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mrbowling300

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Reply with quote  #31 
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Originally Posted by themrfreeze
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Originally Posted by mrbowling300
he will be putting in synthetics, as well as other improvements.


Do you really consider that an "improvement"?  I bowled there...your lanes aren't nearly as bad as other wood lanes I've bowled on. 




I'm not saying the synthetics are an improvement...but other improvements...such as building structural, concourse settings, snack shop, etc.
BackboneThe

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Reply with quote  #32 

Read this post in its entirety, an interesting topic to say the least.  I had forgotten how low the profit margins really are for the bowling industry until being reminded by this post.  I agree that if an entrepreneur or an investor are motivated by strictly being profitable, they will most likely avoid the bowling industry at all costs.  This leaves an individual or group of individuals of whom are extremely passionate about bowling to even begin contemplation of undertaking the financial risk necessary to own & operate a bowling business?

Whether we like it or not, bowling has changed considerably from what it once was.  Put some thought behind it & one would realize it's quite saddening.  I fondly & nostalgically remember bowling as it was during my childhood days of the 1970's.  We had bowling alleys all over the place back then.  They were packed with double shift leagues, many had triple shifts with bowling at midnight!  Many leagues & open bowlers also filled the alleys during the day.  On the weekends, all the alleys had to do was turn the neon sign on or flip the "OPEN" sign on the main entry doors.  Folks would come flocking through the doors in droves & every lane in the house was turned on quickly for open bowlers along with all the junior bowlers on Saturday mornings & rent-a-lane on Sunday mornings.  Lines of folks down the concourse would be signing up to reserve a lane & collecting their card with their reservation number on it, waiting for their number to be called on the P.A. system.  It was even like this into the early & mid 1980's.  Business began to ebb in the mid to late 80's & steadily declined throughout the 1990's & 2000's until where were at today.

Many of these bowling alleys around here are now gone & are only distant memories.  The bowling centers that are left are all, self-admittedly, struggling to some degree & are doing what they can to stay in business.  Kalamazoo County has over 200,000 residents.  The county is presently down to just 6 bowling centers with, collectively, 184 lane beds.  Airway Lanes had the most with 40 Lanes.  I heard they're tearing out Lanes 32 through 40 for some major renovation project.  I haven't been in Airway Lanes since early April.  I need to get over there next week & see what's going on?  Why they're eliminating an odd number of lanes is beyond me?  Won't know the details until I get over there!  If this holds true, we're down to 175 lane beds!

The current break-down:

PINZ Kalamazoo - Corporately owned, 36 Lanes, in a shopping plaza, now a huge bar catering to Western Michigan University students that just happens to have a bowling alley in it.  The place was closed for several years & was formerly known as Harpo's Lanes.  It reopened a few years ago when PINZ Inc. bought it, renovated it, & turned into a huge bar.  Unfortunately, they did little to no renovation to the bowling section of the plaza, it's still Harpo's!  It's PINZ to the college students.  They don't remember Harpo's & could care less.  Bowling is just an activity (with strobe lights) to stimulate they're drinking & social experience.  We affectionately call the place "The Dump" due to the lack of refurbishment of the bowling section in lieu of the extravagant huge bar.

Airway Lanes - Now designed as family fun center with complete modernization.  It had 56 Lanes until the place shut down for about a year in the early 2000's.  The place was completely gutted, lanes, machines, everything.  It was an AMF house from it's inception in 1958 until the closure.  They put in 40 new lanes & used Brunswick A-2 pinsetters & reopened the place with a bang.  Where Lanes 1 through 16 use to be, is now a full fledged arcade with space leased out to a Sub Sandwich chain.  Arcade games galore, laser tag, Balladium, bumper cars, & another large specialized kids game fill the space.  Miniature Golf & a Go-Kart track are just southeast of the building.  A new elaborate bar, restaurant, & lounge areas complete the scheme.  There use to be a nicely spaced Pro Shop off the main entrance to the east.  Charlie Tapp use to be in there for a couple of years or so before the closing.  That area is now office space & the Pro Shop got cheated by being placed in a tiny storage area behind the last two lanes, Lanes 39 & 40.  With the renovation that's taking place now, I've heard the Pro Shop is now out on the concourse just to the east of the control counter.  I've got to get in there & see what's going on!  31 Lanes???  Airway is owned by a local bowling chain, I can't remember the name of it?  Mark, the GM, had said there is simply not enough business to justify having 40 Lanes anymore; hence, lane bed shrinkage & the renovation of the shrinkage space.

