By Neil Gray
September 08, 2006
I'm really disappointed in the ownership's decision to close
Ketchikan Entertainment Center's bowling operation.
I guess I can sort of understand the decision from a financial
viewpoint in the business world. Since I arrived in San Diego
in 1998 six bowling centers have closed. On those properties
are condos (housing shortage you know), a 24 Hour Fitness Center,
a very large construction company, and it goes on and on. They
were viable bowling centers, but they made a killing in the real
estate market by closing and selling.
Brian is right. Owning a bowling center is not a get rich operation,
BUT you can run a very financially healthy operation. The key
is knowing the bowling business. Owners who do not understand
or know what it takes to make a bowling center profitable will
not succeed. It is not like running a jewelry store, grocery
store, or other retail business. Bowling is a business where
you have to be assertive and go after the business, always looking
for new ideas and avenues of approach.
I managed the bowling center under the direction of Tom O'Dowd,
then Ross Nagamini. Our lanes were full of leagues, and the
recreational bowlers poured in on weekends. We had high school
graduation all-night parties, the Coast Guard and other companies
rented the lanes for holiday parties, and we held a lot of tournaments.
Under Tom's and Ross' direction it was possible to try new things.
You see, they knew the bowling business and knew what it takes
to make one succeed.
We worked with the Ketchikan Bowling Aassociation in developing
tournaments. Remember the Ketchikan Men's Masters? We drew
bowlers from Anchorage, Fairbanks, Portland, Oregon, etc. We
found sponsors locally so we could offer big money prizes to
draw in these bowlers. Our state tournaments were run so well
that we were always told Ketchikan was their favorite site for
a state event. They said they'd come here every year if they
could get away with it.
I have managed not only Ketchikan Bowling Center, but one in
Sedro Woolley, Washington, Astoria, OR, AMF Rockwood in Portland,
OR,. and worked at three centers in San Diego.
So, I too, have seen differences in success in various centers.
Believe me, it takes work.
It's one more entertainment source gone now for Ketchikan. I
cannot believe a 16 lane bowling center in Ketchikan cannot be
successful. The owners bailing out may not believe me when they
read this. But, I was there; Brian was there; and we both know.
A lot of staff members and other interested bowlers had worked
pretty hard to make it work. But when you have ownership that
doesn't understand, you lose.
COST vs ROI. Very good point. That's the way the bowlilng business
So... Allyn and Diane Hayes, Barb Richrdson, Tami Rambosek,
Nancy Harrison, Dick Zenge, Shirley Paulsen, my son Brian, and
all the others whose names I might have left off (let me know
who you are), thank you for your help. I'm sorry it's come to
meet the fate of Billiken Bowl from years past.
I guess I'll start buying that $1 lotto ticket now too in hopes
of bring bowling back to Ketchikan.
One big concern I have is, wbat will the YABA (Youth) bowlers
Lakeside, CA - USA
About: "Bowling Manager
of KEC (when it was Ketchikan Bowling Center)"
bowled out? What a shame. By Brian Gray - MO - USA
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