A New Kind of Blog, with Bowling Proprietors and Managers in Mind

Regardless of whether you’re a newcomer to bowling center proprietorship or you’ve been managing bowling centers for decades, chances are that you would benefit from resources and ideas for how to take your center (or centers) to a new level. Ten Pin Marketing is known for its unique digital marketing designed for family entertainment and bowling centers. And today, we are launching a new feature – a blog with frequent posts about how to achieve even greater success in this industry.

James Nyhan III
Founder & Senior Executive
TenPin Marketing

As a lifelong bowling center enthusiast and decades-long proprietor, I will provide insights into how this industry has changed, how to introduce new features at your bowling center, ideas for how to host successful open play programs, corporate outings, birthday parties, fundraisers, how to expand and improve your restaurant’s menu, how to attract millennials to your center,(only to mention a few) and how to grow your business overall, maintenance and lane conditioning, hiring the right people and retaining them among other operational topics. This blog will be, in essence, a Master’s Degree course in expanding and improving in the bowling industry (but without the homework and drudgery).

My love for this industry started when I was a young child. My father was an executive with the bowling operations of AMF, and was a bowling center proprietor in Temperance, Michigan. When my father died when I was in elementary school, my mother, Patricia, took over the family business. The business was an integral part of my upbringing, and my parents’ enthusiasm for this industry was infectious. I’ve always half-joked that bowling has always been in my blood. Watching my father, and then later my mother, develop in this business led me to start working in the industry in New Jersey back in my early 20’s, learning very much from many of industry leaders and then returning to purchase the family business in the early 1990’s.

Since then, I’ve been in the industry has a proprietor, consultant, and marketing specialist. And I couldn’t have chosen a more exciting career path.

My father, Jim Nyhan, seated in the middle of the first row, with the bowling operations division of AMF, in the early 1960’s.

If I had to list my top three favorite aspects of this business, I would say being successful with competitive bowling when competitive bowling was trending down, being able to help bowling proprietors develop their businesses and also getting to help bowlers develop their skills (yes, I really do love bowling!), and helping to come up with innovative ways to bring “non-leaguers” into bowling centers.

Today’s bowling centers share little resemblance with the bowling centers of past decades. Twenty years ago, very few bowling centers had arcades or outdoor volleyball courts, or family entertainment rooms. Today those are almost standard features.

Fifteen years ago, the thought of ordering sushi at a bowling center was crazy. Today it’s increasingly common. Chefs at bowling centers are innovating with their menus and appealing to a more sophisticated dining market. Gone are the days of greasy burgers and fries dominating bowling center menus.

Even ten years ago, it was difficult to imagine getting a high-end specialty cocktail drink at a bowling center. Today, bowling centers are making a name for themselves with bartenders whose menus rival those at top-rated bars in major cities.

These are just a few of the major changes in this dynamic industry. Over the past several decades, I have helped introduce many of the industry’s changes at my own center, and I have attempted to create a more family-focused feel at my center, providing more family nights, open bowl nights, bumper bowling, cosmic bowling, fundraisers, company outings and much more – I have been on the ground floor. These changes have helped our industry thrive and adapt in changing times.

While the bowling industry has been in decline with competitive bowling for the past two decades, now is a great moment for our industry to seize the moment. Its out there you just have to go after it! If you apply the tips in this blog and take innovative approaches to expand your market, there is tremendous opportunity in our industry now. For the centers and proprietors making strides to stay current with the bowling industry’s latest trends, this coming year promises to be one of our industry’s best years.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and check this blog for frequent updates, tips, and ideas so your center can be on the cutting edge in the coming years.