Cyber Report #1122

E-dition No. 1,122 • Friday, August 14, 2020

Editor: Bob Johnson (bjibob@aol.com)

BPAA and STE Unveil ‘Go Bowling America’ Campaign

To commemorate National Bowling Day this past Saturday, the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America and Strike Ten Entertainment launched a nationwide league bowling program called “Go Bowling America” to encourage consumers to come back to the lanes where centers have reopened and when they are ready to do so.

The “Go Bowling America” league program will provide bowlers of all age groups the opportunity to bowl in a multi-week, non-competitive league and receive a new entry-level bowling ball for completing the league.

The program is designed to welcome people back to bowling and help build awareness that bowling centers across the United States are keenly focused on the health and safety of all their customers and employees.

With more than 75 percent of centers now opened around the nation, BPAA and STE want to amplify and reassure everyone planning to return to the lanes that these centers are equipped, trained and ready to provide a safe, healthy and fun experience for all, despite the concerns over COVID-19.

In order to drive maximum awareness for “Go Bowling America,” BPAA and STE have worked with Taylor, a leading communications firm, to uncover insights about bowlers nationally.

Compared to other location-based venues such as movie theaters and amusement parks, bowlers are much more willing to return to bowling centers soon, with 73 percent willing to consider buying their own equipment to facilitate a safe experience on the lanes.

“We’ve spoken to bowlers around the country, and we hear their passion to get back onto the lanes in a safe way, because they know how much bowling means to their social lives and communities,” BPAA Executive Director Frank DeSocio said. “Given this level of enthusiasm, BPAA sees the upcoming months as critical to recapture the country’s attention and wants everyone to know that when they are ready to return to bowling, our centers will be, too.”

BPAA is leveraging its nationally televised partnerships to deliver this all-important message, as the “Go Bowling America” league program was announced during a “Fox & Friends” telecast on National Bowling Day.

The BPAA and Strike Ten are focused on helping the 3,400-plus member bowling centers during this incredibly tough time, and the exposure we receive from our partnership with FOX is a huge help and a great way to amplify our ‘Go Bowling America’ message,” said John Harbuck, President of Strike Ten Entertainment. 

To view a clip of DeSocio’s appearance on “FOX & Friends,” click here: https://video.foxnews.com/v/6179475091001#sp=show-clips. The segment included live shots of people bowling safely, properly social-distanced, at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kan.; Sarasota Lanes in Sarasota, Fla.; Spare Time in Colchester, Vt.; and Plano Super Bowl in Plano, Texas.

This Sunday (Aug. 16), NASCAR’s Go Bowling 235 at the Daytona Road Course race on NBC will provide a huge platform to capture an even broader audience, with the “Go Bowling America” messaging and marketing efforts being featured during the race.

NASCAR has seen record levels of viewership since its return. By sponsoring Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 10 Go Bowling Ford Mustang, and driver Aric Almirola, the opportunities for encouraging a safe and healthy return to bowling are numerous, as Go Bowling amplifies the message that most bowling centers are open, safe and ready for play across the country.

To learn more about the “Go Bowling America” league program and how to order a marketing kit, visit STEMarketing.com/America.

Son of Ohio Proprietor Receives $25,000 Frewing Scholarship

Andrew Amoré, the son of Ohio bowling proprietors Ron and Diane Amoré, has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Daroll and Dolores Frewing College Scholarship, which carries a $25,000 value.

The scholarship, administered by the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, was introduced by the Frewings, of US Bowling Corporation, to assist the child or grandchild of a BPAA member with their education.

When we were developing the idea for the program and I mentioned how much the scholarship would be worth, a number of people asked me why we didn’t just go with five $5,000 awards and make five families happy,” said Daroll Frewing. “But $5,000 doesn’t go very far in college today. We wanted this scholarship to make a real difference in someone’s life.”

Andrew Amoré, a 2020 graduate of Miami Trace High School in Washington Court House, Ohio, is now enrolled at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. In high school, he had a 3.9 grade point average (on a 4-point scale), and was part of the football, track, wrestling and bowling teams. His community service resume includes raising funds for the Bowlers to Veterans Link and working with Special Olympics Bowling.

He also has been actively involved with the Good Hope Lions Club and is a 10-year member of 4-H. In fact, Andrew’s work with 4-H — serving on the Fayette County Junior Fair Board, running the 4-H livestock shows and other activities at the fair — has prevented him from bowling in the USBC Junior Gold Championships and chasing additional scholarship opportunities.

