Cyber Report #946

E-dition No. 946 Thursday, April 6, 2017
Editor: Bob Johnson (bjibob@aol.com)

ABS to Serve as QubicaAMF’s Distributor in Japan
QubicaAMF Worldwide has entered into a distributor agreement with American Bowling Service, Inc. in Japan. Effective April 1, ABS is serving as QubicaAMF’s exclusive, full-line distribution partner in Japan for capital equipment, automatic scoring, parts, supplies and pins.
ABS is the largest distributor and manufacturer of bowling supplies in the Far East, and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. The company was established in 1964 as a distributor of bowling balls in Japan, and currently has headquarters in Ota-ku, Tokyo.
In 2003, the ABS Logistics R&D Center was established in Ichikawa-City, Chiba. ABS sponsored the 37th ABS Japan Open Bowling Tournament in Inazawa, Aichi in 2013, which was the 10th consecutive crown sponsorship.
“…We wanted a local partner whose main focus and primary business is bowling, and like QubicaAMF, whose success is linked to the bowling industry,” said Emanuele Govoni, President and CEO of QubicaAMF. “ABS has a long history in bowling, a well-respected reputation, and strength and longevity as a company. We are looking forward to this partnership and to further developing and growing the bowling market in Japan.”
Said Mr. Tamotsu Watanabe, the CEO of ABS: “We are excited about the opportunity to add the full line of QubicaAMF equipment to our offerings… We are eager to represent the industry’s best and broadest product line in our market, including some of their most innovative products such as the BES X Bowler Entertainment System, XLi EDGE Pinspotter, Harmony Furniture, the new CenterPunch Deck Lighting and… pins. We see this as a great fit for our operation.”
Effective March 31, Daifuku Plusmore and QubicaAMF mutually decided to end their distribution agreement. Daifuku’s primary business is in machine automation, and this is where they see the company focusing in the future.
“We would like to thank Daifuku for their long association with our company,” Govoni said. “They have served the market and our Japanese customers very well. We are very appreciative of all they have done for our customers for almost 10 years, and we wish them continued success.”
The majority of Daifuku’s employees who were associated with bowling have transferred to ABS. For customers, it will be business as usual, ensuring a seamless transition of skills, projects, warranty, customer support and continuity of service.
Contact information can be found on the ABS website at http://www.absbowling.co.jp and http://www.abs300.com.
QubicaAMF also provided an update on one of its installations in the Texas community of McAllen, which has quickly become a popular community gathering place and is drawing customers from a wide radius. For that story, go to: https://bcmmag.com/2017/02/04/boutique-center-in-rio-grande-valley-doing-well/.
BPAA Names Losito 2017 Proprietor of the Year
John Losito of Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Neb., has been selected as the 2017 Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America Proprietor of the Year.
The award is presented annually to a proprietor who has excelled at developing relationships within their community, including comradery with the local United States Bowling Congress association, while actively promoting the sport of bowling with a strong league base, by hosting tournaments, and participating in BPAA programs. The individual, selected by the BPAA Awards Committee, runs an exemplary center and shares his successful business practices with the industry.
“I am truly honored to be the recipient of the 2017 BPAA Proprietor of the Year award,” Losito said. “To be recognized by my peers, in the industry that I truly love, means a great deal to me. I really am fortunate and that would not be possible without my team at Sun Valley Lanes. I share this award with them, as well as all my friends, both near and far, that have helped make me successful.”
Losito will be honored at the Annual Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, June 20 during International Bowl Expo 2017 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. He also will be featured in the June edition of Bowling Center Management, and will receive complimentary airfare and accommodations to Nashville, as well as Expo registration for two. Also, Sun Valley’s center BPAA dues will be complimentary in 2018.
“John is a perfect recipient for this award as he represents what every proprietor should strive to be,” BPAA President Nancy Schenk said. “He is continually updating his center and developing and implementing new ideas. This year, John remodeled his center, adding a beautiful game room to his traditional 32-lane center.
“Sun Valley Lanes is a perfect blend of league and open play. Besides hosting the state high school championships, collegiate tournaments and a Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour stop, this year Sun Valley Lanes also hosted the World Youth Championships. Tournaments of this magnitude are not always huge revenue generators, but John does them out of love for the game and not what they bring to his bottom line. For John, it’s about showcasing and growing the top competition at all levels of the sport.
“His commitment to the sport and the business of bowling are rivaled by few in our industry. His customer service is second to none, and I have modeled some of my own customer service initiatives directly from his. It is a great honor to award the BPAA Proprietor of the Year to John.”
Each year, state bowling proprietors association presidents and state executive directors are encouraged to submit the name of a stellar proprietor in their state to be considered for the national award.
