THE WORLD'S ONLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE BUSINESS OF BOWLING
PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager email@example.com Skype: scottfrager
6 ISSUE AT HAND
24 COVER STORY
Slow News Month
Par for the Lanes
Can bowling learn from golf’s strategic plan?
EDITORIAL CONSULTANT Gregory Keer
By Scott Frager
By Fred Groh
DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING Chris Holmes
OFFICE MANAGER Patty Heath firstname.lastname@example.org
8 SHORTS • All Star Lanes knows how to promo • Brunswick and BVL bowl for freedom • “Bobby the Bowler and the fearless Five” – a good read • TenPins & More and ARCA Opening Doors excel at bowl-a-thons • Peter Nordstrom’s alien + bowling pins = art
34 PROFILE It’s a Hoot and a Holler! A look at the oldest certified lanes in the U.S. By Bree Gutierrez
40 CENTER STAGE Napa’s New Crush
54 REMEMBER WHEN 1977 National Lampoon
44 Showcase 45 Datebook
It’s So Easy Being Green
Jon Perper’s center is saving big by going green
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 2012, B2B Media, Inc. No part of this magazine may be reprinted without the publisher’s permission.
MEMBER AND/OR SUPPORTER OF:
By Joan Taylor
12655 Ventura Boulevard Studio City, CA 91604 (818) 789-2695(BOWL) Fax (818) 789-2812 email@example.com
By Fred Groh
ART DIRECTION & PRODUCTION Designworks
16 INDUSTRY NEWS
FOUNDER Allen Crown (1933-2002)
The boutique bowling lounge in the Meritage Hotel
Three industry leaders explain how to change the banking industry’s perception of bowling
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jackie Fisher
www.dzynwrx.com (818) 735-9424
Compiled by Patty Heath
Polishing Our Image
Fred Groh Bree Gutierrez Patty Heath Joan Taylor
THE ISSUE AT HAND
Slow News Month In the local TV news business, one can easily tell when it’s a slow news day. Typically, the too handsome and too beautiful newscasters will engage in little “extra” flirtatious chitchat about the cat that got stuck in a tree requiring firefighter rescue. The weatherman will be doing his reporting surrounded by cute puppies looking for homes. As annoying as this may be for us viewers, it’s even more so for the newscasters and producers. And, while no one really wishes for a BADnews news day, if you’re in the news business you pray for a BUSY news day. We had such a day on June 21st, the summer solstice: literally, the longest day of the year for us in the northern hemisphere. Bright and early that morning, bowling news media and keyindustry leaders received an email from QubicaAMF with a subject headline: “Bowltech and QubicaAMF Announce Potential Transaction.” According to the release, the two companies have entered into a non-binding letter of
intent for Bowltech to purchase QubicaAMF. For many of our readers, Bowltech International, based in the Netherlands, may not be well known. However, at the manufacturer and distributor level worldwide and at the center level in Europe, the company name as well as the name of its owner, Hans Krol, are powerhouses. Due to the timing of the announcement, just days before the start of 2012 Bowl Expo, it seems as if this non-binding agreement is sure to happen. For this publisher, I think a collective sigh of relief is in order. When the ink is signed on this deal, the QubicaAMF brand will be in strong, capable hands. Krol bleeds bowling through and through. His passion for the business has been well documented, especially in this magazine. Please stay tuned to IBI, as we interview the powers-at-be and discuss the impact of such a huge transaction to the entire bowling industry. One thing is for sure, our newsroom got what it wished for. There will be many, many busy news days in our future.
– SCOTT FRAGER, PUBLISHER AND EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org
THIS MONTH AT www.Facebook.com/BowlingFan Touting www.Facebook.com/BowlingFan is worth repeating. Word is spreading and centers from all corners are beginning to make their names known. We “Like” it and you “Like” it, but now is the time to put your center where the “Likes” are. Send 10 photos of your center to email@example.com along with a 25-word description of your center with the name and location included. We’ll do the rest!!! You will find YOUR center 6
added to Centers We Like. Such an easy way to show off! Take a tour through the site now! Oh, and don’t forget to hit “Like” while you’re there.
PEOPLEWATCHING Kegel announced a new addition to its Technical Support Team. Doug Dukes has come on board as a Technical Sales Specialist working from his home in Delaware. He will also spend time traveling to help Kegel distributors with sales, installations, and general service as well as representing Kegel at tournaments, seminars Doug Dukes and tradeshows worldwide. Dukes has been in the industry since 1998 and has worked as a pro shop owner and operator and has run his local bowling center for 10 years. With his certification both with Brunswick and Kegel in pinsetter mechanics, his overall background lends itself to being an asset in his new position. “It has been a dream and a goal to join the Kegel staff, and I am proud to be a part of an exciting future ahead,” Dukes said. Besides organizations and mechanical expertise, Dukes coached the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Women’s bowling team for over eight years helping them earn four National Titles and four Conference Championships. John Thrift, Technical Support Manager shared. “I am so excited to have someone join our team who is so well rounded with lane maintenance, pinsetter mechanics and coaching.” Brunswick Bowling announced the hiring of PBA Hall of Fame bowler Parker Bohn III as a product specialist in its Consumer Products division. Bohn has been on Brunswick’s professional bowling staff for 24 years competing and giving seminars and clinics. His new responsibilities will include representing Brunswick at industry events Parker Bohn III and visiting pro shops and centers offering product support and assistance. “Adding Parker to our team of product specialists will help us to expand our reach to pro shops and consumers around the world,” said Corey Dykstra, vice president for Brunswick consumer and Aftermarket Products.
Industry Veteran Mike Quitter Retires Mike Quitter, Vice President International, has announced his retirement as of August 31 from Ebonite International. Quitter has been in the bowling industry for 42 years and at Ebonite International for 25+ of those years. Robert Reid, Vice President Marketing, will take Quitter’s place as Vice President of Worldwide Sales. On Quitter’s retirement, CEO Randy Schickert stated, “Mike has been the pillar of our international business for years, and 8
Embed, a leading provider of Machine Monitoring, Cashless Card and Point of Sale Systems for the amusement and family entertainment industry, has announced additions to its sales personnel. Andrea Bisi has been appointed to the role of Director of Sales for the regions of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Bisi has had 15 Andrea Bisi years prior industry experience with the bowling sector where he held a number of positions including a senior international role with Brunswick Bowling and Billiards. Part of the direct sales team in the UK will be Steven Wooley, a long-time Embed employee with more than five years operation experience in the USA and UK. He has moved into the role of sales executive with responsibilities across the UK and Europe. Embed CEO, Adam Steinberg stated Steven Wooley that “Embed is delighted to announce these key appointments to meet the growing demand for Embed products and services.” BowlSole welcomes Hall of Fame member Norm Duke to its organization. Duke will serve as the company’s celebrity spokesperson beginning with appearances At Bowl Expo in Reno. “We are very pleased to have somone of Norm’s stature as our celebrity Norm Duke representative,” said Chairman of the Board Tom Marandos. “In this capacity he will help us to develop the BowlSole brand worldwide.” Targeted to the casual bowler, BowlSole is the world’s first disposable pad that directly adheres to street shoes and slides the same as regular bowling shoes. Duke is a 30-year veteran of the PBA Tour and has won 37 titles including 1994 and 2000 PBA player of the Year. he will be missed.” When asked about his plans, Quitter was quick to say that he plans to focus on his family. “My wife and I may spend winter on a beach somewhere, but otherwise, the only traveling I’ll be doing is to visit my daughters and grand-daughter.” Reid noted, “Mike and I are headed out on a world-wide tour. We’re going to personally visit many of our distributors, and he will have the opportunity to say goodbye while introducing me to our valued partners and clients. Mike has done a great job over the years of building those relationships, and I look forward to continuing them.”
SUMMER READING: “BOBBY THE BOWLER” Here’s a great idea! When you need your child to have some quiet time during the summer, have him read. R.J. Friedman of Cape Coral, FL, has written “Bobby the Bowler and the Fearless Five” for children under 10 years of age. It’s a story of positive family support, building close friendships, learning decision making and good sportsmanship. Friedman, a site manager for a construction company, has been involved in bowling for 30 years. In that time, he has accumulated at least 10 league championships. Bobby and his friends, the Fearless Five, can be found on Amazon.com or online at www.bobbythebowler.com. Other books by Friedman, all in the bowling arena, are “Shoe Up,” “Fire Up” and “Burn ‘Em Up.”
