietors called on for help gave it without hesitation and without reservation. We all did what we could to get the center in trouble up and running. There are similar tales to be told about Southern Cal proprietors helping each

other when it comes to staffing and vendor referrals, too. This goodwill is heartwarming, especially when so many people think of this as an age of “cutthroat” competition and a “what’s in it for me” unscrupulousness among businesspeople. Bowling proprietors are showing the world that fellowship is perfectly consistent with business competition. On a separate note, we are always looking for ways to improve the magazine and its service to you. This month, I’m proud to introduce David Garber as our new Associate Publisher. As you’ll read David has very impressive credentials—on the consumer side of bowling and on the business side. I’m positive David is going to do an amazing job for you. (You can reach him, by the way, at or 818-789-2695.) While I doubt that proprietors in Southern California will be so generous as to share league bowlers with each other (although I did get a referral for two league bowlers when they moved into my neighborhood), we should all feel proud when our industry rises to the occasion and shows true character and fellowship.


4THIS MONTH AT Remember the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”? Currently, bowling is going through interesting times. Brunswick and Bowlmor AMF have given the industry a lot to think about. Take a look at the thoughts of fellow proprietors, pro shop operators and industry suppliers on this issue in our Forum section. Weigh in yourself. More and more, people in the industry are turning to IBI to find out what is happening, how others are reacting and commenting themselves. Onsite membership is on the rise with over 2,300 members and counting. Be a part of it. Go to and sign up now.



September 2014


EXPANSIONS, OPENINGS & NEW BEGINNINGS Liberty Lanes, in East Grand Forks, MN, has been purchased. The sale closed in April, Beata Dalmi, the registered agent for the property, disclosed. The plan is to keep it as a bowling center and make gradual capital improvements over time. Built in 1976, the center has 16 lanes as well as a lounge. It was named in tribute to the country’s bicentennial year.

WORLDWIDE ACTIVITY Expansions, openings and new beginnings are not isolated to U.S. cities. The Pakistani government will build a 30-lane bowling center in Karachi, Tiaz Hussain Pirzada, Federal Minister for InterProvincial Coordination, said. Pirzada, speaking at the presentation ceremony of the All Pakistan Bowling Tournament at the Royal Rodale Club, was impressed with the exciting sport of bowling. He said that the federal government will patronize and support bowling in all provinces of the country. uvu

Red Ventures, a Fort Mill, SC-based Internet marketing and sales firm, recently completed a new 180,000-square-foot building complete with bowling lanes, beer garden, spin and yoga studios and a coffee bar. The new, five-story building has 60 meeting rooms built around themes: garages, bars, attics, and even a backyard theme. The company draws customers via online marketing and direct sales for clients including DirecTV and ADT Security. Of course, the key interest factor is the bowling lanes! Red Ventures employee enjoys one of the perks of the company’s new building. Photo credit: Isabella Bartolucci

Champion bowler Gary Daroszewski has partnered in the complete renovating of 46-year-old Fox Valley Lanes in Neenah, WI. Besides Fox Valley, Daroszewski owns and renovated Classic Lanes in Oak Creek and Class Lanes Menomonee Falls. The 36-lane facility will sport new lanes, gutters and bumpers, new scoring system, a remodeled banquet hall, plus a second banquet hall, and a completely new kitchen. The estimated tab is $1 million. Daroszewski feels, “When you create a nice environment, people come to have fun. If you run it well and keep it clean, people will come.”

In the province of Ontario, Canada, Westside Bowl will reopen with new owners, who happen to be the old owners from seven years ago, who have taken the business back. Michelle and Clark James will be doing some renovations on the space and equipment and hope to open in September for the league season. uvu

Moving across the pond, Roxy Lanes is the latest venture by Jones Bar Group, Ltd., Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. A 5,300square-foot unit, Roxy Lanes will feature four full-size bowling lanes imported from the U.S. and will create seven new full-time, and 20 part-time, jobs. Insider Media Limited said that the venture is the second new leisure concept launched by brothers Matthew and Ben Jones, managing and finance director respectively. “We spotted a gap in the market with Roxy Lanes by giving a quality lift to the old-style concept of bowling alleys and linking it to good food and a cocktail bar in a comfortable, up-market setting designed so people can stay as long as they wish and have fun,” said Matthew. uvu

The Original Bowling Company, UK’s biggest ten-pin bowling operator, runs 44 bowling centers known as AMF and Hollywood Bowl. Ashley Armstrong of Telegraph UK reported that the company has been working with bankers at Rothschild to explore its options for either a float or sale. Neither the bank nor Original Bowling Company chose to comment.

A NOSTALGIC LOOK BACK On July 8, Bowlmor Lanes in Greenwich Village closed its doors, ending a 76-year run. While there are two newer Bowlmor centers in the city, “this is the one that started it all. You can’t replace it,” said owner Tom Shannon. The 44-lane center opened in 1938. While today the lanes have been a glamorous haunt for A-listers such as The Strokes, Sarah Jessica 8


September 2014

Parker, Jimmy Fallon and Al Pacino, back in the not-so-good days, manager Anthony Sorrentino was murdered inside the center. Andres Restrepo, the Bowlmor district manager, shared stories of families with four generations of bowlers coming to hang out on a Sunday. Once gutted, the building is reportedly to be transformed into luxury condos.


SHORT SHORTS KBF on the Today Show NBC’s Today Show welcomed Kids Bowl Free on July 4th. The topic was “How to throw a strike.” Bruce Davis (left) and Darin Spindler (right) did their best to give Hoda and Kathie Lee pointers to rolling a strike. A good time was had by all and word is that there might be future segments. Although not a lot of time to promote Kids Bowl Free, that’s show biz. National television exposure is never a bad thing.

US Bowling Corp. partners with Ideal Software Systems Bowling center designer and supplier US Bowling Corp. and Ideal Software Systems, an amusement management systems firm, have partnered up. The aim is to integrate Ideal’s state-of-the-art business management system with US Bowling’s scoring, creating a turnkey system.