Go Bowling Logo to Adorn No. 17 Ford Fusion in Kansas
Roush Fenway Racing driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will pair up with Go Bowling when the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series rolls into Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 13 for the Go Bowling 400.
Go Bowling will serve as the “anchor” on Stenhouse’s No. 17 Ford Fusion at Kansas.
“This is a really exciting partnership,” said Stenhouse, who rolled to victory at the 2012 NASCAR XFINITY Series race in Kansas. “I have always loved to go bowling. These guys are dedicated to spreading their passion for the sport and we are going to have a lot of fun in Kansas spreading the word about bowling and hopefully getting to knock down a few pins ourselves.”
The bowling industry – Go Bowling, Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America and Strike Ten Entertainment – is sponsoring the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway for the second consecutive year.
“Through this race, we are able to drive tremendous top-of-mind awareness for bowling by reaching a huge audience with similar demographics,” said Nancy Schenk, President of BPAA. “With the exposure we receive and all of the giveaways and promotions that we activate, the Go Bowling 400 is a great traffic driver for our centers.”
For a look at the exposure “numbers” generated by last year’s race, as well as some cool photos from race day, see the April issue of Bowling Center Management.
Throughout race weekend this year, fans will be able to go to the Go Bowling Fan Experience in the Midway, where they can bowl for free and meet professional bowlers. In addition, fans will be able to register to win a dream trip to Racing’s Big Championship Weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, a free year of bowling, and have the opportunity to view part of the Go Bowling 400 from the Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Pit Box.
“It’s great to have a proven winner like Ricky sporting the Go Bowling logo at our race,” said John Harbuck, President of STE, the marketing arm of the bowling industry. “We have a great weekend of fan interaction planned and we hope to cap it off with Ricky in Victory Lane.”
Roush Fenway Racing boasts nine NASCAR wins at Kansas Speedway, including wins in all three of NASCAR’s premiere series and four in the Cup series.
Oregon 16-Laner Downsizes to Add Arcade
Even a center with as few as 16 lanes can be a candidate for “down-sizing,” depending on the community and the marketplace.
Case in point: Four Seasons Bowling Center in Hillsboro, Ore., outside Portland. The 16-lane center opened in 1947, and was purchased by George Mareina in 1978. Now, Mareina’s son, Daniel, is the operator.
Realizing that the 16 lanes were rarely being used at capacity, Mareina decided to increase revenue by adding a full-fledged arcade. He removed four lanes and replaced them with a new arcade and redemption area.
“We had a few arcade games off to the side, but it wasn’t a real arcade,” he said. “Now we have 25 games and a redemption center.”
Intercard was selected to install a debit card and redemption management system. Several local arcade operators recommended that Mareina use a debit card system, telling him that eliminating the headaches from coin jams and ticket jams alone was worth the cost. Eliminating paper redemption tickets was a bonus.
“In Oregon, saving paper… anything that’s green… is a selling point,” Mareina said.
Four Seasons is using Intercard’s iReader II Eclipse readers, an iTeller II kiosk and a Redemption POS system. Ryan Muller installed the system and networking equipment in March. Specialty Coin Products provided the arcade games and fitted them with Intercard readers.
In addition to the arcade, Four Seasons Bowling Center has a sports bar and restaurant, as well as 12 vintage wooden lanes.
Developer, Target Confirm Closing of Portland Center
First, the owner of the building that houses AMF Pro 300 Lanes in Portland, Ore., announced that the center would be closing within a few months to make way for “a national retailer.”
Then came an announcement from BowlmorAMF which indicated that it planned to remain in the building through the end of its lease “and perhaps longer.”
That lease reportedly ends in August, and now there will be no “longer.”
Both the building owner and Minneapolis-based Target have announced that a small-format Target store will take over the space following en extensive remodeling project. Vancouver, Wash.-based MAJ Development says it plans to begin the renovation in August.
MAJ Development purchased the building that houses Pro 300 Lanes last August from AMF Bowling Centers Inc. for $4.8 million, according to Portland’s NBC affiliate, KGW.
Plans call for the store to keep the center’s iconic sign, but to change the lettering to read “TARGET.” You can view a rendering here: http://www.wweek.com/news/2017/04/04/the-bowling-alley-on-southeast-powell-will-be-replaced-by-a-target/.
In 2014, northeast Portland’s Hollywood Bowl closed to make way for an Orchard Supply Hardware store.
IBMA to Honor Campos, Thomas, Romeo and Vint
Johnny Campos, Bob Thomas, Joan Romeo and Bill Vint have been selected to receive 2017 service awards from the International Bowling Media Association.