EXPANSION, OPENINGS & NEW BEGINNINGS Not all older centers are being gobbled up by big box stores. There is new life in old, comfortable establishments. Good renovation can take a 50+ year old center and bring it right up to snuff. Doing just that are four centers getting ready for the fall season. Established in 1962, Town and Country Bowling Center in Berryville, AR, is getting a lift and interior spiff! Robert Kleffman reported that the 10-lane center is having its lanes renewed, acquiring new pins and installing flat screen scoring monitors.
Bowling & Beyond in Dubuque, IA, is closing temporarily in order to remodel.
Sitting quietly, awaiting new energy and vision was first, Varsity Lanes, and then Alex Alleys in Greencastle, IN. Now, after two years of sitting vacant, the center will reopen with a new name, A’n J Bowl –third name’s the charm! Garry and Valerie Waters bought the property and with a lot of work and renovation will open on August 1. The 14-lane center, recently certified by the USBC, will get a makeover from the roof down. The “plan” is to be open seven days a week and bring back the youth league on Saturdays, have cosmic bowling in the evening and eventually host parties. Guiding them is Dustin McKinney a bowling center veteran with a degree from Vincennes University in bowling management; he has been supported by the Water's sons, Andy and Joe who have been instrumental in making this goal a reality.
Danville, VA, is home to Riverside Lanes, which began its history in 1960 as a 32-lane facility. It was changed to Country Club Lanes in 1992 and in 2006 was sold and renamed Riverside Lanes. Today, Riverside Lanes is a 40-lane center owned by Shirley Powell and her son Drew
Twelve Strike offers I-Bowl First there was bowling. Then there was cosmic bowling. Then there was music and light shows and interactive screens. Now one’s ball can skip the light fantastic with new tracking software and 3D mapping technologies. Twelve Strike has announced its innovative new product I-Bowl. Working with Pearl Media which is known for creating unique experiences and event solutions, this concept breathes new life into an old game!. Adding animations, I-Bowl tracks the ball and adds graphics that come to life and react when a ball is thrown down the lane. It can also be programmed to react to play changes such as a strike or a gutter ball and the applications can personalize the effects for parties. 10
While we usually show the end result, here are photos showing the beginning! We will look forward to a final view.
Dillon and his wife Ebony. Helping to spruce up this outstanding Southside Virginia bowl are managers Kyle McKinney and Richard Warren . The work has just begun with the hopes of finishing by mid July. The new lanes are Qubica SPL Synthetics; the scoring package is QubicaAMF Conqueror Pro; shoes will be Brunswick Velcros; and the furniture, ball return covers and racks, masking and wall graphics coming July are all from Murrey International. To finish off the new look will be new carpeting and tile with painting, inside and out done by the staff. Everyone can take pride in the outcome!
SHORTS ROLLING THUNDER HOLDS FUNDRAISER HONORING IWO JIMA VET Incorporating Memorial Day and Flag Day, Bowl-ARama in Sanford, ME, was the venue of choice for the Rolling Thunder, a national organization incorporated in 1995 with over 90 chapters dedicated to POWs and MIAs of all wars. The event, held June 23, was the fourth annual “Bowling for Veterans” Bowl-a-Thon. Owen Martin, owner of Bowl-A-Rama was quoted by www.fosters.com, “My grandfather was a World War II veteran, and I am very pleased that I am able to host the bowl-a-thon. …” Veterans from various branches of the Armed Forces were honored. Special guest and honorary chairperson was Harrison “Hutch” Hutchins, a World War II veteran and member of the 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division, which was involved in the invasion and capture of Iwo Jima in 1945. Attendees Master Sergeant and Tuskegee Airman James Sheppard and Cpl. Leon Tanguay, a World War II prisoner of war, were also honored.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI THE EVER POPULAR GO-TO THEME
Pin-Up’s Against Cancer is a group of pin-up models that have joined together to use their modeling experience to help organizations in the Northwest directly involved in cancer funding. They organize their own charitable events, and funds go directly to families affected by cancer. This year West Seattle Bowl was the host center and the theme was the popular movie, “The Big Lebowski.”
SPAY-NEUTER CLINIC STRIKES FOR FUNDS A mobile clinic, named Neuter Commuter, tries to give people a less expensive option for neutering their pets, thus combating pet overpopulation. In order to raise funds to keep the clinic going, T-Bowl Lanes in Wayne, NJ, held the seventh annual “Strike out Pet Overpopulation” hosted by the Passaic County Mobile Spay/Neuter Coalition. Guests were entertained with laser bowling and a live DJ. The price to attend included two games of bowling and two shoe rentals, plus a score of prizes including Broadway tickets, spa treatments and gourmet items. “This kind of fundraiser is really crucial,” said Linda Nardone, president of PCMSNC. “We need to make $10 to $15,000 over our operating costs in order to keep running per year. People can’t afford to spend hundreds at a vet for a neuter.”
MAPLE FAMILY CENTERS
New York state’s Maple Family Centers, a Long Island-based, family-owned chain of five bowling centers has launched XBowling at its Rockville and Farmingdale centers and Jib Lanes. A free download, the app is designed to connect bowlers with each other at any XBowling-enabled center. It is currently available for Apple iOS and Google Android devices. “You can compete against family and friends or people anywhere in the world. You can bowl at different times, it doesn’t matter. You can also compete against yourself,” explains Joe LaSpina, vice president of Maple Family Centers. “It’s a fun way to compete and to stay in touch.”
FREEBIES Kids Bowl Free is off and running! Summer freebies abound and the Kids Bowl Free is at the top of the list this summer. More than 1,000 bowling centers are offering kids two FREE games a day from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It's not too late to register your bowling center and take advantage of this summer revenue-driving program. In addition to building business over the summer months, Kids Bowl Free helps you build a database to use all year long. In 2012, Kids bowl Free and it's parent company, Bowling Business Builders International, will donate $100,000 for classroom supplies. For more information call Andy Vasko at 1-800-720-0410.
PRIMO PROMOTION WHAT TO DO ON A LOW REVENUE DAY All Star Lanes, a 64-lane center in Baton Rouge, LA, has managed over the last seven years to build a league appreciation tournament on what is normally a very low revenue day, Mother’s Day. Mike Lacroix, general manager, shared that the center wanted to give back to all its league bowlers and also find a way to incorporate families and Mother’s Day in the mix. The last tournament—always on Mother’s Day-- hosted over 500 participants. Kim Bogan, marketing director, explained that to underwrite the event, All Star Lanes created brackets for the center. Each evening league was involved and the center made $5 for each bracket. All bracket money was placed in a separate prize fund account. All prizes for the tournament and attendees came from that prize fund. There were over 80 different gifts both cash and items. Everyone participating received a gift bag full of goodies and got a chance to Spin the Wheel and win a prize. Moms, of course, were given a rose. With the awards for the Men’s and Women’s Tournaments, $17,000 in cash and prizes were given out. The key here is that promotions, if used creatively, can both honor loyal customers and cultivate business. A “slow day” is really just an opportunity to do something outstanding! All Star Lanes has put that to the test.
The brains behind the day are(l to r) Phil Godley, league coordinator; Kim Bogan, marketing director; and Mike LaCroix, general manager.
One of the prize tables
Everyone had a chance to spin the wheel for a prize.
ARCA'S 4TH BOWLING PINS ANNUAL CELEBRITY DO NOT ALIENATE
Major League baseball pitcher from 1991–2001, Bob Scanlon and Steve Mackie of TenPins & More bowling center did their magic once again to put on ARCA’s 4th Annual Celebrity Bowl-a-Thon. Scanlon who is now color commentator for the San Diego Padres, underwrites the costs, puts together the teams and collects pledges. With the help of Mackie and his host center, last year’s efforts netted $93,000; this year’s goal was $100,000 Steve Mackie of TenPins & More which was exceeded by $3,000 - $103,000. This brought emcees the festivies. “Steve kept the crowd jazzed all day,” their four-year combined total to over $316,000. ARCA Opening Doors is a private, not-for-profit Michele Cody of ARCA said. organization caring for over 600 children and adults with developmental disabilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico since 1957. The fundraising event, held at Mackie’s TenPins & More in Rio Rancho, hosted celebrity athletes such as Jessie Tuggle of the Atlanta Celebrity bowlers, board members and Falcons, Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos ARCA Ambassadors assembled during and Browning Nagle of the New York Jets along the mid-day presentation. with celebrities from the all areas of entertainment and sports. Quinton Aaron, actor, from “The Blindside” also participated. Forty-eight teams hit the lanes with the celebrities and special needs participants all taking part in the five- and-a-half hour event which included not only bowling but food and a silent auction.