Holiday Lanes Rocks Out Robin Williams of Holiday Lanes in Bossier City, LA, is not one to shy away from mixing it up. In August, the center hosted the School of Rock Summer Tour in Holiday Lanes’ “Back to School Music Fest.” School of Rock is a national music program for school-aged kids who, with music instructors, tour and give live performances while learning their craft. The movie, School of Rock, starring Jack Black, was based on the first school, started in 1998.

Lucky Strike Rolls Out New Menu Items Lucky Strike, the nationally-acclaimed boutique bowling and entertainment brand, has introduced new menu options including revamped recipes and handcrafted signature cocktails. Some enticements are chipotle short rib and beef burgers with caramelized onions, Momma’s Mac N Cheese with added ingredients such as truffle oil, roasted chilis, bacon or avocado, and Esteban’s Nachos Grande. A tempting libation might be Milagro Spice, with tequila, pomegranate liqueur, lime juice and fresh strawberries. Hungry? Visit a Lucky Strike and bowl and eat!

Million Laughs at Clayton Valley Bowl Paul Thompson, general manager of Clayton Valley Bowl in Concord, CA, has found that the combination of laughter and bowling work well together. The first Wednesday of every month, the center offers comedy showcases in the lounge. The show features a different lineup of talented local and touring comedians each month. The funny is free but the bowling is extra. 10


September 2014

THROWING AGE TO THE WIND There are septuagenarians, octogenarians and nonagenarians competing no-holds-barred at Pinz Bowling Center in Studio City, CA. A rarity? No. One can find competitive seniors all over the country assembling every week to bowl their best. Dennis McCarthy of the Los Angeles Daily News spent a Thursday morning with Pinz’ senior league. McCarthy’s description of Teri Bonato, 90 years old and legally blind, captures the romance of seeing seniors living the life. She “stalks the foul line cradling her 10-pound ball in the crook of her right arm… She drops the ball from hip high, and it crashes onto the synthetic wood alley with a loud bang that sends a couple of people ducking.” Further in MCarthy’s article, Barbara Lee, director of the senior leagues at Pinz, helps round out the picture. “’Watch,’ Barbara says. ‘If she misses she gets really mad. This league is very competitive. They’re here to win, not talk about the great grandkids.’“ Lee points out that seniors tend to be more Joel Margolis, 74, the baby of the senior resilient than younger group, watches the outcome of his throw bowlers. If kids get an in the top photo. injury, they’re gone for a month. Her seniors have been through cancer, broken bones, hip replacements, and a plethora of other ailments and yet they keep coming back to bowl. With age comes wisdom and bowling. Any centenarians in this league? Not yet.

IN REMEMBRANCE Joe Kelly, proprietor of Acme Bowl, Alton, IL, and later, Riverboat Lanes, Godfrey, passed away June 15. He was 87. Until Riverboat Lanes closed in July 2011, the center was the longest continuous member of BPAA at 79 years. Kelly was a Life Member of Illinois State and Southern Illinois BPAs. Memorials may be made to: Marquette Catholic High School or St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Alton, IL.





While most people slow down during summer, centers keep busy with events aimed at supporting their communities in an air-conditioned environment. The annual Battle Buddy Bowling fundraiser to benefit the Puppy Rescue Mission was held at Fox Bowl, Wheaton, IL. Besides a good time bowling, there were sports memorabilia autographed by Brandon Marshall and Dan Hampton of the Chicago Bears and Bobby Hull and Denis Savard of hockey’s Blackhawks. A fundraising night of family, friends, fun, food and bowling was held for 8-year-old Matt Dugas at Indian Lanes in Wyandotte, MI. Matt has mitochondrial disease, which saps the body of the energy needed to sustain life and support growth. All proceeds go to the youngster’s medical expenses. His mother Erica said, “We have not lost hope. We don’t feel like we have exhausted all options yet, and we know Matt still has some tricks up his sleeve.” A fundraiser for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children in Arkansas County, was held at Rice Bowling Lanes in Stuttgart, AR. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate in court and other settings for the best interests of abused and neglected children. A bowling party was held at Strike Zone Bowling Center to benefit Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter in Huntington, WV. The event hopes to foster volunteers and donations such as dog food, cat litter, and cleaning supplies. Dream of Hopes Ranch held its 14th annual Candlelight Family Bowl Benefit at Westgate Lanes in Austin, TX. The group offers programs for children and adults with special needs. A raffle, silent auction and door prizes were set up to help the organization raise money for uniforms, computers and ranch materials. Stars-n-Strikes for Military Heroes held its 4th annual Operation Welcome You Home at Town & Country Lanes in Joliet, IL. All proceeds go to benefit local veterans in need. Bowling for the Animals, the 13th annual fundraiser for Spay/Neuter Action Project (SNAP) was held at Poway Fun Bowl in Poway, CA. What is your center doing? Email Patty Heath at September 2014

‘DMC’ AND LUCKY STRIKE TAKE A STRIKE AT CANCER Lucky Strike hosted a three-month campaign, May 1 through July 31, in support of the Conquer Cancer Coalition, whose mission is to conquer all forms of cancer by working together to build stronger communities around the country. On July 15, Lucky Strike San Francisco was the host for a Conquer Cancer Coalition event. Campaign Ambassador Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of RUN-DMC was present to roll the first strike and meet and sign autographs for fans. Lucky Strike presented a check for all the proceeds raised during the campaign to date which totaled $42,000. All Lucky Strike locations nationwide donated a portion of the sales of its Burger of the Month, specialty beverage items and a limited-edition blue charity Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of RUNbracelet to the cause. DMC bowled and performed for Conquer Cancer Coalition.