Campos will receive the Luby Hall of Fame Award, Thomas will receive the Alberta E. Crowe Meritorious Service Award, and Romeo and Vint each will receive the Mike Hennessy Award of Merit after they ended up tied in the voting for that honor.
The Luby Hall of Fame Award is given to an individual (living or deceased) who has made a distinguished contribution to bowling via print, broadcast, telecast or photographic coverage over a period of at least 10 years.
The Crowe Meritorious Service Award is presented to an individual or organization for outstanding long-term accomplishments in and for the sport of bowling.
The Hennessy Award of Merit is presented to an individual for their outstanding long-term service to IBMA, including BWAA (Bowling Writers Association of America) and NWBW (National Women Bowling Writers).
Big Al’s Ventures Out of Pacific Northwest to SoCal
As first reported in the June 2016 issue of Bowlers Journal International, Big Al’s has ventured out of its Pacific Northwest birthplace with a new location in Ontario, Calif.
On March 16, it opened its fourth location at the Piemonte at Ontario Center, joining successful sites in Boise, Idaho; Vancouver, Wash.; and Beaverton, Ore. The Ontario Big Al’s may be located in the heart of what once was a large winegrowing area, but it retains the company’s signature Northwest lodge design.
Amenities include both traditional and boutique bowling, shuffleboard, a 100-game arcade that includes the UNIS release, “Panning for Gold,” a sports bar and restaurant, and more.
To learn more about the new Ontario location, go to: http://www.ilovebigals.com.
Special Pro-Am Will Help the Hungry in Maine
Eighteen PBA Tour stars will participate in a “Strike Out Child Hunger” fundraiser as part of the PBA’s visit to Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, April 9-16.
The 2nd annual “Bowling for a Cause” pro-am event, which is being held in cooperation with a number of Portland area restaurants, will take place on Sunday, April 9 at 6 p.m., following the official practice session for the MaineQuarterly.com Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship.
The pro-am will involve 18 teams bowling with PBA stars. Each team will be sponsored by a Portland-area restaurant for a minimum contribution of $1,000 per team. Last year’s inaugural event raised more than $10,000 to help combat childhood hunger issues in Maine. This year – with donations of food, $25 admission fees for spectators and other contributions – Child Hunger pro-am founder and Bayside Bowl co-owner, Justin Alfond, said the goal is to raise more than $20,000.
Players scheduled to participate include D.J. Archer, Dom Barrett, Josh Blanchard, Parker Bohn III, Jakob Butturff, Ryan Ciminelli, Martin Larsen, Chris Loschetter, Danielle McEwan, Rhino Page, Sean Rash, Ronnie Russell, Anthony Simonsen, Tom Smallwood, Bryon Smith, John Szczerbinski, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Dave Wodka.
Money raised during the pro-am will support Full Plates Full Potential, a non-profit organization that works to connect children with the reliable, nutritious meals they need in order to thrive.
If you can’t attend the event in person, but would like to support the effort, you can make a donation in the name of your favorite bowler (https://www.fullplates.org/pba) or you can donate in the name of one of Portland’s participating restaurants (https://www.fullplates.org/events/bowl).
Lots of star bowlers will be in town for the tournament doubleheader and pro-am. To view the roster of teams for the Roth-Holman Doubles Championship, click here: https://bcmmag.com/2017/04/05/strike-out-hunger-event-to-feature-pba-stars/.
For a complete schedule of events April 9-16 at Bayside Bowl, including information on a special Xtra Frame pay-per-view event, go to: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/pba-returns-to-maine-for-bigger-better-louder-week-of-competition/.
Business Briefs…
* What will the global bowling equipment marketplace be like through 2021? That’s the topic of a 57-page report compiled by Infiniti Research Limited, which forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 4.41%. The report also identifies the growing millennial population as a key market driver.
* All five centers owned by the LaSpina family in New York and Florida will henceforth carry the Maple Lanes name. Rockville Centre Lanes got its new sign on March 1, and you can see it here: http://liherald.com/stories/rockville-centre-bowling-alley-gets-rebranded,89930. “We are renaming our centers Maple Lanes because it is who we are and who we have been for three generations,” John LaSpina, President of Maple Family Centers, told the Long Island Herald. On that same link, you can read how Maple Lanes got its name back in 1960.
* After 41 years in the bowling business, Ron and Bonnie Miller have sold Idle Hour Lanes in Sandwich, Ill., to the family that owns centers in the communities of Yorkville and Naplate. According to a report in the Daily Chronicle newspaper, the center will be renamed Pinheadz at Idle Hour Lanes. Four generations of Bonnie Miller’s family had worked at the center, and Bonnie said, “It was hard to leave, but it was time to move on.” Read more here: http://www.daily-chronicle.com/2017/03/15/rolling-down-memory-lane-after-41-years-sandwichs-idle-hour-lanes-under-new-ownership/az9a1bi/.