Diamond Lanes Odessa, TX (40 Lanes) We congratulate Harry Deter and John Burns on their purchase of this fine center and thank Peggy Brooks and Ken Urban for trusting Ken Mischel to handle the sale. We wish them all the best in the future.
Bowling’s Only Full-Service Brokers, Appraisers & Financial Advisors 28200 Southfield Rd., Southfield, MI 48076
(800) 222 • 9131
Black Oak Casino in Tuolumme, CA, held its annual Alley Art May 18-20. This unique, quirky event shows off the creativity of local artists using bowling pins as the vehicle for some outstanding works of art. Peter Nordstrom has entered some of his works the last couple a years. His main focus is sculpting figurative statues and has also worked with the video game company Namco Bandai. He is a great fan of H.R. Giger’s style and alien designs. “I really love aliens-sculpting and studying them. In fact, I would probably marry one if I ever met a really sexy female,” he said in a tongue-in-cheek moment. You can visit www.futantshadow.deviantart.com/gall ery to view Nordstrom’s other works. So, when you can’t seem to get a strike, don’t take it out on the pins. Just grab one and create something wonderful. Nordstrom’s work is highly detailed and imaginative. Just try to look at it for a moment! One detail leads to another. Photos by Rory Amber Thompson (www.roryamber.com)
By Fred Groh o, says Ken Paton, who has brokered about $75 million in bowling loans in the past 15 years, the bowling industry doesn’t have an “image” problem with lenders. Rather, the problem is that lenders have no image of the bowling industry. “Unless they bowl themselves or their kids do or their neighbors do and they talk about it, it is flying below their radar screen.” Center broker Sandy Hansell thinks we’re doing a little better than that, but not much. “There are some banks which have done a lot of bowling loans and have had bowling clients for years. But a great many bankers have never done a bowling loan or very few. There’s this underlying concept that bowling is something from the 1960s. We’re old, we’re not hip, we’re not with the current wave.” BPAA executive director Steve Johnson isn’t quite as blunt. He’s not too far from Paton and Hansell, either. “I don’t know if I’d call it a problem. I just think there’s a lot of misinformation
INDUSTRY ISSUES about the industry. People who don’t know our industry are often making decisions based on reports they read.” Bankers often rely on reports published by outside companies which purport to produce expert analyses of various industries. When it comes to bowling, these so-called scholarly studies often are the basis for lending. One example: a study on bowling published last October by IBISWorld, which pontificates on about 700 industries for banks and other financial services clients, was unequivocal: “The Bowling Alley industry is in the declining phase of its lifecycle.” The IBIS report stressed that industry revenues and the number of centers declined steadily from 2006-2011 and predicted a continuing slide until 2016. “If these messages spread and get repeated by other so-called ‘experts,’ and if large numbers of bankers and appraisers buy into these ideas, soon no bowling proprietor will be able to borrow any money for any purpose,” Hansell fears. Three years ago, after another erroneous IBIS report upset many bowling people, talk circulated about compiling up-to-date industry stats and mailing them to lenders around the country. Paton, asked by BPAA for his opinion on the idea, replied that with hundreds of thousands of lenders in the country and no database that could reach them all, the logistics would be impossible. “Just because someone sits at a desk at a branch doesn’t mean that they’re the kind of person who would do a commercial loan like this.” Nothing happened. Now, under Johnson, and in light of the IBIS report from last October, events are moving again. Johnson made two moves. First, he signed up BPAA as a member of IBIS. “We’re going through all the [IBIS] reports and correcting them. The reports they put out
aren’t factual for our industry but they don’t know any better, so we’re getting the facts and we will show them the true state of the industry versus something they’re guessing on.” The updated stats will be submitted to IBIS analysts in plenty of time for the regular updating of IBIS reports in November, Johnson says. His second move was to put his seal on an informal task force of bowling leaders, including Hansell, Paton, Michigan proprietor Mark Voight, BPAA pastpresident John LaSpina and the major equipment manufacturers. There will always be more space at the table, Johnson says. “We’ll tap into anybody’s resources that can assist us.” For Johnson, it’s a matter of BPAA’s duty. “It’s the responsibility of the BPAA to put factual information out there to assist our members in putting together their business plans, with different types of loans and financial information to help them get the funding they need.” He says the task force “could definitely” become a formal BPAA committee. “The main task here,” Hansell explains about the task force, “is to polish the image of the industry, primarily for banks, secondarily for investors.” That’s why he and Paton will write a detailed report designed for this purpose.
“Bowling centers too often are considered single purpose buildings, like car washes or motels, which are almost impossible to convert to a different use. Bankers who are approached for a bowling center loan are concerned, as they are with a car wash or motel, about whether they can get their money back if they have to foreclose,” says Paton, who has worked with lenders on about 75 projects since he came to bowling. The pamphlet will aim to convince lenders that a center can be successfully turned to other uses if the lender has to sell it. The heart of the document will be a list of successful conversions–currently topping 150–that Hansell has been compiling for years. Paton will do title searches, contact present owners and interview them about their conversions. Then he’ll select eight to ten and present them as case studies in the report. “They make a loan on cash flow but they get out of a loan based on collateral value. So if they don’t understand the industry and don’t know how to find a buyer for the collateral, their inclination is to walk away from the loan request,” Paton reports. Lenders’ concerns about finding a buyer are understandable, given the “functional obsolescence” in “older” bowling centers. Almost every center built after the dome-roof days of the early 1960s until the early 2000s falls into that category, Paton estimates. The most likely tenant for a vacated bowling center is big-box retail, but in older bowling centers, retailers find: • HVAC ducting is limited to the front of the building (concourse area); • restrooms are usually at the front rather than the back where retailers prefer them, and usually are larger than retailers want; • older centers have ceilings 15 feet high (to the bottom of the roof trusses) over the concourse area, while most big-box users want 20 feet; in older designs, a flat roof slopes toward the rear to allow water runoff, creating ceiling height at the pinsetters that may be no more than eight, ten or 12 feet;
INDUSTRY ISSUES • the step-down has to be eliminated; • many older centers do not have sprinkler systems, often requiring installation of a fully functional fire suppression system. Correcting these problems will increase conversion costs by $10 to $40 per square foot compared to a vacant big-box which already had been used for retail. For a 30,000-square-foot bowling center, that’s $300,000 to $1.2 million. Paton estimates that at least 75-80% of operating bowling centers fit these specs. The offsetting advantages of converting are nil, unless the center is located on a street that is now very heavily traveled, says Paton. “Therefore the land is worth a great deal. If they’re right next door or right across the street from each other, there’s a huge cost advantage to the former department store.” The Hansell-Paton pamphlet will seek to unblock the loans dammed up behind these problems. “The big thing they’re looking for is some kind of a road map to get out of a bad loan,” Paton observes. “They don’t need a lot of information. They don’t need to know, if the center they’re financing is in Seattle, that there is a center in Seattle that had this successful conversion. They do need to know that it was in Boise or Denver or some similar-sized city, not in downtown L.A.or in a sparsely-populated rural area.” That’s what Hansell and Paton plan to deliver. “I’m going to be looking for as much for long-term illustration as I can find, for example, a classic 1975 place Brunswick built, sold, later went under,” Paton offers. “If that building was converted successfully into an alternative use, you could probably always convert it to another use.” No completion date for the report has been set and plans for distributing
it are indefinite. There has been talk of posting it on the BPAA web site, which would enable a proprietor applying for a loan to download it and include it in his application package, where it would do him the most good. The industry’s “single-purpose building” image problem is a combination of pictures in heads and the facts about the industry, Paton opines. “The bigger one to me is the actual structure of the building and bankers’ lack of experience and imagination in knowing what to do with it as an alternative use. It’s really a one-by-one sort of thing.” The forthcoming report, which will educate its readers that centers can be converted and go on to lead useful second lives, could be the right encouragement to a lender for the “one-by-one” a bowling proprietor is seeking. ❖
Fred Groh is a regular contributor to IBI and former managing editor of the magazine.
Jon Perper, proprietor and sustainability expert, supports all forms of recycling at his center in Cherry Hill, NJ.