MIXED DOUBLES FOR CANCER RESEARCH Bill Lillard, Sr.’s Palace Lanes in Houston, TX, was the venue. Luci Bunneau ‘Striking against Breast Cancer’ Mixed Doubles Tournament was the event. The goal was, as it has been for 15 years, to raise funds for breast cancer research. The three-day event garnered $69,000, adding to the $500,000 received overall. Donna Conners, a Texas Hall of Fame bowler, is the force behind this tournament which honors the memory of Luci Bunneau, also a Texas Hall of Famer who succumbed to the disease. With the help of Barbara Chrisman and Storm Products, the corporate sponsor, this event draws the best professional and amateur bowling talent from all over the world.




Glenn Hartshorn and New Center Consulting, Inc. announced that David Meunier will head up the company’s expanded tech support department for the TouchDeskIII and Touchscore3 product lines. Meunier is a veteran of the industry, having worked at Purrfect Score, QubicaAMF and BMA.

Kegel has announced its partnership with Cambol México as a new distributor for its lane maintenance products in Mexico. Cambol is a company that is recognized in Mexico and Latin America, with large trade relations built over its 34 years I business. “Cambol México is a welcome addition for Kegel,” said Chris Chartrand, president. Manuel Blandez, CEO of Cambol, shared, “It has been a long time dream to belong to the Kegel family, and I am very happy to form this partnership.” In Europe, Kegel has recently inked an agreement with Adriano Santi and SM.IT Bowling Distribution as Kegel’s new distributor in Italy. Santi has been a national bowling team player since 1982 and has been involved in various aspects of the business and entered distribution in 2013. “Mr. Santi is extremely passionate and involved in the world of bowling. It was a natural step for Kegel to partner with his company,” said Chartrand.

Bay Tek Games of Pulaski, WI, a designer and manufacturer of coin-operated games, specializing in ticket and prize redemption, has introduced role changes for three of its employees. Holly Meidl, former Director of Marketing, was newly named the Director of Innovation, Matt Connell of sister company MCL Industries, Inc. was also added to Holly Meidl Matt Connell Rob Ozarowicz the Bay Tek side as Director of Finance; and Rob Ozarowicz, formally Inside Sales, was named Director of Operations. All three have served the company over the years and each promotion is a natural outgrowth of participation in the overall well-being of the company.



Roger Lindblad, president of ZOT Pinsetter Parts, has announced the appointment of PJ Rosendahl as general manager. With this, Lindblad will turn over the day-to-day operations to Rosendahl and focus his attention on special projects. Rosendahl first came to ZOT in 1998 as sales and service manager for a six-year term. He returned in 2012 as a project manager. His entrepreneurial expertise, product management skills and his ability in sales prompted the new position.

Roger Lindblad (L) with PJ Rosendahl (R)

DAVID GARBER IS NEW IBI ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Davis Garber, past director of corporate bowling sales for Station Casino Hotels in Las Vegas, has joined B2B Media, Inc. as Associate Publisher of International Bowling Industry magazine. Before his two years at Station Casinos, Garber bowled for Team USA for four years, then spent four years as director of Team USA and two years as USBC director of coaching. He has also been a food and beverage consultant for a restaurant in Sarasota, FL. “David has exactly the kind of expertise we need at IBI to maintain our outstanding service to advertisers,” said Scott Frager, B2B Media, Inc. President and CEO and IBI Publisher, in making the announcement. “His expertise on both the business and consumer sides of bowling is going to be a major asset in developing and launching even better programs for advertisers. I’m very happy to welcome him aboard.” Said Garber, “Scott and I have done business before, so this is very unique. I’m really looking forward to my new position.” He and Frager met in the course of activities for the Bowling Centers of Southern California (BCSC), where Frager is Executive Director. Garber can be reached at or 818-789-2695. 16


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September 2014



T roh By Fred G

he bigger the project, the clearer you need to be about the name of your game. Rebuilding and positioning a chain of 265 bowling centers is not a small project. “What we’re doing as a company is bringing bowling back into popular culture,” says vice president of marketing Colie Edison. A lofty ambition, but fitting for Tom Shannon, who traded ownership of six Bowlmor party centers for a portfolio comprising those six plus the AMF chain— 250 traditional centers branded ‘AMF’ and nine upscale houses wearing the ‘300’ name.

1. Bowlero 2. Bowlero 3. Bowlero 4. Bowlmor 5. AMF



September 2014



Added attractions include nostalgia. As in foosball, air hockey, video games like Buck Hunter, billiards, and a classic Airstream trailer where ice cream delights are served (by Colie Edison on opening day). “What Bowlero is all about: industrial-vintage-retro meets a modern bowling alley.” — Colie Edison. Bowlero design by StudioLEMONADE of Denver.

The merger and legal entity that came out of it— Bowlmor AMF—were announced July 1, 2013. “I thought Bowlmor did the recreational and party thing really well and AMF did the league thing very well,” Shannon told writer Fred Eisenhammer in May IBI. “Put it together and there was plenty of upside. I think I was right,” he said. In July this year, with the remaking of the AMF houses still underway, Shannon announced his purchase of all the Brunswick centers. He had no immediate plans to change their operation, he told us in the August issue. His Brunswick division would “run as it has run. We didn’t buy Brunswick to change it. We bought it to maintain it” and to learn from

it. “They run bowling centers with the same disciplines and process you would run a manufacturing plant,” Shannon related. “As we got through [due] diligence, we found ‘here’s a lot of stuff we can learn from Brunswick.’ I want to learn [that].” The AMF centers were a different story. They were “a business that needed addressing in every way, from training and hiring of staff—the way that impacted the customer—marketing messages, sales, the facilities, loss-prevention technology—everything needed to be re-done,” Shannon said. Now, as the second year of Bowlmor AMF gets underway, the AMF 300s have been converted to the Bowlmor brand. AMFbranded centers continue under the AMF name. And Shannon has launched a new brand of center in his AMF division, Bowlero. The first unit opened in May at The Woodlands, a master-planned community of 107,000 about 30 miles north of Houston.