When he makes a commitment, he sticks to it,” said Andrew’s father, Ron. “It has never been an issue. He would have liked to bowl, but he values keeping his word more.”

Andrew said he intends to pursue a degree in business administration, and also is interested in law. In an essay that accompanied his scholarship application, he wrote: “In order to be able to properly give back to bowling, I need to attend college to grow and enrich my mind so one day [I can share my knowledge]. I see this scholarship as an investment in the future of the bowling family, as it will help pay to educate the future leaders of USBC, of which I aspire to be one day.”

Andrew served on the Ohio State USBC Board for a year and on the state’s USBC Youth Committee for three years, following in the service-focused footsteps of his father, who has contributed his time to bowling at the local and state levels, and became a member of the BPAA Board of Directors on Aug. 1, representing Ohio.

It’s important to give back to organizations that have been good to you,” Andrew said.

The Frewings have been tremendous supporters of the Hall of Fame for many years, and we’re thrilled to help with the scholarship,” said IBM/HOF Chairman Mike Aulby. “We appreciate the continued generosity of the Frewings. This scholarship will greatly benefit members of the BPAA family for many years.”

Daroll and Dolores Frewing also are BPAA’s 2020 Special Projects Award honorees. Read more about them, as well as Andrew Amoré, in the August issue of BCM.

2020 BBIA Industry Catalog Is in the Mail

The 2020 edition of the BBIA Industry Catalog of consumer products has been printed and is now in the mail.

That means it should be in recipients’ hands, as usual, by Labor Day. However, because of postal service delays caused by the pandemic, it’s possible that it may arrive a few days later in some locations.

If you’re a pro shop operator and have not received the catalog by Sept. 7, contact your local distributor.

Creative Works Mourns Passing of Founder Schilling

Creative Works founder Jeff Schilling has passed away after courageously battling cancer for almost four years.

Schilling took inspiration from his entrepreneurial grandfather and started Creative Works in 1997. He had been working in the laser-tag industry and, at the time, most laser tag arenas were sterile spaces, lacking imagination and creativity. 

He saw an opportunity to reimagine and build a much better game environment by transforming these static spaces into epic, movie-style sets where guests could become the heroes of their own journey. These immersive experiences delivered the “Wow Effect,” which would become the Creative Works cornerstone over the next two decades.

Under Schilling’s leadership, the company expanded its product line to include many more attractions, including indoor mini golf, escape rooms, laser mazes, virtual reality, and Esports. He worked with thousands of business owners all over the world and became ingrained in the amusement industry.

Creative Works started as an idea at Schilling’s kitchen table and turned into an industry powerhouse with more than 60 employees and almost 50,000 square feet of office and production space. He believed in empowering operators through education to strengthen the industry as a whole, and in 2011 started the LaserTAG360 program, which today is called Amusement 360.

When he was diagnosed with cancer, Schilling was determined to share a message of positivity with those around him. He traveled the world to learn from the best leaders in business, health and mental strength. These lessons gave him a sense of gratitude for every moment, and he encouraged others to view life through that lens.

As he stated in a presentation during the 2019 F2FEC event, “When you have gratitude and appreciation, much can be done, much can be gained, and much can be shared.”

Armando Lanuti, the President of Creative Works, will continue to lead the company and help create memorable experiences for millions of people around the world, building on the vision Schilling started more than 22 years ago.

IBMA Pezzano Scholarship Winner Announced

Vianne Daniels, a dual-enrolled student finishing high school while also attending Olympic College in Bremerton, Wash., has been selected as the winner of the 2020 Chuck Pezzano Scholarship by the International Bowling Media Association. The $5,000 award is presented by the Billiard and Bowling Institute of America.

The 18-year-old Daniels said she plans to attend the University of Nevada Las Vegas in the fall, and try out for the school’s club bowling team. She writes a blog called “Behind the Ball” that can be accessed here: behindtheball.blog/.

When IBMA President Johnny Campos notified Daniels that she had won the scholarship, she said, “I was really surprised, honored and excited.

When I started my blog… I did not just want to have something on the internet,” she added. “I wanted to share my experiences and hope that I [could] help someone with something that I had learned.”

The scholarship judging panel included Brandy Padilla, a research engineer at Kegel; past Pezzano scholarship recipient Blair Blumenscheid, social media marketing manager for Storm Bowling; and Phil Brylow, a FloBowling announcer.

Bowlers Rally in Washington to Reopen Centers

Washington is one of the states where bowling centers still have not been allowed to reopen. They’ve been shuttered since mid-March when Gov. Jay Inslee issued his initial stay-at-home mandate.