By Joan Taylor on Perper wanted to save money. What proprietor doesn’t? He also wanted to save resources, or, to use the current buzzwords “go green” and promote “sustainability.” What he didn’t anticipate was how a simple light bulb would grow into his passion, resulting in an environmental award, numerous speaking engagements, significant cost reductions, and most importantly, helping his community, Cherry Hill Township, NJ, sustain itself for eons to come. According to Perper, “I started with lighting because that’s what a major portion of our electric bill was.” It all came about almost accidentally. “I went to a mayor’s breakfast in the year 2007. My main center, Playdrome Cherry Hill Lanes, had donated free bowling games as prizes for people who had been awarded points from their personal recycling. It felt good to contribute to something as valuable as recycling.” That’s when the education of Perper began. He had already started using LED (light emitting diode) bulbs mainly because they required less maintenance. They wouldn’t be burning out frequently, in comparison to tungsten bulbs. “Once I learned what a watt was, that’s when the light went on (or off!),” he joked. He thought a watt was a measurement of light but it turned out it was a measurement of what becomes the electric bill. “I took
One of the shoe recycling containers in Perper’s center.
OPERATIONS a 60 watt light bulb and figured how much it would cost to run for a day, a week and a year. Once I found how much the LEDs could decrease energy consumption, I went around my bowling center and calculated. Boy, we had been spending lots of money on our lighting.” Perper was always an early adopter and didn’t want to wait for any potential problems with the LEDs to be worked out, so he went ahead full steam with the complete bulb conversion. “I don’t wait for things to change. I make the changes.” Fortunately, Perper has an electrical contractor’s license which enables him to be an LED bulb distributor. Subsequently he founded his own wholesale supply company, ZLED lighting. Cherry Hill Township started a “sustainability education” program designed to reshape the entire community. Perper found out there was much more to the program than recycling bottles and cans. He got his employees involved by demonstrating the advantages of creating a sustainable environment. He put recycling bins out for beer bottles and cans. The next step was to send used pizza boxes to the local processing plant. He polled his employees for additional suggestions, which resulted in the paper towel dispensers in the restrooms being replaced by air dryers. As his passion progressed, Perper created energy saving and recycling guidelines to let people know how they could individually create sustainability. Perper then created a list of what Playdrome has done thus far and what was planned for in the near future. Some of the action items already completed include: • A 14% reduction in electrical consumption over the past three years • Installation of LED lighting to contribute to energy reduction • Decreasing paper usage • Using items containing recycled or recyclable materials • Installing a “sustainable” copier using solid ink technology • Reducing wasted printing material, • Using computers and copiers with energy-saving modes and turning them off overnight • Eliminating throw-away cups for employee consumption • Installing silver coated roofs to reduce air conditioning usage • The most ambitious future plan is to install a solar panel system to reduce electric usage from the grid. Perper believes in setting an example not only through his businesses but also personally. For instance, he will tell a cashier that he does not want a bag when he buys an item. If possible, he will hand carry purchases without using plastic bags. If he does use such a bag, he takes it to his center to reuse. Perper says, “I think of the movie ‘The Graduate.’ The big buzzword was ‘plastics.’ Three years ago I started saying ‘LED, LED.’ I always think of ‘The Graduate’ when I say that.” Statistics don’t lie. Perper says that lighting alone accounts for 30% of electrical energy use in this country. LED reduces that use by 15%. It has huge potential. Outside of his bowling realm, Perper has worked with companies
such as Whole Foods to educate them on energy-saving programs, with LED bulbs being the main thrust. Sure they buy his bulbs, but “besides cash in the pocket, it’s good PR. People like to deal with businesses that have a conscience. If those businesses do things environmentally right, they get noticed in the community. I call it ‘green PR.’ You’re helping the community and the community is
HOW A WATT TURNS INTO AN ELECTRIC BILL Take the number of watts (i.e., 60 in a light bulb) and multiply it by the number of hours it’s on during the day (i.e., 16 hours) times the days you’re open (i.e., 7). Divide that by the number 1,000 which represents a kilowatt hour. Then take that number times your local electric rate. Translated, it means that the 60 watt bulb being on 16 hours a day for a center open 365 days a year divided by 1,000 equals 350 kilowatt hours multiplied by a rate of 16 cents costs $56.06 per year for just one bulb. Multiply that across your whole business and you begin to understand. Additionally, the LED bulbs are 100% recyclable.
Examples of the abundant use of lights and energy, and the opportunity to save, at Perper's center.
A customer participates in the shoe recycling effort.
helping you.” It comes as no surprise that his community gave Perper an Energy Champion award. They also cited other local businesses including a waterless car washing company. That only fueled his passion more. To further community awareness, Playdrome hosted an “In Your Power” Day, with the mayor coming out. People who signed an In Your Power Pledge that day were given a $10 bowling card. Then Perper went to fellow proprietors with his ideas. “I’m the self appointed green guru for the BPAA,” Perper said. “I have done some presentations about sustainability and energy consumption for the Pennsylvania Bowling Proprietors and MUBIG (Multi Unit Bowling Information Group).” While Perper could easily go on an energy tour of his own and address more national groups such as the national BPAA during International Bowl Expo, he has difficulty finding the time to spread the word outside his geographic area. Between his bowling centers and electrical distributorship he nearly works 24/7 now. Perper has proof that his changes work. “Our energy consumption (at Playdrome Cherry Hill) has decreased more than 14 percent over the last three years, and my electric bill alone was down more than $7,000 from three years ago.” And that is only one part of his sustainability program. Perper dispels energy myths such as, “It costs more money to turn lights on and off than to leave them on.” He explains, simply, “When it’s on, it’s costing you money and when it’s off, it’s not costing you money. It’s as simple as that.” He encourages proprietors as well as any other business owners to walk around their buildings and figure out which things are costing the most money and to make changes. Perper’s larger objective is to keep from filling up landfills. Even when he disposes of something such as a tube television, he tries to sell it or give it away. He would rather see things reused than to put them into a dumpster. Sustainable Cherry Hill Township has a 2020 model for its long-range plan. Perper can’t wait that long. “What you do today is going to make a difference tomorrow.” But he also believes in taking one step at a time. “The pioneers who crossed this great country had a goal in mind, but had to take one step to get there. You don’t get to 22
the top of the stairs by jumping all the way to the top.” Perper says that bowling as an industry has always recycled, going back to when he was 13 years old and working in his father’s centers. When other centers closed, there was always a sale for used bowling lanes and other equipment. The industry was simply ahead of its time.
Clothing and shoe collection bins set in the parking lot of the center rounds out the recycling effort at Playdrome.
As the father of three and proprietor of three bowling centers, Perper remains more passionate than ever about his sustainability program. And, to use more contemporary buzzwords, perhaps he’ll be able to “go global” with his mission and help sustain the planet. ❖
Joan Taylor is a multi-award winning bowling writer based in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
By Fred Groh
e can capture a lot of kids at a young age and get them in junior programs. Once they hit 18 or 19 they go away to school and get involved in their work activities, relationships,” Kevin Heaney remarked. He was not lamenting the attrition problem in bowling. Heaney is executive director of the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA), which oversees amateur golfing in the area, and he was talking about his own industry. When the movers and shakers in golf looked around at their world at the turn into last year, they saw more troubles reminiscent of long-term trends in bowling. Tom Addis, CEO and E.D. of the Southern California Section of The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), fondly recalls
the late 1990s. “There [were] 100 courses being built a year— more. There was a call for a while that we could build a golf course a day and wouldn’t meet the demand. Last year, I think it was a net minus-eight [courses]. More golf courses, last three years, have closed than have opened.” Number of golfers nationally began a steady decline in 2005 that left the ranks 13% thinner by 2010 (see sidebar page 00); 26 million Americans played golf in 2010, but one million left the game the same year. That number skidded another 8% in 2011 from the year before. Total rounds played had dropped 5% (2010 from 2005). That was on top of a long trend in which players in the 25-40 age range disappear. “We have seen attrition in SCGA,” Heaney says, ticking off
COVER STORY reasons: “the time it takes to play, the cost, change in lifestyles, the difficulty of the game. “The game has to figure out how to break some of the previous mindset and make it more inviting, more flexible, keep people engaged in the game, not only the current group but [to] capture that next generation,” he continues.