At Acquisition 250 AMF 9 ‘300’ 6 Bowlmor After Re-Branding 240 AMF 14 Bowlmor 2 Bowlero

At Acquisition

~10 Closures *At press time. 22


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66 Brunswick Zone 15 Brunswick Zone XL 3 Brunswick’s

TACTICS The Woodlands location is auspicious, marketing VP Edison indicates. Nine corporate campuses sited there include McKesson and Maersk (transoceanic container shipping). By year’s end 2015, Exxon will have built-out its own 385-acre tract with housing and amenities for 10,000 employees. Explaining the tactics in choosing The Woodlands for the first Bowlero, Edison says, “We look at, first and foremost, the corporate business in the area, because this model relies heavily on private events, and corporate events supply a lot of that. Then we look at schools within the area so we can get the kids’ birthday parties. Bowling at its core

COVER STORY is a family-friendly activity, so the environment that we’re going in needs to mirror that. “We’re going to see a lot of corporate business,” a confident Edison adds. “We’re super-excited about that of course. But then during the day, we’re very family-friendly so you’ll see kids’ birthday parties and family reunions and anniversaries. At night we cater to 21-and-over or 18-and-over, depending on the night.” Comparing models, Bowlero is “very similar to Bowlmor, in that events will be the bulk of our revenue. We think the [Bowlero] aesthetic is more casual, edgy, industrial. If you were going to compare Bowlmor and Bowlero, Bowlmor would be a Westin and Bowlero would be a W: you can have a lot more fun with the [Bowlero] brand, a lot more tongue-in-cheek.” Neither model fits comfortably into a traditional, league-dominated bowling center, however, the profile of AMF Woodlands before a complete renovation turned it into Bowlero. So leagues were moved to the nearest AMF center, with two exceptions. A Special Olympics league and a YMCA league for adults and kids with developmental disabilities remain. Also not the best fit in most markets would be a 20-lane house wearing the Bowlero brand. Corporate events need “something a little bigger”—more on the order of the Houston site’s 40 lanes, Edison says. “They also need to have a private event space, like a meeting room, and usually if a house doesn’t have 30 lanes, they don’t have a room like that.” That’s not to say that one-off locations could not become a boutique element of the Bowlero brand, Edison offers. “One of our small L.A. area properties could easily become a Bowlero.” FEC additions to the model are an option “we’ll always keep in the picture. There are some centers where we think there is an opportunity to do an FEC concept.” The company is also eyeing a musicvenue concept along the lines of Brooklyn Bowl, combining bowling and rock performances. “And we’ve taken some


Bowlmor (14 locations)

“...the ultimate league experience”

“...the ultimate private-event experience”

Continued on page 26 IBI

September 2014



SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE: The Future of Leagues at Bowlmor AMF The shunting of leagues at AMF Woodlands (Houston) to another center when their bowling home was turned into Bowlero was the kind of incident that has fueled bitter feelings about Bowlmor AMF for months. Acquiring the AMF chain in 2013, Bowlmor AMF chairman, CEO and president Tom Shannon proceeded to make changes for the new company’s better financial health. Some prices went up and some operating hours went down, especially daytime hours when senior leagues were bowling. More than a few bowlers were angry and others worried whether their leagues would have a home much longer at AMF-branded centers. Some observers took it as slap in the face of leagues. A Bowlers Appreciation Week in January (players got a free beverage during their league session) wasn’t enough to up-end a perception that Bowlmor AMF just doesn’t care about leagues. It’s a perception in which a lot is at stake. The majority of Bowlmor AMF properties—now including Brunswick centers—are slated to remain leagueemphatic, and league players across the Bowlmor AMF total about 230,000. In one move to counter the perception—and to say in action what he stoutly insists in words: “I love leagues and we are completely committed to that business”—Shannon recently created a new position, vice president of leagues. To fill it, he selected AMF’s former director of operations, Jay Lietman. Breaking into the industry by buying and running an Arizona center for several years, Lietman was then recruited as a general manager first by Brunswick, then by ARC. ARC was eventually gobbled up by Goldman Sachs, which turned Lietman into an AMF manager. Then AMF moved him to Texas HQ to start a school for AMF center managers. Over time, operations-related programs that didn’t fall into anybody else’s territory at HQ wound up in Lietman’s lap. And AMF having no operations group, he was made AMF’s director of operations. That was three years ago. He set about combining best practices from all the 24


September 2014

Goldman-acquired centers and created operating standards for the company. Last spring, about a year after Shannon acquired the AMF chain, director of operations Lietman found himself “passionately pleading to someone, I can’t remember exactly who, about the state of the leagues and how important competitive play might be.” Shannon took him aside, Lietman remembers, and said, “I can’t believe we don’t have this role currently, but I’d like to make you the VP of leagues.” Today Lietman leads a staff of six, including one staffer specializing in league development, another in league retention, and the rest attending to various operations responsibilities so that Lietman can devote most of his energy to leagues. He reports directly to Shannon.


His brief, Lietman explains, is to be “a spokesperson, a voice, a champion” for leagues who “can speak the language.” “Wherever we’re making some moves within the organization that could be damaging from a league perspective, I’m the guy that can speak up on behalf of leagues. [I] was to be that person, that go-to, when people are calling the corporate offices, sending letters in, asking specific questions about what we’re doing with leagues or how any current decision is going to affect their leagues.” The second page of his brief is “of course to try to heal [the bad] perception— [where] actions are going to speak louder than words—and to grow league bowling competitively throughout the future.” Lietman’s first thoughts were to build bridges with league bowling constituencies and to get involved with proprietor associations. In early May he sent letters to all Bowlmor AMF’s 230,000 league bowlers. He followed in July with a letter to 300 local associations who serve the company’s centers and one to all the pro shop operators. The letters introduced him and invited “partner[ing] together for league bowling.” Response was “overwhelmingly positive” from all groups, he states. “We’ve never had anybody talk to us—thanks for reaching out.” That, for instance, from the pro shop operators. “My plan going forward, I want to loop them in on a regular basis, probably every couple of months, and let them know what’s going on. “That may not sound like much,” Lietman says, summing up his activities with the constituencies to date, “but they’ve never had a person at the corporate level for AMF—or Bowlmor AMF, for that matter—to speak to. I thought that was a great start.” On the association side, Lietman attended his first meeting as a BPAA director (in AMF’s seat) at Expo in June. He found it “completely interesting. Just an amazing resource. ” Lietman’s influence inside the company is also spreading. A radio campaign touted summer leagues, for example. “We’re still a growing company, our whole marketing wing is re-strategizing. How leagues interact with that marketing, that’s a first-time thing, so we’re figuring out what we can do.” And where group sales are traditionally focused on corporate business, “perhaps we can help educate group sales that events are a great audience for the idea of competitive play. That connection’s never been made.”