Bowling centers initially were included in Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan, but now they have been pushed into Phase 4 Gregory Olsen, Executive Director of the Washington State Bowling Proprietors Association, told the Tri-City Herald.

This has prompted bowlers across the state to participate in a number of rallies as they hope to change the governor’s mind and let them resume their favorite activity.

Olsen noted that Washington bowling centers represent a $300 million state industry that employs about 4,000 people. He said that it’s a hard pill to swallow for an industry that was looking at record sales earlier this year, and has invested in equipment and products to keep their customers safe.

Read more here: https://www.tri-cityherald.com/article244805197.html.

Lasertron Attractions Set for New Strike & Spare Location

L&S Family Entertainment, LLC is moving its Strike & Spare facility in Murfreesboro, Tenn., into a brand new location this summer.

The new facility will be located in the former Sears store at Stones River Town Centre. It spans 52,450 square feet, which enables Strike & Spare to do “more than just bowling.”

Additional features will include bumper cars, roller skating, a virtual-reality rollercoaster, laser tag, an arcade, a 3D maze called Lazer Frenzy, and a one-on-one race against time called Time Freak, according to General Manager Phillip Cox.

Lasertron is providing Strike and Spare with an LED Interactive Arena and the company’s LT-12 Game System.

“We’ll also have a full restaurant, party rooms, dining areas — a whole different thing than what we’ve been doing (on Broad Street) the past 20 years,” Cox said.

Although there will be a lot more entertainment options, the heart of Strike & Spare will still be the bowling. Current bowling leagues, as well as new ones, will be welcomed, Cox said.

Strike and Spare, based in Henderson, Tenn., operates 14 centers and also features a Lasertron attraction at its Clarksville, Tenn., location.

Main Event Opens New Venue With Safety Protocols in Place

Main Event Entertainment is now open at Cypress Creek Town Center in Lutz, Fla., about 15 miles north of Tampa.

The venue offers 22 lanes of bowling, laser tag, rock climbing, glow and mini golf, billiards, more than 100 arcade games, virtual reality, karaoke, gravity ropes, casual dining and a sports bar.

The 50,000-sq.-ft. entertainment complex is the 44th location for the Dallas-based company. During the coronavirus pandemic, Main Event has put safety protocols in place, which will be listed in the upcoming 25th Anniversary Issue of BCM, which also will be “The List Issue II.”

Center That Served Iowa City for 60 Years Closes

Ridgewood Lanes in Fort Dodge, Iowa, already was dealing with an aging customer base. Strike one.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, and the center was ordered to close indefinitely. Strike two.

Then came the inevitable economic fallout for a business not allowed to generate any revenue over an extended period of time. Strike three. Ridgewood Lanes had served Fort Dodge — where a local resident used the ubiquitous gypsum rock to invent and patent drywall — for more than 60 years until owners Bill Larson and Nicole Begalle were forced to close the bowling center for good.

It is with overwhelming sadness that we are announcing the closing of Ridgewood Lanes,” Larson and Begalle announced in a Facebook post. “After 65 years of business and friendships, we have decided to close our doors.”

In an interview with the local newspaper, Begalle said, “We have bowlers that are in the high-risk category. A lot weren’t comfortable coming back because of the pandemic going on. That many people being in a confined space. The numbers just weren’t there.”

Read more about the closure here: https://www.messengernews.net/news/local-news/2020/08/ridgewood-lanes-to-shutter/.

Center in Green Lake, Wis., Is Claimed by Pandemic

On April 14, Paradise Island Bowl in Green Lake, Wis. — home of the deepest lake in the Badger State — had posted this message on its Facebook page:

Once the coronavirus emergency is over, every American needs to do three things: 1. Buy America-made products. 2. Support your local farmers market. 3. Support locally owned and operated ‘mom and pop’ businesses and eateries.”

It added one more word to the post: “Please.”

On July 7, the owners of the center posted this on Facebook:

With a heavy heart we had to close our doors because of COVID. The restrictions and loss of business were just too much. We gave it a great go despite everything, including negative people and having to grow it from nothing!!!!

We want to thank all of you, our loyal friends, for your support and many happy hours at the Bowl. You will always be in our hearts. We wish everyone good health, and God bless!!!!”

Closure Leaves 200-Mile West Coast Stretch With No Bowling

As we learned from BCM’s June cover story on 2020 BPAA Proprietor of the Year Mike Divis, it’s not unusual for bowling centers in Divis’s home state of Wyoming to be more than an hour apart.