The industry’s response, ignited by The PGA of America, which provides instruction and runs most of the daily business of golf— unprecedented in PGA’s 96 years—is an initiative called Golf 2.0. No mere mindset, series of white papers, a rallying point or hope for the future, it’s a multi-million-dollar commitment, a new, permanent department at PGA, and a full-time staff at headquarters and in the field that will number 24 in this, the initiative’s first year. It’s the industry strategy through year 2020, Addis says. Echoing the rhetoric of preInternational Bowling Campus days when some were proposing a proprietors’ alternative to USBC, Addis adds, “We’re behind the counter at the golf courses. Why shouldn’t we say we need to be at the head of this thing to bring golfers in?” But he stresses the “industry” in “industry initiative.” PGA is its hub, yet it’s not a PGA project, explains Darrell Crall, the man who was brought in to run it. Crall, 44, was E.D. of the Northern Texas Section of the PGA for 15 years, where he
grew the section’s assets 15-fold, created and managed fundraisers that generated $5 million for junior golfers and kids’ charities, and developed a PGA Tour ambassador program, among other accomplishments. Crall puts Golf 2.0 participants into four frames: • PGA of America professionals—27,000 men and women who fill roles as teacher, promoter and operator at the nation’s 10,000+ golf facilities; • Organized specialist groups. The majors include the PGA Tour (250 players); Ladies Professional Golfers Association (1,400 teaching professionals and 460 Tour players); United States Golf Association (governing body and organizer of the U.S. Open, 700,000); Club Managers Association of America (6,000 managers of golf, athletic and other membership clubs); Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (19,000 managers of fairways and greens in 72 countries); and American Society of Golf Course Architects (180); • Owners of golf facilities (National Golf Course Owners Association, 5,300 members); and • Industry manufacturers. Not that golf woes reached a critical mass in 2010, galvanizing everybody into doing something about it. “You can’t characterize it in that manner,” Addis explains, “because we’ve all been working diligently to grow the game. Our [PGA] strategic plan hadn’t been updated since ’01, a 10-year plan at that point.” But time to update the plan coincided with new cognizance of decline in key industry metrics for five years, and that quickly turned into an industrywide “conversation with all the key constituencies,” Crall says—industry groups plus those who play golf, lapsed golfers, and those who have never golfed. In February 2010, The Boston Consulting Group, an advisor on business strategy and worldwide consulting firm, was retained to moderate that conversation. Buy-in for the initiative across so many organized specialties was “deeper than informal [contacts],” says Addis. “Boots-on-the-ground networking” was
COVER STORY needed, and industry shows played a big role in supplying it. The superintendents and the owners direct the Golf Industry Show (the managers are a past-partner). PGA operates one of the largest trade shows in the world, where attendance runs around 40,000. “Opportunity for unification,” Addis understates. Crall believes the industry spread is nothing but positive for Golf 2.0 prospects. All segments are covered, he states, and looking ahead to the possibility of having to modify the initiative as it moves along, change can be targeted to appropriate specialists. “If everybody thought the same, it would be a lot more complicated to make change.” He is confident that Golf 2.0 won’t be arriving at stop signs, then turning right or left. “Key stakeholders will be engaged on a regular basis with updates and opportunities to direct where we’re going. This is going to be constant evolution. If we have bumps in the road, we’ll evaluate and make changes as an industry.”
AT A GLANCE: GOLF 2.0
That’s not wishful thinking. Close ties between the PGA Tour and the PGA of America—very unlike the relation between PBA and the rest of bowling—show the long drives Golf 2.0 can smack toward its objective. The division of labor between the two golf groups is much the same as in bowling between PBA and proprietors. The Tour showcases how much fun the game is, says Crall. “There’s tremendous positive synergy for promotion of the game. The Tour is a very visible, highly-regarded entity and that’s activated at the facilities where 27,000 [PGA professionals] work.” But there are also relationships “built on decades” that draw the two organizations together personally. Ditto in business. “For instance,” Crall offers, “PGA Tour players are also members of PGA of America. Many PGA professionals got their start as junior golfers under the tutelage of a PGA professional. So there is a very strong linkage between the two organizations in a personal way. “In a business context, a strong relationship [is] being enhanced. For instance we’re working with the PGA Tour to have women-centered events at their Tour events. The Honda Classic down the road [Palm Bach Gardens, FL] is an example. They are having women’s events during the event and then have activation following at local facilities to engage professional women, in this case, [in] conversation to express the fun, family-friendly, fitness virtues of the game for themselves or fellow employees, for their family and friends. The Tour has been using some of our branded programs like Get Golf Ready [a package of lessons and game acclimation for newbies]. We are just at the first or second rung of what we think is a long ladder of how we can work with an organization like the PGA Tour.” “An observation off the top,” Addis ventures. “We have the PGA of America, golf pros that basically run the golf facilities 26
THE INDUSTRY’S PROBLEM Twenty years generally stable or up-trending in the number of total rounds played (18 holes) have been succeeded by steady decline since 2006. Number of golfers has dropped continuously since 2005 (played at least one round in the calendar year). Source: National Golf Foundation and Golf Datatech. THE RESPONSE Launched officially at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Jan. 23-26, Golf 2.0 is an industry-wide initiative running through 2020 that was 15 months in preparation. By the numbers, it’s 3 (strategies), 9 (targeted consumer groups), and 12 (specific initiatives). STRATEGIES / SPECIFIC INITIATIVES Retain and strengthen the core / Know and nurture current customers. Engage lapsed golfers / Recognize women’s influence; target 90 million former golfers; engage entire family; target seniors; engage electronic media. Drive new players / Reach the 84% of American households who are non-golfing; engage minorities; accommodate brand-new players. All strategies include two initiatives: Highlighting the value of golf; education/training for service dispensers. Targeted Consumer Groups Identified market segments comprise regular golfers with income $150,000+; occasional women, no kids; occasional men, no kids; lapsed women, no kids; lapsed men, no kids; lapsed retired men; lapsed dads and moms; kids (players and non-players); Hispanics.
COVER STORY and do the golf instruction. Then there’s the PGA Tour, which I would liken to the PBA. [Similarly,] the LPGA has their competitive division, the LPGA Tour, and their club professional division. The PBA doesn’t have that. You don’t have PBA who run the bowling alleys.”
As the senior director for Golf 2.0, it will fall to Crall to monitor the initiative’s progress. Metrics and thirdparty measurement of results are going to be “critically important,” he says. “We are spending real dollars and we’re engaged with the industry. All these stakeholders have a lot to gain [if Golf 2.0 is] successful and a lot to lose if it’s not.” Baselines will include number of golfers, number of rounds and economic impact, among other variables to be measured by the National Golf Foundation. “Then we have nine target markets where we are focusing specific marketing and program initiatives. Some are pilot, some are evolutionary programs. Our nine markets are driven by the number of lapsed golfers there—highly dense, latent-demand markets [that the National Golf Foundation is] helping us identify by facility, where there’s the most latent demand. We are going to go there first and help asses programs and services and be of service to that owner and that PGA professional to help them activate on programs.” Lapsed golfers are “a staggering opportunity” for the industry, as it learned from Boston Consulting Group, according to Crall, “There [are] 90 million Americans that at some time have played golf. Seventy percent said they would be interested in playing again. We’re deploying [full-time] regional managers for player development in those spaces. We’re going to see what lift we have in those markets compared to other markets where we don’t have specific personnel, to gauge what the shift is, then we’ll adjust accordingly.”