COVER STORY Continued from page 23 meetings with Live Nation,” a major live-events company and concert promoter.

DECISIONS As these speculations suggest, Bowlmor AMF is in no rush to freeze models, says Edison. “As we’re still [early in] this merger, we’re keeping an open mind and listening to our consumers and trying to give them what they want. We’re realizing it’s not a cookie-cutter solution for everybody. That’s why we’re doing this very carefully. How we renovate and how we Reclaimed metal fronts the bar. “From a 30,000-foot view, AMF is bowling in an alley, convert centers—we’re doing it on a property-by-property basis Bowlmor is bowling in a nightclub, Bowlero is bowling in a bar.” — Colie Edison. and understanding the individual markets that we’re in, and letting the market help comfortable seat,” Edison observes. drive the decision.” Other AMF-branded venues have been But some decisions on reidentified as “high-potential target investing are already definite. locations.” They will become Bowleros $35 million in Bowlmor AMF’s or Bowlmors, the latter in sophisticated first year for chain-wide metro markets. renovation is being followed in For Bowlero, a “soft” version of the the current, second year by $45 concept has opened in Midland, TX— million—all of it part of a threebranded Bowlero but without the full or four-year turnaround of AMF conversion as of press time. San Antonio centers that Shannon envisions. is next up for the full concept, to be The money will mean “some level 40 lanes. “Modern dirty” is the company’s name for the settee colors. followed by Mar Vista in California. Then of renovation” for each AMFBowleros should start popping up on the branded center that will continue East Coast. under that name, Edison says. Soft seating, new carpet, fresh paint or the like will be The number of units in the AMF included. “I don’t think we want to continue using bucket seating when we see that division will probably stay where it is, no one actually sits in them. Even the most professional sort of bowler wants a Edison indicates. “Our plan is to convert existing AMF locations to our Bowlero and Bowlmor concepts; we do not intend to purchase additional centers.” And over the long haul, the company would be delighted to see industry regard for Bowlero remain as high as it is so far. “I just took a meeting with the commissioner of the PBA. ‘We’re so happy We congratulate Mike Hefez on his to see a brand stepping up their game and purchase of this fine center and thank him for working with us to complete really doing a service for the entire the transaction. We wish Mike all the category,’” says a pleased Edison quoting best in the future. Tom Clark. “That’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to bring bowling back.” ❖


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(800) 222 • 9131 Check out our current listings at: 26


September 2014

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


m r a h C n r e h t u o S e l y t S h s i t i r B Meets

William Stallworth (sitting) and Justin Amick, partners in The Painted Pin.



September 2014


At The Painted Pin in Atlanta, bowling goes upscale.

By Anna M. Littles


ocated on Moores Mill Road, a dead-end street, is Atlanta's hottest new secret. You drive up to a warehouse that beckons you with a large metal door. Complementary valet parking is at your service. Two gas lanterns on the door light the way. You enter and behold, on gorgeous wood floors, a painted crest of a roaring lion greets you. The words ‘Venite Ludere’ (Latin for ‘Come Play’) are spelled out on the crest. And you wonder to yourself, is this really a bowling alley? You have just entered The Painted Pin, a one-of-a kind bowling center located in the heart of Atlanta, GA. This stunning establishment is the brainchild of Justin Amick, a young sommelier who is taking the food and beverage industry places it's never been before. It is said that the fruit does not fall far from the tree. In this case, Justin is following in the footsteps of his famous father, Bob Amick of Concentrics Restaurants, who is known for his expertise in the nightlife sector as well as the restaurant business. Recently, Justin branched out on his own and after a two-and-a half-year labor of love, The Painted Pin opened its doors on


September 2014



June 9 and the whole town is talking. Justin took a moment to chat with IBI about his journey and how The Painted Pin was conceived. A true child of the South, Justin grew up in Atlanta, and went to Tulane University in New Orleans on a basketball scholarship. After graduation in 2007, Justin spent three years in Craft Restaurants’ management training program in New York City under the tutelage of founder and chef Tom Colicchio. Then it was off to California’s Napa Valley to work for Trinchero Family Estates’ winemaking team for a year and a half toward becoming a sommelier (wine steward). He returned to Atlanta and the family business, but it was not long before Justin set his sights on a new level of education and skill. In 2011, he received a Rudd Scholarship, one of three given yearly for advanced sommelier training by the Guild of Sommeliers, an international organization of wine service professionals. Justin’s ultimate goal: to be a master wine steward. Currently he is studying for certification by the Court of Master Sommeliers, an international examining body, where the highest certification level has been reached by only 215 worldwide. Justin has combined his skills, education and experience and has broken new ground with his own spin on the food and beverage business. He and his business partner, William Stallworth, have been collaborating with executive chef Thomas Collins. The end result is 24,000 square feet of British prep meeting speakeasy, very upscale bowling and full concierge service including valet parking. According to Justin, “People don't give Atlanta credit. We have one of the best restaurant industries in the country. With a growing film industry, Atlanta has become the hub of the South and does not get the attention and the praise it deserves.” The Painted Pin has already established itself as a game-changer;



