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#72095 - 12/04/08 02:29 PM Important features for a center
bluesman_vt_2002 Offline
Bracket Donor

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 147
A/S/L: 40/M/VT
Recently the owner of the center that I have been bowling at for years asked to talk to me for a bit. He knows that I have 12 years of management background and 20+ years of bowling background and he is looking for a General Manager for the center. I'm interested, but because I have time before he's completely ready to move, there is time for research and a plan.

My question is: what do you consider important features in a center. Tangible or not. My plan is to create an initial pros and cons list for the center weighed against perceived important features, and then in addition to that, align my specific strengths and weaknesses to address those areas.

My initial pros are:

1.Location is good
2.Parking is excellent
3.Prices are competitive on bowling compared to local centers
4.Ample locker space
5.Decent amenities video, pool, air hockey, food, drink
6.House equipment, eg. Balls and Shoes etc are decent
7.Ample space in the concourse behind lanes
8.Has a Pro Shop
9.Decent leagues and participation
10.Consistency in league bowlers year to year.

I'm working on a cons list right now, but the start would be:

1.Staff needs work or needs to be revamped
2.Staff need training, particularly in the machine area - thought I have a resource for that.
3.Fixing the "step-child" reputation
4.Paint and polish
5.Upgrades of capitol equipment, unlikely in the short term.

Look forward to hearing thoughts.
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#72097 - 12/04/08 02:58 PM Re: Important features for a center [Re: bluesman_vt_2002]
CoachJim Offline
USBC Silver Coach

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 4665
A/S/L: Reston, Virginia USA
I'm +1 for an IPBSIA certified Pro Shop and a silver level coach available for lessons, this will attract bowlers to your center as word of mouth gets around.

PBA Experience league with PBA patterns and Nationals pattern practice on weekends. I would pay $40 to $50 for a couple hours of practice on tougher lane conditions so when I show up for tournaments and the Nationals I'm not blind sided by these conditions.

Good food, you don't need to charge a ton of money for good food, with fresh ingredients. Good food will get people in the door.

Clean Bathrooms.

Clean approaches, don't think about starting a league without sending someone to check for spilled drinks and the like from open play bowlers. That's how I got hurt.

High scoring conditions on all other nights but the PBA night, anyone that wants to see how good they are can bowl PBAx league, the rest of the time bowlers are just there to have fun, so let them have it and keep the shot consistent and high scoring.

#72101 - 12/04/08 03:37 PM Re: Important features for a center [Re: CoachJim]
Cryssen Offline
League Bowler

Registered: 09/05/08
Posts: 97
A/S/L: 29/M/Louisville, KY, USA
You mentioned it has plenty of room in the concourse, my biggest issue with houses around here is the lack of enough seating for your leagues. There's usually 1 chair short for a 5 man team, and heaven forbid someone's significant other shows up to watch.

Consistent racks, competent mechanic on duty at all times
15# Ebonite Mission X (Pin under)
15# Ebonite Magic
15# Ebonite Cyclone
15# Circle Rio Plastic(Spare Ball)

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HSS: 732

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#72104 - 12/04/08 04:06 PM Re: Important features for a center [Re: Cryssen]
Atochabsh Offline
USBC Bronze Coach

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 6567
A/S/L: 50/F/California
Our center has a fantastic manager. And if I could go by why our center is full 24/7 its because of him. He is easy going but still expects work from his staff. His staff don't just stand around killing time. He has consistent staff, which tells me that he 1. pays ok 2. is decent to work for He pays a mechanic premium and we have a good one. So between the two of them they are a matched set. He knows the value of keeping his bowlers happy, whether that be allowing parties, fixing lane damage balls (even replacing some), donating lineage for charity events or running specials to keep the lanes full. But I think one of his strongest pros is his relationship he has with his league secretaries. He has about 20 of them year round. He helps them out by having staff call bowlers to fill leagues, house does their stats, does their banking, accomdates them on pre and post bowls. Some of this stuff is supposed to be the league Officers' responsibilities but if the house wants to do it, they keep the leagues from going anywhere else and attract new leagues whenever space is available.

The center is old, has not been remodeled like most these days. Has auto scoring but that's about it. The bathrooms are outdated, and sometimes not 100% working. The A/C sometimes is not working and sometimes the heat works too well. There's really not much to recommend it besides a great mechanic that keeps the lanes consistent and high scoring (unless its not supposed to be) and our manager. Whose been in the bowling business for over 30 years and in our local Hall of Fame.


#72113 - 12/04/08 05:22 PM Re: Important features for a center [Re: Atochabsh]
Silent Mike Offline
Hall of Famer Contender

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 998
A/S/L: 39/M/Poconos PA

1) proper Pro Shop with qualified driller and a decent selection/prices.
2) equipment in good working order.
3) clean facilties, snack bar, bar, general appearance.
4) adequate seating and space in bowlers area.
5) bowling specials and/or programs for "regulars"
6) customer service!!!!!
7) might seem insignificant but having a rack below the ball return for spare balls is SO nice to have.
8) Sound/entertainment system for open play/cosmic


1) Inconsistent oiling from day to day, week to week.
2) Equipment breaking down constantly.
3) Improper controls of heat/cooling/humidity/etc
4) Out dated lanes in poor condition.
5) Measures not in place to safe guard league pay outs. (I've been stolen from twice, ask me how this makes me feel).
6) Poor lighting in the parking lot (safety item).
7) Shortage of locker space.
8) In experienced mechanics.

This list could go on and it may be small items just a few things Ive seen in my travels over the years. Purely my opinion.
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