Golf has one inherent problem bowling does not. The game. “Golf has always been very traditional in dress, particularly at the private club level,” Heaney reflects. ”It’s usually 18 holes and at a minimum, that’s four hours. If you get into practice and maybe have a meal and it’s on a weekend and slower, that could be a 6to 8-hour experience. “Certainly golf can be a little intimidating when you first take up the game. Most people don’t start the 30
STAYING ON (AND IN) THE GREEN:
THE RETENTION PROBLEM
“Year over year, we’re probably fairly static. In our business right now, if you can stay level, you’re doing a good job,” remarks Kevin Heaney, E.D. of the Southern California Golf Association, where annual membership loss since 2006 has stayed under 5%. Keeping level means retaining SCGA’s 165,000 player members. Member Advantage, introduced at SCGA last year, came out of surveys to find out what golfers want from the association. The top two answers: access to golf courses, and a more affordable game. SCGA members show their cards at facilities participating in Member Advantage and receive a perk chosen by the facility. In exchange, SCGA promotes the facility on its website, in its bi-monthly magazine and on flyers it distributes. Perks have included a free round of golf on the member’s birthday, $10 off the green fee or a free bucket of balls. “We were not looking to discount golf, and that’s really important,” says Emily von Doehren. “We heard from a lot of owners and operators that they don’t want to get into the world of discounting tee times because that’s a downward spiral; it’s hard to control.” Before moving to the U.S. Golf Association, the governing body for the game, Von Doehren was in charge of retention programs for SCGA. Sixty of the 450 clubs in SCGA Emily von Doehren territory have signed on with Member Advantage. Answering members’ desire to play at exclusive clubs, Member Outings, rolled out about five years ago, are private events at premiere courses or special golfing packages. Von Doehren describes the outings as formal events without a tournament atmosphere. “No official scoring, no intimidating rules official or big scoreboard with your score posted in front of everybody. If a person wants to bring another club member or a group of four people from the same club, or a husband and wife, any pairing request that somebody might have is honored. “It’s a delicate balance. We didn’t want to scare people away by saying it’s a tournament, because it’s not, but there is the SCGA presence there. It’s organized, it’s a formal event but a casual atmosphere. SCGA has a staff person there, a check-in table, usually a little tee gift. Many of them are shotgun [events], so everybody starts at the same time and comes back at the same time.” SCGA also works through its program for Club Delegates, who act as “eyes and ears of the SCGA” at golf facilities. Von Doehren says SCGA hopes delegates are connected to the club directors, sitting on the board or regularly attending meetings, but the club makes the pick. SCGA supplies a binder of information and a special website for delegates and convenes with them regularly. In return, delegates are treated to a day of golf and luncheon or dinner with their club president. “If there is an SCGA-related issue at the club, that delegate is a way to wiggle into the club if need be. It provides the club members and club leadership an outlet for feedback. It’s also a good group to bounce ideas off of. If SCGA is looking to do a new program or new tournament, it’s a great sounding board where it can quickly survey.” The program has been in swing since 1993.
HOLE IN ONE: DOING YOUR OWN ADVOCACY On Jan. 1, the Southern California Golf Association, overseer of amateur golf in that area of the state, merged with the Public Links Golf Association of Southern California, also headquartered in L.A. In the process, SCGA wound up with an in-house advocacy voice. Craig Kessler, a lawyer in commercial practice before joining the golf world, was E.D. for Public Links for its last 11 years. The association was forced to develop advocacy skills because its municipal golf club members were wholly dependent on the public sector, he says. Kessler was the man to develop them. Though not a registered lobbyist, he had engaged in what he calls “tangential lobbying” Craig Kessler, SCGA while at his legal firm. SCGA retains a lobbyist firm in Sacramento, the state capital, to stay abreast on developments there. Occasionally, SCGA uses the firm to add language to a bill, but its role “is fairly limited,” says Kessler, who heads SCGA’s new government affairs department. “Some organizations over-rely on [capitol lobbying]. They think that because they’ve retained that, they have a consistent presence. What you have is Sacramento having an understanding that you have retained a lobbyist and that you’re a player in that game.” For Kessler, the day’s work is to maintain a presence in city councils and mayors’ offices and regulatory bodies in the L.A. area. With golf an outdoors game that uses large quantities of water and chemicals, “there’s a huge environmental component.” He divides his time about equally between water providers and municipal governments, which may control as few as a single golf course; Los Angeles County has 19. “The computer makes it possible to track the activities, the agendas of all kinds of government bodies. I serve on some bodies that I lobbied into existence, golf commissions and golf advisory bodies; often get invited to serve on them. I keep a regular dialogue with golf managers, certain city council committees. It’s issue-based as well, often with chief executive offices or chief administrative offices on an ad hoc basis.” The biggest feather in his cap so far: an encounter with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) when it made moves toward a “very Draconian” conservation ordinance “that would have pretty much put 35 golf courses out of business. They could have watered only two days a week and not between 9 [a.m.] and 4.” “Constructive engagement” with the city council and DWP secured amendments to the ordinance that allowed “alternative compliance mechanisms” for golf courses, a “regular dialogue” with the agency, and a task force. “The way we got that was indicating to them that we’re prepared to sit down and work with them so they can do their jobs as well or better than they know how to. Thus the phrase ‘constructive engagement.’” 32
game and take lessons, which they should. Sometimes they just tag along with friends.” Haney reports a survey in which respondents told why they weren’t playing more golf. The most popular answers: “too expensive,” “takes too much time,” “it’s a hard game and I find it frustrating.” In particular, the market of young people always critical to the future of a leisure industry is shying away. “Kids have told us, ‘We don’t have time,’” Crall reports. “’This whole dress code, rules of golf—it’s a lot to handle. I’m going to pass. I’m going to go bowling or play a video game.’” Bowling is ahead here, in Addis’s view, especially with the youngest set. “It seems like bowling is doing more to capture generation Y [teens] and younger by doing [glow]. In my experience, that has captured [them].” But in customers, golf also has an advantage over bowling—so far. In their early and mid-40s, lapsed golfers often come back. More money or time to spend, and maybe they’ve dropped other sports, Heaney speculates. “That’s been the case, [but] where we have concerns is: are lifestyles changing with the Gen Y group—even more with the Gen X group [in their 20s]—[so] they may not find golf interesting when they hit [their 40s]? “We have to make the game more user-friendly—certainly how it fits into lifestyles,” Heaney says. That is a matter of both product and perception. Bowling may be ahead when it comes to the way people see the game—lower cost, super-friendly—but we have a way to go as well, as Tom Addis’s perception attests. His granddaughter loves to bowl. His office bowls and has a great time. Still— “Why doesn’t bowling have somebody in there doing instruction? People are on their own. If there was someone, on an independent-contractor basis or whatever, that people could go in and at least talk with—that’s what we’ve [golf] found. The comfort aspect. Where do I check in? What do I do with my golf clubs? “That’s a big deal to people, and people feel intimidated when they go somewhere if they don’t know what to do. In a movie house the ticket booth is right in front. The last few years [many golf courses have] lost the greeter because of the economy. That’s hurt us. You have to devise ways to train people or take it upon yourself to go out in the parking lot and say, ‘Hi, how you doing?’ “When I walk into a bowling center and I’m greeted by you, ‘Welcome to Morongo, what do you need?’—that’s going to help. I see that missing in bowling.” ❖
Fred Groh is a regular contributor to IBI and former managing editor of the magazine.
Over 100, this historic Milwaukee tavern has the oldest certified lanes in the U.S. By Bree Gutierrez
arcy Skowronski had no idea when she married her husband that 56 years later she would be running the Milwaukee business his parents started; a business which maintains the oldest certified bowling lanes in the United States. You’ll find nothing modern in this small tavern, Holler House, as it has come to be called. Marcy’s establishment houses a bar made entirely of solid wood. Her only two bowling lanes are situated in the basement of her business. “We got the original alleys,” Marcy said. “We got wood alleys; we don’t have the plastic alleys.” Marcy’s two lanes still require 34
live pinsetters. After the pins are collected, “they put the pins into a machine and pull a chord and the machine comes down and sets the pins.” “My in-laws built it in 1908…and the lanes were certified in 1910,” Marcy said. As the bowling season begins, Tom Mettille, Lane Inspector for the Greater Milwaukee USBCBA, and his partner Ralph, make their annual trip to the Holler House to certify the lanes. Tom said the Holler House is his favorite stop on the bowling circuit. “It’s our favorite stop because it’s interesting hearing all her stories,” Tom said. “We always look forward to the day when we’re going to the Holler
PROFILE House because we know Marcy’s gonna have another story for us, something about the history of bowling and the history of the Holler House. She’s always telling us something.” Tom explains that even though the Holler House has some unique qualities, certifying the lanes isn’t all that different from a modern day bowling center. “As a whole we take the same measurements and we crawl under the pin decks the same. It’s just a little tighter quarters…It’s just the uniqueness of it. I mean, they still have to pass all the regular qualifications. And they do that.” Since the Holler House uses wood beams for their lanes, opposed to a synthetic material, it poses its own challenges because of the wood’s tendency to contract, expand and shift. “With the old wood and some of the older decks, they tend to shift a little bit over the bowling season…because it’s down in the basement…they’ve had problems with the lanes, tilt and all that. But as a whole…they’ve always had it fixed in a timely manner,” Tom said. Marcy has never been tempted to modernize her bowling
lanes. “Oh for heaven sake no!” Marcy exclaimed. “It’s so unusual that they’re so old. Why would we want to change it? Years ago we thought of putting machines in but we don’t have the depth to do that, we don’t have the room so we just let them let be and we’re glad we did it.” By choosing not to upgrade any of her equipment, Marcy has been able to maintain the historical integrity of her entire business. “It’s more of a historical thing now,” she said. “Nothing’s changed. We still have the same old pictures on the wall. Why modernize? We’ve got tours coming in!” With such historic equipment to preserve, it’s inevitable the machinery will need to be repaired and maintained. “It’s hard to get parts because they don’t make those machines anymore,” Marcy explains. “Some of the guys in here are machinists so they get going on it. We scrounge around for old parts. This one man makes parts for us.” In the last few weeks, Marcy had to replace her approaches due to sinking. All the beams needed to be replaced by specialists, not just any carpenter can do that, Marcy explained.