Continental Lanes - 32 Lanes, a Brunswick house built in the early 1970's.  Only have a bar & grill with a large lounge & a Pro Shop to complement the bowling.  Has had several small scale renovations over the years.  All they really have to offer is strobe lighting & the ultra-easy THS to attract league bowlers.  I'm not sure how long that will last?  Business seems to be fair for sustainability for the time being.  The building & land has been independently owned by the same individual for decades.

Eastland Bowl - 32 Lanes, an AMF house built in the late 1970's.  Also only has a bar & grill with a large lounge to complement the bowling.  They finally found someone to operate a part-time Pro Shop earlier this year after not having a Pro Shop for several years.  Other than new masking units & automatic scorers, the place pretty much looks the same as it did during it's inception, both inside & exteriorly.  It's owned by the same conglomerate that owns Airway Lanes.  It's the bowling center I live closest too & I'm really quite surprised it's still in business.  Other than a few exceptions, the parking lot is usually void of vehicles.

Holiday Lanes - Also owned by the same local corporate group that owns Airway & Eastland.  It was also built in the early 1970's, has 32 Lanes, & has always been a Brunswick house.  It's the only bowling center left in the area that still has wood lanes.  Also only has a bar & grill with a large lounge area to complement the bowling.  Like Eastland, newer masking units are about the only updates seen in the bowling center.  The automatic scorers have been there a while.  The exterior has changed with a huge mural painted on the fa├žade of the building of a Pacific Islander bowling on the beach.  I'm really surprised it's still open, they're struggling the most to survive.
 
& finally:

Richland Lanes - The only bowling center outside of the Kalamazoo/Portage metro area.  It's a Brunswick house with 12 Lanes & only a bar & grill with a large lounge area & a Pro Shop to complement the bowling.  The building, along with the land, is now independently owned by an individual who has worked there on & off (mostly on) since the early 1970's.  He's making it, yet, he's hesitant to put anymore money in the place due to economic conditions & patronage numbers.

That's the situation around here.  Hardly anyone bowls anymore in comparison to what was!  The economy, a general societal lack of interest, & feelings of disenchantment from inflated scoring have combined to make bowling around here what it is today, a gradual disappearance!

themrfreeze

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Reply with quote  #33 
Upstate NY was a hotbed of bowling back in the day.  Here in Rochester, when I was growing up in the very late 70s/early 80s, there were at least 40 bowling centers within 20 minutes of downtown Rochester, a city of 250,000 situated in a county of 950,000 people.  Best I can calculate, there were over 1000 lanes available.  On the weekends, you'd be on a waiting list for an open lane, no matter where you went (even the 80-lane Olympic Bowl, host of many PBA events, would be full up on a Sunday afternoon).

Today, there are 12 centers left with a total of roughly 350 lanes (not including Olympic, which closed ~4 years ago now).  You can go into any of them on the weekend and get a lane with no waiting.  5 of those centers are AMF centers, and if they close due to AMF's bankruptcy/stupidity, we'll lose another 64+56+48+36+24=228 lanes. 



Fordman

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Reply with quote  #34 
Are you a friend of Don Gates freeze? 
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themrfreeze

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Reply with quote  #35 
The bowler from Syracuse?  Never heard of him until I Googled him just now.  Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse are far enough away from each other to have distinct bowling communities.


