Birthday parties. Corporate parties. Tournament parties. All are “strikes” in the eyes of bowling center owners and managers. Here, they discuss their biggest bash of the past year.
To celebrate the grand opening of its center, Norcross, Ga.,-based Brunswick’s hosted 300 local VIPs for an exclusive preview event supporting Bert’s Big Adventure (a non-profit organization for seriously ill children). “This was a completely complimentary event featuring our premium food and drink service, live music and of course, bowling,” said Brian Dobson, general manager. Brunswick’s donated $10 for every strike guests threw that night, which totaled $3,120.
At Big Al’s, with locations in Vancouver, Wash., Beaverton, Ore., and Meridian, Idaho, corporate events take over the entire building. “We close down for outside business and let employees enjoy everything we have to offer – such as bowling, 55-foot TV screens, arcades, pool, shuffleboard, darts and more,” said Tom Moore, chief operating officer. Typically, the center hosts four to six closed-door events per year for large companies such as Nike and Intel.
At Laurel Lanes, in Port Angeles, Wash., tournaments are its biggest moneymaker. Vern Elkhart, owner, said the center has four tournaments a year. About $2,000 is garnered on tournament days. “A lot of people come to participate or watch the tournament,” he said.
For Lynnwood Bowl & Skate, in Lynnwood, Wash., hosting Zumiez’s annual corporate “thank you” party is its biggest event of the year – with 700 employees bowling and skating. The center is the perfect spot because the company’s headquarters is located nearby. Larry Matlin, general manager, said the facility is set up with a DJ and sound stage. The event features some of the center’s catered menu platters.
At Jupiter Lanes, in Jupiter, Fla., the biggest event in the last year was a corporate party in which more than 300 guests attended. “We custom designed the menu and had a bowling tournament,” said owner Christine Vitolo. – K.A.
– Karen Appold