By Vicki Hogue-Davies
Two family entertainment centers, HeyDay and Fiesta Fun Center, scored strikes when they recently made bowling part of their mix of attractions. Located in Norman, Okla., HeyDay added 24 lanes of bowling on two separate floors. Fiesta Fun Center, in St. George, Utah, added 20 lanes, 16 in the main area and four private lanes. Brunswick Bowling Products worked with both of the centers to design and implement their new bowling areas.
HeyDay closed its doors for nine weeks last year to undertake a $6.5 million expansion that included completely revamping the center’s existing building and adding a new building. The facility’s square footage increased from 14,000 to 47,000 square feet and its indoor seating capacity from 135 to 425 people. The existing laser tag arena and arcade underwent major changes. The restaurant, which previously had served only pizza, now offers a full menu, and the kitchen tripled in size to accommodate preparation of the new food offerings. New bowling facilities include 16 lanes downstairs and eight cherry wood lanes upstairs in Revolutions, the center’s adults-only lounge, which also features pool tables and a bar serving beer, wine and cocktails; prior to the revamp, alcohol was not served. High-definition television screens and comfortable seating highlight the bowling lanes.
Why was this major project undertaken and how has it paid off?
“We wanted to become more upscale and more adult-oriented, and we have,” said Brad Little, co-owner and founder, who owns HeyDay along with his wife, Keri, and Trey and Tracy Bates. “We made more in the first quarter of this year than we ever made in an entire previous year. We went from 45 employees to 145. We reopened November 1 and hosted 66 company holiday parties in December. In past years, we averaged 10-12 holiday parties. It is now just a totally different company, experience and facility.
Initially, the plans for bowling at HeyDay included only 12 lanes, according to Jay Saladino, a director of new business development at Brunswick Bowling. “But when a tornado destroyed the bowling center in the neighboring community of Moore, plans quickly changed to accommodate 24 lanes and ensure that the business was right-sized for the market,” he said, explaining that the expanded design included the lounge and its Brunswick ColorFull Lanes. “Beyond our equipment and bowling expertise, we utilized our network of alliances to provide consultation on operations, as well as architecture and design. Our team of experts worked diligently to create a first-class venue.”
As evidenced by the numbers of people coming in to bowl, the owners and Brunswick representatives were successful in making the bowling area first class. And the popularity of bowling has contributed to sales throughout the entertainment center.
“On the weekends it is not uncommon to have a two to three hour wait to bowl,” Little said. “People come in and put their names on the list and we text them when their lanes are ready. While people are killing time waiting, they do other fun things like use the arcade, play mini golf and eat in the restaurant.”
Fiesta Fun Center
“It was a pleasure working with Brett and Kris to bring their vision for Fiesta Fun Center to life,” said Jason Dean, a director of new business development at Brunswick Bowling. “From day one, they were very passionate about enhancing the entertainment offerings for the community of St. George. They conducted an incredible amount of research – speaking with numerous fun center owners and operators about their experiences adding bowling lanes, and we are grateful their research led them to entrust Brunswick with their development.”
The amount of research owners Brett and Kris Crockett performed—including touring fun centers on the East Coast and looking at their amenities and offerings—helped them decide on the mix of attractions they felt would be right for their revamped center, including bowling.
The couple, who have owned Fiesta Fun Center since 2002 and have 48 employees, decided to add indoor attractions because most of the center’s attractions, such as bumper boats, go karts, batting cages, mini golf and others are outdoors. They wanted a place that would bring in business throughout the year, even during hot or cold weather extremes. The couple added a 40,000 square foot building to their property to house the indoor attractions, which in addition to bowling include laser tag, an arcade and a restaurant. They designed the layout of the building themselves, working with Brunswick on the two bowling areas, the main 16-lane area and the private four-lane bowling lounge.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with Brunswick,” Brett Crockett said. “Everything they said they would do they did.”
Adding bowling, which is charged by the hour, has paid off for the business, according to Crockett. “We have seen a big increase in revenue, he said.
“We go after the recreational bowler,” he explained. “We have two bowling centers in our city, mainly league houses built between 20 and 40 years ago. One thing we have done different is made a strong stand that we are not having league bowling. And apparently there were a lot of frustrated bowlers out there who couldn’t bowl during the week because they were always waiting for the league games to finish. Recreational bowlers will spend more money. They will buy socks and food. They are here for the experience, not only to bowl.”