But now along California’s northern coast and Oregon’s southern coast, there’s a 200-mile stretch where residents do not have access to bowling.

The closing of Tsunami Lanes in Crescent City, Calif., by Elk Valley Rancheria, announced on July 29, means one can drive from McKinleyville, Calif., to North Bend, Ore., without encountering a tenpin center.

The tribe’s ownership and operation of the bowling center had been cited as an example of positive changes in the community brought about by the success of the Elk Valley Casino.

Under the tribe’s ownership, the center had undergone a $2 million modernization, including the addition of equipment for sound-and-light shows.

But mandates by California’s governor had closed not only the bowling center but also the casino for several months, effectively eliminating all revenue streams.

The tribe has been committed to supporting the business and team members for as long as possible during this difficult time,” the tribe said in a letter announcing the center’s permanent closure. “Unfortunately, the time has come that we are unable to continue to do so.”

5 Eastern, Midwest Schools to Receive Bowler’s Ed Kits

The International Bowling Campus Youth Development team has selected five schools to receive Bowler’s Ed kits through its equipment grant program.

The Bowler’s Ed program provides educators and youth organizers with the tools needed to engage children in a true bowling experience by bringing a bowling center atmosphere inside a classroom or gymnasium.

The schools selected to receive Bowler’s Ed kits were determined based on submitted applications. The schools receiving a kit are:

* James Island Elementary, Charleston, S.C.

* Maryland International Day School, Camp Springs, Md.

* South Putnam Community Education Foundation, Greencastle, Ind.

* Waterville Elementary, Waterville, Minn.

* West Shore School District, Goldsboro, Pa.

Each kit includes a carpeted mobile bowling lane, along with a rubberized bowling ball and plastic pins. Teachers are provided a step-by-step curriculum and an instructional video on the fundamentals of bowling, etiquette, safety, scoring and fitness activities.

Since 2009, the Bowler’s Ed grant program has awarded more than $500,000 in the form of Bowler’s Ed kits to schools and organizations.

Business Briefs…

* The 20th annual GRAN PRIX Bowling Panorama took place July 23-24, attracting pro shop and bowling center operators from nine states. The company noted that it has remained open and operating seven days a week throughout the entire pandemic shutdown.

* Thunder Road’s indoor entertainment complex in Sioux Falls, S.D., is nearing completion, and among its many amenities is QubicaAMF’s HyperBowling attraction. “Overall, this facility is a great fit for families and a great fit for adults,” Thunder Road’s Ryan Friez told the Argus Leader newspaper. “We wanted to have a place that’s beautiful and cutting edge.” Thunder Road already operates a number of outdoor attractions, including go-karts, miniature golf and bumper boats. The new indoor facility is intended to give the business a year-round footprint in the region.

* There finally is light at the end of the tunnel for Pollard’s Bowl in Versailles, Ind., following the tornado that ravaged the center on April 8. Proprietor Ron Pollard announced on Facebook that he expects the center to reopen by the end of the month. The center’s restaurant and lounge were hit particularly hard, but donations and prayers from the local community have saved the center.

* Veteran Chicagoland proprietor Bob Habetler has died at age 77. His father, Rudy, was the 1953 American Bowling Congress Masters champion, and Habetler Bowl is still family owned, now in the fourth generation.

* The building that housed Sugar Bowl Lanes in Belen, N.M., which closed in May of 2008, has been destroyed in a fire. The center originally featured eight lanes, and four more were added in 1954. The building had been for sale for some time, but was not insured. You can view a remembrance of the center here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEXCGbRvd4w.

Other News You Can Use…

* Here’s the latest podcast schedule from the International Bowling Campus. All times shown are Eastern, and all shows are available on demand on all listed platforms.

 – Inside The OC with Jenny Wonders, Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, USBC Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.
– The PWBA Podcast with Kayla Bandy, Aug. 17 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, USBC and PWBA Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.

– Bowling Explained (new show) with Tom Frenzel, Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, USBC Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.

– Inside The OC with Steven Fisher and Cotie Holbek, Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, USBC Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.

* As the second Phantom Radio Trivia Contest draws to a close, the guest this week is Larry Lichstein. To see how Litchy fares, click here: https://kegel.squarespace.com/phantomblog/2020/8/12/larry-lichstein-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, “Like” Bowling Center Management and Bowlers Journal International on Facebook, and follow BJI on Twitter (Twitter.com/BowlersJournal). BJI Cyber Reports are now archived at bcmmag.com. Please remember that the Cyber Report is a B-to-B publication and not intended for consumers.

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