September 2014


by design, The Painted Pin is found via word of mouth. About that name, in each rack of pins, one is painted bright red. When the red pin makes its way to the front, and the player gets a strike or a split hitting that red pin, the guest will win a prize. So how is it that a man who wants to become a sommelier sets his sights on bowling? Justin feels the industry is driven by food and beverage and the time is perfect for a bowling center done at the same level of artistry as fine dining. What’s distinctive about The Painted Pin? Vintage lanes dating from the 1960s create a giant dance floor. Leather chesterfields adorn each lane. Club chairs in classic upholstered patterns, Persian rugs, a bar topped with dark walnut, and elaborate chandeliers—it all announces “British private club.” Except for bowling, all the games are complementary. There are shuffleboard tables, Skee-ball, pop-a-shots, a ping-pong room, Southern skittles along with two full-size bocce courts. There's an indoor courtyard with whitewashed walls and more gas lanterns and topiary plants. All 20 lanes are equipped with QubicaAMF Conqueror Pro scoring, but two of them are special. The Painted Pin is “the only bowling-driven venue in the country where you can PYOB laneside,” Justin says. He means ‘pull your own beer.’ The two special lanes, exclusively for private events, are equipped with four draft-beer lines that measure beer by the ounce (which is how customers are charged). As for the menu, it features wood-fire pizzas from two Neapolitan ovens, tacos, salads, sliders and more. Beverages include artisan wines and cocktails. The space accommodates 300-350 people. Groups of six can comfortably bowl per lane. Upon entering, there is a vintage desk with vintage bowling trophies. There, the staff takes your information. A bowling concierge brings your shoes to the lane, along with anything else you need while bowling. What does all that concierge service cost? $25 per lane per hour Monday through Thursday, $35 per lane per hour Friday through Sunday. A blossoming film industry, exquisite night life and now, The Painted Pin. And you can find it all in Atlanta. ❖

Anna M. Littles, a screenplay and freelance writer and producer originally from the Bronx, NY, now resides in Santa Monica, CA. You can see her work on YouTube, IMDB, or on her website at



September 2014


That’ll be Brent Bowers, who’s been hired by the state BPA to coach at any member center that asks. By Fred Groh


t may sound odd to hear a coach say, “I don’t believe there’s a wrong or right way to play the game,” but Brent Bowers says that, and he’s a coach. Bowers entered the circle of champions with first place at the Las Vegas Main Event in 2006. Two years later, he had a standout year: collegiate national champ with Wichita State, Junior Team USA member, and four golds in international competition at the PABCON Youth Championships in El Salvador. The next year, 2009, he was back with Junior Team USA and champ at the Junior World Team Challenge, repeated his win at the Las Vegas Main Event, and triumphed at the

Brent Bowers brings coaching to the 40-member Kansas BPA centers on a regular basis. He offers coaching on his own dime and as time permits to centers that are not members of the association. 38


September 2014


Bowers concentrates on a bowler.

USBC Youth Open Team Championships. He also copped the David Dahms award for sportsmanship. In 2010, he took home a $10,000 check as runnerup at the True Amateur tourney in Vegas. The 2011 USBC Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow honor seems almost anticlimactic. And did we mention that he passed his Silver Level certification with USBC? Or that Bowers is all of 26 years old? These days he’s given up international travel and confines himself mostly to Kansas, hitting the road to centers all over the state as an employee of the Kansas BPA. His title is KSBPA Head Teaching Professional and Director of Youth Development. “It’s proven that for every three new bowlers we gain each year, we lose two,” Bowers will tell you. “The proprietors were confident here in Kansas when they hired me that a lot of that has to do with people not getting better.” That was in October 2011. Bowers has been calling on centers around the state since then, offering his coaching expertise to members in the association and, on his own dime and as time permits, to centers that are not members of the association. Of 80 centers in Kansas, 20 or so are small and “just kind of going through the motions,” says Bowers. “It’s sad. [They] don’t offer anything. 40


September 2014

The proprietors aren’t good bowlers or good coaches themselves. They don’t have any wellestablished players in the facility that are interested in coaching.” They’re not really interested in his coaching services. Another 20 have quite a bit of coaching talent in-house. “They do a pretty good job coaching already.” That leaves 40—half the houses in Kansas— where Bowers does most of his business. “Often it’s cold-calling,” he explains. “When I first signed on I would call and introduce myself and essentially tell them, ‘The dues you pay to the Kansas State Bowling Proprietors pay my salary, so I’m an employee of yours. If there’s anything I can do to help you grow your business, please let me know.’ I’m available if they don’t have a lot of coaching structure in their center.” If Bowers is paying his first calls on a center, he usually offers a two-hour group clinic to start. Limited to 15 students, the clinic costs $15 per person. He also offers individual instruction at $25 for a half-hour, $40 an hour, or $150 for five one-hour sessions. He does teach rank beginners. “Two hours of bowling for $15 is already a pretty good deal and a lot of people see [the group clinic] as just that. I get a lot of kids that are still throwing house balls and house shoes. One of our first encouragements is to get them into a ball that is drilled and fitted for them because there’s a lot more [in the way of coaching] we can do with that.” A heavy part of Bowers’ customer base is seniors. “I think senior bowlers bowl just as much if not more than anybody else on earth. They’ve got nothing but time, although we’re typically limited with the seniors [physically]. We still try to broaden their knowledge and help them understand why new equipment is better than old equipment, why rotation is beneficial. I get a lot of repeat customers from seniors. They’re enjoying it enough to want to keep investing in it.” Bowers tries to maintain the program so proprietors don’t have to. He posts his own promo material, for instance, including laminates over the urinals announcing the date of the next clinic. He also collects email addresses from his students. Planning to pay a call in a particular city, he’ll email his customers there to announce his appearance. “I’ll be back on July 3. Check at the front counter if you’re interested in signing up.”