We focus on the alleys and the people that raise hell in here.
PROFILE When it comes to the everyday care of the lanes, “the boys take care of that. They oil the alleys every time they (need to),” Marcy said. “We basically just wash them by hand, before the year, in the middle of the year and at the end of the year,” Marcy’s son-in-law, Todd Stuckert explained. “We just use the regular detergent that we get from the bowling (company) that supplies us our detergents and stuff like that. After that we pretty much oil and wipe…we hand wipe them with a lane duster. And after that, they’re pretty much good to go all year.” Todd has worked at the Holler House for 35 years, helping to run and maintain the lanes. “As far as the machines are concerned, we just pretty much keep an eye on everything,” Todd said. “(We put) oil regularly on the lanes and as the machines go, we check them during the course of the year…the pin boys are back there, they pretty much know if something is off kilter, you can pretty much see…We pretty much know what’s going on. There are only two alleys, so it’s not that hard.” Not only has Marcy’s business stayed the same for the last 100 years, the customers seem to be the same too. “We still have the same clientele. The thing is, the people passed away or they moved away, but we still have the offspring coming in. Even if they move away, they still visit me.” Marcy recalls, “It was like
a neighborhood crowd. And of course, half of them died, and half of them moved out. We’ve had people that bowl here from 15, 20 miles away. I guess they like it here, we have a lot of fun.”
We got the Tiffany lamps in here and we have the original mirror and the bar is all wood.
As her business gets older, Marcy is faced with new challenges. “There aren’t that many people wanting to bowl anymore,” she said. “They want to bowl but they don’t want to be committed to every week. We’ve solved it this year. We just asked around to people that wanted to bowl.” Marcy seems to keep it simple. She admits the Holler House doesn’t have the same attractions as other local bars or hang outs. “We don’t have a pool table and we don’t have the gambling machines,” she explained. “The bar is fun.” Marcy’s no nonsense, straightforward approach to running
PROFILE her business holds true to her customer service too. “We don’t treat them just as customers, we treat them as family,” she said. “They like each other, they like the people that come in here and they like the way we treat them.” It’s no surprise that 85-year-old Marcy enjoys her work. “I like it, you know. The thing is, I could’ve retired but…what else am I gonna do? The people that come in here are like extended family. They’re nice people so I like being in business.” Even for 100 years old, the building still maintains characteristics of how life was when the Holler House opened. “It’s a great big building,” Marcy said. “We have the bar and the bowling alley is downstairs and then I have an apartment in the back where I live. Then there are two big apartments upstairs.” As for the décor inside, there’s nothing new there either. “We got the tiffany lamps in here and we have the original mirror and the bar is all wood.” Marcy even has an original poster hanging on the wall featuring Babe Ruth, from 1915. Just as the different generations frequent the Holler House, the Skowronski’s keep the staff a family affair too. “I got grandchildren, I got a son in law that takes care of everything and my daughters tend bar,” Marcy explains. Nobody works for her that isn’t a member of her family. “I’ve been here 56 years. It’s always been in the family. We’ve got five generations (working here). I’ve got a great grandson, that’s the 5th generation…I’ll open up, but when we get busy, the kids will take over. It’s a nice place for parties because there’s only two alleys, and they have a ball down there.” Marcy admits it’s almost no contest to try and compete with modern day bowling centers. “We couldn’t compete with them because bowling alleys now, they got 20, 30 alleys. They got to really fill their alleys to make some money.” But Marcy knows her angle. She knows how to keep her business going. “We focus on
the alleys and the people that raise hell in here,” she said. “There’s nobody with pinsetters.” Ambience is everything and it keeps the customers coming in, new and old. No matter who you are, there’s no way to escape the traditions of the Holler House. “The first time you come in here, the girls have to take their bra off and sign it and hang it up. Then we have tubs of old clothes and when people have enough to drink, they dress up. We have fun in here,” Marcy said. “We have signatures on the wall from all over the country. They come from all over.” Even the name Holler House was coined by the place’s atmosphere. “One day a man came in here and he said ‘would you like to get drunk with me?’ and I said ‘why not.’ His wife was in California,” Marcy recalled. When she returned to town, the man brought his wife to the fun, local hang out. “When she got back, someone was playing the piano, the jukebox was going and there was a political convention, (so) everyone was arguing politics. The following week he said ‘where would you like to go for a couple cocktails before I take you out to dinner?’ and she says ‘take me to that Holler House!’ and everyone kept calling it the Holler House. So I said to my husband, ‘Why don’t we just name it the Holler House?’ That had to be about 30, 35 years ago.” In 2008, the Holler House celebrated its centennial. “When we had our hundred, we closed off the street and we had a polka band out there and food and drinks, and we just raised hell,” Marcy said. “We had a lot of fun. Everybody joined in. I got a plaque from the city and from the bowling association, it was just good times.” ❖
Bree Gutierrez, holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism, is a freelance writer and preschool teacher residing in Southern California with her husband and son.
We have a
A boutique bowling experience at the Meritage Hotel in Napa
hen a get-away is in order, Napa, CA, has always been highly touted. Tucked away among the lush vineyards of northern California, travelers come from all over. Located in this setting is the Meritage Resort and Spa, frequented by the BPAA for top level meetings. It is a prized, luxury resort featuring Tuscan-inspired guestrooms, seasonal farm-to-table cuisine and a lavish underground spa with steam grottos and soaking pools. How does this lovely destination fit into the world of bowling? Quite nicely! With the completion of a 19-month, $40 million expansion, the new Crush Ultra Lounge, a premiere location for cocktails and sports entertainment, offers 6 lanes of bowling installed by US Bowling. This product uses the Vollmer String Machine, a tenpin, string machine using full-sized pins and balls. The system is made in Germany and very popular in Europe. According to Brent Dyer of US Bowling, this system is the wave of the future. It runs quieter with less maintenance and fewer moving parts; itâ€™s an excellent option for a lounge setting. We are pleased to be able to take you on a virtual tour. Getting reservations is up to you. â?–
CENTER STAGE All the masking unit graphics were designed by US Bowlingâ€™s graphic designer Mike Conejo and put in place by US Bowling installers.
The lighting , sound system, LEDs and furniture were all part of the US Bowling design.
SHOWCASE COMING THIS FALL
TheBowlerzEdge.com is where bowlers & proprietors can post custom classified ads for everything bowling. Bowlers can post unwanted equipment such as balls, bags, and shoes. Proprietors can post employment opportunities, league openings, tournaments, equipment and much more. For more information contact Trish or Ryan Subers at Info@thebowlerzedge.com. For updates Like us at www.Facebook.com/thebowlerzedge.
Brunswick Vector Plus Online Webinars offers the most advanced and extensive series of training programs available in the industry today, training thousands of mechanics, lane technicians, and proprietors. Brunswick provides real-life training and instruction in every aspect of bowling center operation, including lane and pinsetter maintenance and center network systems. For a complete list of Vector Plus online webinars, go to http://www.brunswickbowling.com/service-support/producttraining-calendar/category/vector-plus-webinar-series/.
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As league season gets closer, QubicaAMF understands your busy schedule and center needs. In response, they created the League Hotline. You can now email questions about setting up leagues in BLS in Conqueror Pro and you'll get a response within 48 hours. The best part—it's FREE! Simply send an email with your name, center name, contact number and question to LeagueHotline@qubicaamf.us!
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Intercard Inc. began providing electronic card systems in 1979 and has grown to become a market leader in stored value cards for the casino and amusement industry and other applications. Millions of cards, thousands of readers and hundreds of systems later, Intercard Inc., continues to provide the best systems available to clients all over the world. Visit www.intercardinc.com or call (314) 275-8066 to learn more.
You’ve made your lanes look and feel better, but what about the impact area? You know how important the kickback area is to higher scores. If you’ve ever gone through the frustration of trying to repair the kickbacks with the old generation of patching materials, you know it just doesn’t last. RJM Composites can put the final touch on your lanes and help get them back to “like new” condition. Call 517-566-3200 or visit www.rjmcomposities.com to learn more.