* Dave & Buster’s has reported strong financial results for the fourth quarter of 2016. Total revenues increased 15.4% to $270.2 million, thanks in part to the opening of four new locations, while comparable store sales were up 3.2%. Also, for the first time ever, the company’s full-year sales exceeded $1 billion. Dave & Buster’s operates facilities that emphasize the adult end of the family entertainment center spectrum, while also competing in the casual dining segment of the restaurant industry. Bowling is among its entertainment offerings at eight locations: Concord, N.C.; Arundel, Md.; Houston, Texas; Sugarloaf, Ga.; Nashville, Tenn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Westbury, N.Y.
* Harrison McCoy, who opened McBowl in Liberty, Mo., with his brothers, Ted and Melvin, in 1958, passed away on March 29. He was 93. The family operated the center until 1987, completing nearly three decades of providing a safe hang-out for teenagers and a place where people could develop life-long friends. On the culinary side of things, McBowl was known for its 300 Burger – a menu item that lives on at the rechristened Retro Bowl, where it’s called “Our Famous 300 Burger.”
Other News You Can Use…
* Legendary comedian Don Rickles passed away today. He was 90. Among the jokes in his repertoire was this one on parenting: “Interest your kids in bowling. Get them off the streets and into the alleys.”
* Not pizza, but French fries, apparently caused actor and filmmaker Shia LaBeouf to go into an obscenity laced tirade at Pinz Bowling Center in Studio City, Calif. We won’t provide a link because of the language involved, but TMZ caught much of it on video, if you’re interested. TMZ also reported that a witness said the former Disney Channel performer had been at the center “for three hours pounding back beers.” The verbal altercation reportedly took place at Jerry’s Famous Deli, which is adjacent to Pinz.
* Packers players, coaches and alumni will take over the lanes at the Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in Green Bay, Wis., on Wednesday, June 7, for the Packers Give Back Celebrity Bowling Event, presented by Nestlé. Proceeds will benefit the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Promise Scholarship, which works to keep college within reach for eligible high school seniors who otherwise could not afford the cost of earning a degree. Lanes are available for $1,000, and will include a team of four bowlers per lane, with each team to be joined by one Packers celebrity. All participants will receive a gift and team photo, a shirt, their company sign displayed above their lane, plus access to the Nestlé Family Fun Night Buffet.
* The fire that caused a section of Interstate-85 to collapse – creating a traffic disruption around Atlanta that’s expected to last for months while repairs are made – has impacted untold thousands of people who live and/or work in the area. That includes Aaron Goldman, the co-owner of Atlanta’s Midtown Bowl. “I could see a direct shot at the billowing smoke,” Goldman told the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “It was only about two blocks from us.” You can check out the article on Midtown’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/MidtownBowlATL/photos/a.262874563766043.69351.113637042023130/1333404603379695/?type=3&theater.
* The 2017 PBA50 Tour season opens with a PBA50/PBA60 doubleheader when Lane Glo Bowl in New Port Richey, Fla., hosts the PBA60 Killer ‘B’ Open and the PBA50 Pasco County Florida Open back-to-back April 15-20. The inaugural Killer ‘B’ Open, for players ages 60 and over, will take place April 15-17 and will be followed by the Pasco County Florida Open April 18-20. Both events will be covered live in their entirety by PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. Defending champion Walter Ray Williams Jr. highlights the list of approximately 150 players ages 50 and over who are entered in the Pasco County Florida Open, which will be the first of 14 tournaments during the 2017 senior circuit season. For the doubleheader schedule, go to: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/2017-pba50-tour-season-begins-with-pba50pba60-doubleheader-april-15-20-in-florida/.
* Applications for the 2017 PBA Billy Welu Scholarship, recognizing exemplary qualities in male or female college students who compete in bowling, are due by June 15. Candidates must be currently attending college and maintaining at least a 2.5/4.0 GPA or equivalent. The two-part application can be retrieved using this link: http://www.pba.com/Corporate/Scholarships. Nominations also can be sent by email to scholarships@pba.com or mailed to PBA Billy Welu Scholarship, 55 E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 401, Chicago, IL 60604. The scholarship is valued at $1,000.
* The guest this week on Phantom Radio is Steve Cross, a Kegel tech support team member and lane pattern specialist. To listen to the interview, go to: http://www.kegel.net/phantomblog/2017/4/5/steve-cross-phantom-radio.
* CONTACT: Please send business news, event information, etc. to Bob Johnson at bjibob@aol.com. For breaking business news, visit bcmmag.com or bowlersjournal.com. BJI Cyber Reports are now archived at bcmmag.com.

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