After studying a bowler’s form, Bowers gives personalized coaching instruction.

“The only thing I require of proprietors is that the lineage is donated. But hopefully those [bowlers] come in and buy a drink or some food, and almost always after one of those clinics, their pro shop gets hit with a ball or two. It’s not that hard to [encourage] someone that’s throwing a Black Beauty that technology matters and if you want to raise your average 10 pins overnight, we’ve just got to get you into a new bowling ball. “There’s lots of [revenue] benefits,” Bowers has learned, “but they’re kind of off-the-book. It’s hard to prove them until after the fact.” Two problems go with the territory, occasionally. “Sometimes you run into some struggle with the local proprietor [being] the best bowler in town, so they don’t want somebody else coming in looking better.” But most centers that ask for Bowers understand the value of having coaching talent that is not just a local player. “When people watch [a local] bowl in a league, they say, ‘Who are you to be coaching people?”—[whereas] I’ve got a bit of a résumé”—to say the least. Other times Bowers can run up against bona fide coaches. To maintain good relations with them, “I work really hard,” he says. “I don’t want to step on their toes.” And here he returns to his philosophy of coaching. “I think there’s some general basic fundamental things that have to happen. [But] as long as you can align the ball with the target the same way every time, I’m not too concerned. What’s going to work for Jimmy is not necessarily going to work for Bobby.” Bowers’ answer to these fairly rare problems with locals and other coaches is “communications and relationships and making sure that I don’t frustrate anybody.” Ninety percent of his job is communication, he says. That imposes different requirements on him in different situations. He gives an example: Hard Rock Lanes in Garden City. “Their proprietor is a USBC Bronze Level certified coach and he does a lot of coaching on his own. So when I go in there, [he] and I typically tag-team a clinic. 42


September 2014

That way we don’t step on each other’s toes.” Bowers is evaluated twice a year by a state BPA task force that sets the guidelines for the teaching professional position. The task force considers word-of-mouth from individual proprietors for whom Bowers has coached. They include Jim Mayberry, owner of Walnut Bowl in Great Bend, who is also a member of the task force and a Bronze Level certified coach. Mayberry reports that of “well over 100” bowlers Bowers has coached at Walnut Bowl, “probably half of those have just started in a league or are fairly new to bowling. Half have bowled in multiple leagues because he’s made them more competitive. Probably 35 or 40 are repeat customers. He’s an exceptional teacher.” “He gets lots of glowing reports,” task force chair Bob Johannes concurs. “The customers he’s done clinics for really like him.” In between coaching calls, Bowers runs four major youth tournaments under a contract by which the state BPA manages the state USBC youth program. He also manages the Kansas BPA/USBC website ( and his own coaching site ( He got the urge to start coaching when he was diagnosed with early-onset rheumatoid arthritis while he was at Wichita State. “I figured if I wanted to stay in this game long term, I probably shouldn’t bank on the ability to throw balls. I thought if I start coaching at this stage, I’ll be a step ahead of a lot of people because most people don’t start coaching until their bowling careers come to a conclusion.” He still bowls “a little bit on the side,” though. And for the foreseeable future, his name will continue on the game side. He started a bowling tour in Wichita in 2011 before he signed on as a coach for the BPA. His brother, Brian, maintains it. It’s called the Bowers Bowling Tour. ❖

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


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GKM International, Inc. is your first step to chosing the right bar stool for your center or lounge. The popular, laser-cut, ten pin design is available is a variety of seat pad colors and fabric and also frame colors which allow you to integrate these chairs into your center’s overall color scheme. Want a custom laser–cut logo? That’s available too. Comfortable, durable and stylish, call today for more info at 310-791-7092 or go to


Lasertron, designer of indoor laser tag experiences, has introduced its NEW LED-illuminated arenas. Operators no longer need to install and replace black light bulbs. LED-illuminated arenas are more cost-effective and look amazing. Clients report complete satisfaction and high praise. LED is definitely the way to go for the future of laser tag. For more information call Ann at 305-257-3930 or visit 44


Buy an ATM and now you’re stuck with higher fees? There is an answer. Credit Card Industry can help you reprogram your ATM. With just a few quick keystrokes, you can save money and receive CCI’s amazing service. Just ask Pismo Bowl in Pismo Beach, California! Call Sargon Givargis and have him walk you through it. CCI has been helping bowling centers for over 15 years. Let them help you today. Call (800) 528-1782.


September 2014

Need professional marketing help, but can’t afford it? The Virtual Marketing Manager program from QubicaAMF provides a customized solution based on the unique business needs of your center. They will work with your company to help execute both strategic and tactical plans, with help all along the way. Go to to get your FREE marketing assessment. Hurry, space is limited!


Intercard offers the latest, most advanced technology to create a positive customer experience. The iWave card reader features the fastest RFID and NFC technology on the market. Simply wave the playcard to check balances and play instantly. Increase gaming time and your bottom line. More than 1,500 facilities are benefitting from the iWave. Call 800-732-3770 or email for more information.


Sierra Products’ website,, is the perfect stop for birthday party packages, tournament sales, league prizes, glow bowling nights, and snack bar sales. Most products can be personalized with your center name or event name. Call 800-900-7695 for more information or visit




Danny & Daryl Tucker

Tucker Bowling Equipment Co. 609 N.E. 3rd St. Tulia, Texas 79088 Call (806) 995-4018 Fax (806) 995-4767

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EQUIPMENT FOR SALE REPAIR & EXCHANGE. Call for details (248) 375-2751. NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or


September 2014


CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE NEEDING A NEW VENUE? Nightclub entertainment bowling is HOT. COMPLETE 4, 6, 8, (+) bowling packages with install. Complete 10-lane package just removed and ready to reinstall. Affordable. See for custom ideas or call (970) 946-9933. GOING OUT OF BUSINESS after 43 years! AMF autoscore packages + complete packages. CHEAP + shipping. Call Craig Doren (712) 253-8730. REDUCED FOR QUICK SALE. Powerlifts AMF/Brunswick, AMF-SPL head sections, A2 pinsetters complete or buy for parts, Brunswick 2000 hood/racks, Brunswick Swing and Swivel, AMF Excel scoring, Steltronic automatic scoring w/ flat screens, and reconditioned Gloss Boss. Installations available. (970) 946-9933 or


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September 2014

RETIRING! Selling all scoring parts & exchange units for Accu-Score Plus, XL & BOSS systems. Also, electronic test equipment for all components, plus installation equipment & full set of lane sanding equipment. NEEDS TO GO. Craig Doren (712) 253-8730.

CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE Get Redline Foul Lights at or call Werner at (888) 569-7845. Home of, your FREE buy and sell site.

AMF and some BRUNSWICK PC board repair/exchange. 6-month warranty, fast turnaround. Call or write: WB8YJF Service 5586 Babbitt Road, New Albany, Ohio 43054 Toll Free: 888-902-BOWL (2695) Ph./Fax: (614) 855-3022 (Jon) E-mail: Visit us on the WEB!

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

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SERVICES AVAILABLE Drill Bit Sharpening and Measuring Ball Repair. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or AMF 5850 & 6525 CHASSIS. Exchange your tired or damaged chassis for an upgraded, rewired, cleaned, painted and ready-to-run chassis. Fast turnaround. Lifetime guarantee. References available. CHASSIS DOCTOR (330) 314-8951.

CENTERS FOR SALE NEBRASKA: 8-lane Brunswick center with bar, game room and restaurant. Active leagues. Call (402) 335-2095. GEORGIA: Busy 32-lane center, real estate included. Great location in one of fastest– growing counties in metro Atlanta. 5 years new with all the amenities. Excellent numbers. Call (770) 356-8751.


September 2014


CLASSIFIEDS CENTERS FOR SALE NE MINNESOTA: Food, Liquor & Bowling. Established 8 lanes between Mpls & Duluth w/ large bar, dining room, banquet area. Two large State employment facilities nearby. High six-figure gross. Call Bryan (218) 380-8089. LARRY DOBBS APPRAISALS. (214) 6748187.

CENTERS FOR SALE SOUTHWEST KANSAS: Well-maintained 8lane center, A-2s, full-service restaurant. Includes business and real estate. Nice, smaller community. Owner retiring. $212,000. Leave message (620) 397-5828. WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA: One of the top five places to move! Remodeled 32lane center. Good numbers. $3.1m gets it all. Fax qualified inquiries to (828) 253-0362.



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September 2014

CENTERS FOR SALE CENTRAL ILLINOIS: PRICED TO SELL!! 8-lane center with AMF 82-70s, full-service restaurant, pro shop. Plus pool tables, karaoke machine & DJ system. Asking $125,000.00 with RE. (217) 351-5152 or EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA: 6-lane Brunswick center, bar & grill, drive-thru liquor store in small college town. Also, 3 apartment buildings with 40 units, good rental history. Call (701) 330-7757 or (701) 430-1490.

CLASSIFIEDS CENTERS FOR SALE NW KANSAS: 12-lane center, AS-80s, Lane Shield, snack bar, pro shop, game & pool rooms. See pics and info @ or contact Charles (785) 443-3477. 16-lane center in Southern Colorado mountains. Great condition. 18,000 s/f building w/ restaurant & lounge. Paved parking 100+ vehicles. Established leagues & tournaments. $950,000 or make offer. Kipp (719) 852-0155. OKLAHOMA: 16-lane center w/ large laser tag, only arcade in area and thriving lounge. Steltronics SuperElex w/ 42� flat screens and refurbished A2s. Completely upgraded and remodeled. Owner financing and option to purchase shopping center for viable buyers. Business for sale apart from real estate. (719) 251-1616.

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September 2014





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SEPTEMBER 16–17 TBCA Educational Tour 3 Texas center venues: Houston, New Braunfels & Plano

29 Illinois State BPA BOD Meeting Holiday Inn & Suites, Bloomington Bill Duff, 847-982-1305

30 BCA of Florida Annual Town Hall Meeting Villas of Grand Cypress Orlando 407-239-4700



2 BCA of Ohio Executive Board Meeting Crowne Plaza, Dublin Pat Marazzi 937-433-8363

6-8 East Coast Bowling Centers Convention Golden Nugget, Atlantic City

13 Alabama/Mississippi BPA Annual Meeting Robinsonville MS Chris Gallas 817-385-8471

13-17 Brunswick Training GS-Series Pinsetter Maintenance Muskegon, MI 800-937-2695, Option 2

19-21 West Coast Bowling Convention Silver Legacy Resort & Casino Reno Sandi Thompson 925-485-1855

20-14 Brunswick Training Vector Scoring Maintenance Muskegon, MI 800-937-2695, Option 2

27 – November 7 A-2 Pinsetter Training Program Moline, IL Frank Miroballi 540-325-7684;

28 BPA of Pennsylvania Annual Meeting Site TBD Chris Gallas, 817-385-8471

NOVEMBER 2-3 Illinois State BPA Annual Fall Meeting BOD & General Membership Timber Creek Inn & Suites Convention Center, Sandwich, IL Bill Duff, 847-982-1305 IBI

September 2014






September 2014

his 1952 ad, which appeared in U.S. News & World Report, is more businesslike than socially and graphically pleasing. Fun and family, printed in vibrant colors, were the focal points for most bowling advertising found in Life, Look, etc. However, ‘business’ in this news-related magazine was the focus for American Machine and Foundry Company (AMF), the first to place these new automatic machines in bowling centers. Pinspotters were the springboard for the popularity of the sport and for the upsurge of business for bowling proprietors. Ad placement was not on whimsy. The term ‘automatic’ would be the spin and definitely on its way to changing everything. ❖

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