Alcohol Controls has earned an unblemished reputation for providing the bar industry with quality, cost-effective, loss prevention products for over 20 years. These affordable tools help management reduce beverage costs and increase revenues. Without effective controls, bartenders over pour liquor, give away free drinks and keep cash collected without registering the sale. Protect your liquid assets! Visit www.AlcoholControls.com and call 800-285-2337 if you have questions.
JULY 20-22 Independent Bowling Organization Show Bavarian Inn Lodge, Frankenmuth, MI Scott Bennett, 248-408-0200 Scott@bowl-mail.com 30 – 8/1 Striking Sixties Bowling Centers Association of Michigan Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, Mt. Pleasant, MI Ken Prokopec, 800-833-2695
OCTOBER 4 BCA of Ohio Executive Board Meeting Embassy Suites, Columbus 2700 Corporate Exchange Dr. Pat Marazzi, 937-433-8363
IBI 14-17 East Coast Bowling Centers Convention Revel (www.revelresorts.com) Atlantic City, NJ For info: www.eastcoastbowl.com 800-343-1329 ext. 8451
15-19 Brunswick European Pinsetter Training Sessions GS Series & Vector Scoring Hungary. For info email: Siggi.Hill@brunbowl.com www.brunswick.com IBI 28-30 West Coast Bowling Convention Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa Las Vegas Sandi Thompson, NorCal Bowling 925-485-1855
29 – NOV 9 A-2 Pinsetter Maintenance School
QC Family Entertainment Center Moline, IL For info call Frank Miroballi 540-325-7684 or email Frankm1441@aol.com
NOVEMBER 14-15 BCA of Ohio Fall Seminar & Meeting Embassy Suites, Columbus 2700 Corporate Exchange Dr. Pat Marazzi, 937-433-8363 24 – Dec 2 48th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup Sky Bowling Centre Wroclaw, the City of Bridges, Poland Anne-Marie Board, email@example.com IBI
Official magazine of the convention
EQUIPMENT FOR SALE REPAIR & EXCHANGE. Call for details (248) 375-2751. NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. 800-2556436 or jayhawkbowling.com.
CLASSIFIEDS 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit us on the WEB! http://home.earthlink.net/~wb8yjf/
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CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE FRAMEWORX SCORING PARTS: Priced to SELL. Sold by the lane or individual parts. Quantity discounts. Contact Bill Rossman @ Parkway Bowl (619) 448-4111 or email: email@example.com. FOR SALE: 10 lanes brand new DBA IQ, foul line forward; 24 lanes AMF Excel automatic scoring–great condition & affordable. 24 Brunswick Anvil overlay panels, foul line thru pindeck, or full-lane with approach – can separate for smaller centers. Pinsetter Repair & Maintenance, parts & accessories. Complete installs, ground-up & remodels. www.tenpinartisans.com or (970) 9469933 or Knotrite@gmail.com.
EQUIPMENT FOR SALE 32+ lanes Brunswick AS-80 scoring. Complete package +extra parts. Excellent condition. Will sell by lane or individual parts. Make offer. Bill Henderson @ Clearview Lanes (717) 653-1818.
EQUIPMENT WANTED 17” Magic Score tabletop monitors. (419) 668-9933.
CENTER FOR SALE TEXAS, LUBBOCK: 32-lane center close to university. A-2s, AMF scoring, synthetic lanes. Includes bar, grill, arcade & additional income producing RE. Strong adult/youth leagues, college classes & open-play traffic. Seller motivated. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
CENTERS FOR SALE
UPSTATE NEW YORK: 8-lane center/ commercial building built in 1992. Synthetic lanes, new automatic scoring, kitchen and room to expand! Reduced to sell @ $375,000. Call (315) 376-3611. CENTRAL WISCONSIN: 12 lanes, auto scoring, Anvilane synthetics, 82-70s. Great food sales. Yearly tournament. Attached, large 3 bedroom apartment w/ fireplace. $550K. (715) 223-8230. NW KANSAS: 12-lane center, AS-80s, Lane Shield, snack bar, pro shop, game & pool rooms. See pics and info @ www.visitcolby.com or contact Charles (785) 443-3477.
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CLASSIFIEDS CENTERS FOR SALE SOUTHWEST KANSAS: well-maintained 8-lane center, A-2s, full-service restaurant. Includes business and real estate. Nice, smaller community. Owner retiring. $212,000. Leave message (620) 397-5828. NEW YORK STATE: Thousand Island region. 8-lane Brunswick center w/ cosmic bowling, auto scoring. Established leagues + many improvements. $309,000. Call Jill @ Lori Gervera Real Estate (315) 771-9302. WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA: One of the top five places to move! Remodeled 32-lane center. Good numbers. $3.1m gets it all. Fax qualified inquiries to (828) 253-0362. 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. CENTRAL IDAHO: 8-lane center and restaurant in central Idaho mountains. Small town. Only center within 60-mile radius. Brunswick A-2 machines; Anvilane lane beds; automatic scoring. (208) 879-4448.
CLASSIFIEDS CENTERS FOR SALE
NE NEVADA: New 2001. 16 lanes, 19,200 square feet, 1.68 acres paved, sound & lighting, lounge w/ gaming, arcade, full service snack bar & pro shop. Call (775) 934-1539. 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. 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. www.majesticpine.com. 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) 3515152 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASSIFIEDS CENTERS FOR SALE CENTRAL MINNESOTA: 8-lane Brunswick center, 18,000 s/f, with restaurant, game room & banquet facility for 400. Turnkey operation. $235,000. Averaging $250,000+ last 5 years. Call Dave or Cindy @ (320) 8434040; cell (320) 808-6521.
MINNESOTA: 8-lane Brunswick center w/ liquor license. Good condition. Great opportunity. $99,000. Call Ray, Xtreme Trophy Properties, (218) 790-1468. SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN: medium/large center in excellent physical condition. Strong revenue. Due to unique situation, priced at only $469,000. Perfect turnkey opportunity. Email: email@example.com or Contact (248) 252-1427.
SERVICES AVAILABLE Drill Bit Sharpening and Measuring Ball Repair. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. 800255-6436 or Jayhawkbowling.com. See a list that will help centers fill lanes w/ 1200+New Bowlers, Birthday Parties & Corporate Outings that generate $15,800— a 600% ROI from 4 payments starting at $378. Visit mcprs.bmamkt.com or call (888) 243-0685. BOSS Scoring packages & component repair. (712) 253-8730. AMF 5850 & 6525 Chassis: 5850 chassis owners—we can now help. Exchange your tired or damaged chassis for an upgraded, rewired, cleaned, painted & ready-to-run chassis. Fast turnaround. Total satisfaction guaranteed with prices owner friendly. References available. We make sick chassis better! CHASSIS DOCTORS (330) 314-8951.
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SELL YOUR CENTER
CLASSIFIEDS MANAGER WANTED Don't miss your chance to grow with an Industry Leader! Looking for Experienced, Service-Oriented General Managers for our U.S. bowling retail center locations. Please check us out at www.brunswickcareers.apply2jobs.c om for more details on our current openings. Act Now! Apply Today!
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www.merepair.webs.com POSITION WANTED Seeking managerial position: EXPERIENCED manager/district manager of single & multiple unit centers; specializing in turn around centers; great customer service skills, inventory and payroll controls and P & L controls. References and resume available upon request. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave message @ (817) 232-2219. Former center owner with 15 years all around experience as GM, league promoter, A-level Brunswick mechanic, scoring system installer and lane technician. Well suited for many positions. Call Mitch at (808) 443-3868.
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oday’s hip and cool have nothing on the 70s. Cool then was really “cool.” Clothes were simply an option no matter the venue. No fashion branding here. National Lampoon, the ground breaking humor magazine which started in 1970 and lasted until 1998, usually always included “Foto Funnies,” adult comics featuring nudity. Always pushing the boundaries of what was considered appropriate, the July 1977 issue featured a poetic photo essay of American man in various moments of recreation and contemplation—fishing, barbecuing, following stocks on a ticker tape at home, washing a beloved Karmann Ghia and, of course, BOWLING! And all au naturel. One must appreciate the bowler’s sense of decorum—a watch on his wrist and black socks on his feet. His form isn’t bad either— bowling form that is. It looks like he’s headed for a strike. Ahh the good ol’ days. ❖