Fordman

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Reply with quote  #36 
I doubt my center will close soon they know what is important to bowlers.  I stopped in this morning to copy my sheets and all the tables and ball racks were moved because the carpets were shampooed over night.  Good sign they are doing things right.  Keep the place clean.
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mrbowling300

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Reply with quote  #37 
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Originally Posted by Fordman
I doubt my center will close soon they know what is important to bowlers.  I stopped in this morning to copy my sheets and all the tables and ball racks were moved because the carpets were shampooed over night.  Good sign they are doing things right.  Keep the place clean.


I've never bowled at Ford Lanes.  Will have to make a run there with The Big Cat for practice!
YouthBowler52102

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Reply with quote  #38 
Here in Cincinnati over the last 5-6 years we've lost a 10 lane very old family owned center and a 28 lane center. The old family owned center just didnt keep up with technology. The "non serious" bowler can't keep score on there own. A couple years back the center that the Hoinke family owned was about to close but strike and spare bought them. With the other centers closing it made the remaining ones packed. It is darn near impossible to get a lane at Stumps a 12 lane center. The leagues are always filled there all 12 lanes 6 days a week. The only open bowling is on Sunday's and sometimes on Saturday. Another one, walts center lanes in northern Kentucky have great tournaments and open bowl specials. For example I got 15 games of bowling in bowling at normal pace for 7.75. Places like this are happy to have 8$ instead of having nothing with an open lane.
Max49

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Reply with quote  #39 
Speaking of revenue for bowling centers, I saw something in Las Vegas that I never saw before. We went to and bowled at almost every casino that had bowling and they were some of the nicest  places I have ever bowled at. We got great deals too like $1 a game, $1 hot dogs, draft beer and even Margaritas. Most of them had 60 or 80 lanes or more and they were'nt that busy.  

  The one bowling center that I expected to be the nicest of all of Las Vegas was Southpoint, where they have so many PBA bowling competitions.  I personally did not like the decor at all. However, after reading about so many bowling centers closing, maybe Southpoint has a great idea. They have 60 or 80 lanes and every 2 lanes had a bill board advertising different businesses.   They not only did not have to buy back grounds from Brunswick or AMF but they are getting paid to put back grounds up. I guess if it keeps bowling prices down and centers open, more bowling centers should recruit some sponsors for some extra income.  Some businesses "Adopt a Road" maybe they would be interested in"Adopting a Lane".

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Reply with quote  #40 
Were lucky in the KC area because there are a ton of options when it comes to bowling.   I've never bowled at many of them simply because I never needed to drive across town to do so.  

It must be tough in rural areas where choices are few.....  I know the same can be said for some medium sized cities.   IE....Columbia Missouri....they only have 1 bowling alley in operation!! (AMF Town & Country)  There must be close to 200,000 residents in the surrounding area, and 1 bowling alley!   They are no doubt busy, but if they don't have lanes open......residents need to make a road-trip to bowl elsewhere.  
Fordman

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Reply with quote  #41 
I'm too lazy to look it up but how far is KC from Overland Kansas?  That was a big stop for the PBA in years past.
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TheBigCat

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Reply with quote  #42 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbowling300
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordman
I doubt my center will close soon they know what is important to bowlers.  I stopped in this morning to copy my sheets and all the tables and ball racks were moved because the carpets were shampooed over night.  Good sign they are doing things right.  Keep the place clean.


I've never bowled at Ford Lanes.  Will have to make a run there with The Big Cat for practice!


you're gonna risk bowling me on good conditions???
[biggrin]
(just kidding)

Ford is one of best centers I've ever bowled in...they just do everything right.

when I bowled there a couple/few years ago, it was 'stupid-easy'...close your eyes and throw it anywhere, but based on the average sheets I still see in my e-mails, they've toughened up the shot somewhat.

we'll go there...if they ever have open bowling...it's a really busy place. I guess during the 'off-season', even Ford should have open bowling sometime(s).
real good food, too. I'd go there just to eat.
[smile]

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