Bowling’s been in the Myers family for years. But as of this month, bowling’s taken on a whole new look.
Just ask Tom Myers, owner of Silverdale’s All Star Lanes & Casino.
“Bowling cycles,” Myers said of its popularity. “Right now it’s on the upswing.”
That why, last January, he and his wife, Laurie, decided it was time to re-make their bowling alley. With help from a national representative of the bowling industry, they traveled the west coast looking at other bowling alleys. They liked what they saw at most of the places they went, but they decided to re-vamp their place similar to the Sunset Lanes in Beaverton, Oregon.
“It’s the concept of boutique bowling” he said. “It’s making bowling modern.”
The boutique concept includes a more intimate setting for groups who want to bowl together. There’s comfy, couch-style seating, with coffee tables and sophisticated lighting and audio-visual systems, specialty drinks, appetizers and lane-side buffets. Big screen televisions can be lowered above the lanes if bowlers want to watch another sporting event or show as they bowl.
Myers said the social and relaxed environment is gaining in popularity for young adults and for corporate events.
Looking at the Sunset Lanes, the Myers decided to use their color scheme of bright red, yellow, orange and purple.
“We just liked everything about the lanes in Beaverton,” he said. “And we liked that even though their place had been open for five years, it looked brand new.”
The renovation of the All Star Lanes began about four months ago and cost upward of $1.5 million. Besides the 10 lanes of boutique bowling, the renovation also included the addition of a new arcade, a remodeling of the alley’s diner (which is known for its great breakfast deals), entrance, pro-shop and casino. There’s fancy new round ball holders and brand new colorful bowling balls. There’s new shoes to fit any age bowler and there’s even an espresso stand.
But beyond what’s obvious, there’s lots of new technology, too.
The alleys now operates with the newest electronic technology available, including online reservations.
“You can actually go online to our website from home and reserve your lane and when you get here, it’s ready for you,” said Myers.
Too, each bowler can be listed with his or her own needs. For example, if one bowler on the team wants “gutter guards” that can be marked and the gutter yards will come down for that bowler only.
It beats the old days, Myers admits.
“Back when I started in this business, we had to blow up the tubes by hand and run down there and put them in place,” he said.
Myers has had All Star since 1985. The 50,000 square-foot complex is one of five alleys in Kitsap County that has stayed in business through the lean years. His parents began the family’s bowling business with Hi Joy Bowl in Port Orchard in the 1970s. Hi Joy is still owned by a family member.
“My dad was in the grocery business,” Myers said. “He knew this man who he bought steaks from who owned the bowling alley. My dad was looking to get out of the grocery business and so he asked him, ‘Want to sell me your bowling alley?’ And he did.”
Myers grew up doing “everything” at the Hi Joy. He worked the desk. He was the janitor. He ran after balls and pins that got stuck.
“But I loved it,” he said, admitting that he still bowls a game of two every now and again.
Another modernization is that bowling is now offered by the hour. A lane cost $30 an hour and shoes come with that.
“So depending on how many people you have playing with you and how fast you bowl, you can get more for your money,” Myers said.
All Star has lanes open most of the time, he said, even though there are a number of league bowlers, too.
“The split is about 50-50,” he said. “We’re the busiest on the weekends.”
On Friday and Saturday nights, there’s bowling and karaoke mix, where patrons can sing in between bowling right at their lane. Bowling also is popular for birthday parties and is gaining in popularity for corporate retreats and business team-building exercises, he said.
In 1999, Myers opened the casino above the All Star bowling alley. The card game room is popular for those who like casinos but don’t want to play slots. There are 14 casino card games for customers 18 and older.
Of the new additions at the All Star, Myers is most proud of the arcade. There is 2,000 square-feet of game space, including some of the most popular games like the Typhoon, where players get to go on a simulated roller coaster ride through a storm.
“It rocks and rolls,” he said.
Just outside the arcade, there’s a photo booth, just like the ones at the old Woolworth’s. A series of four photos is just $2.
Myers said the old trend was to have pinball machines at the bowling alleys. But those went away years ago and now, having an arcade, allows parents to be able to bowl while their kids play the games.
Winners at the games accumulate points which can be spent on prizes that range from candy to X-Box games. Points are stored on an in-house only game card which works like a credit card and points do not have to be redeemed daily. It can be used anywhere in the business.
“In other words, if you want, you can keep your points until you get enough for that big prize you want,” he said.
There are even some Seahawks tickets among the prizes in one game.
And the All Star bar has been updated to include windows and outdoor seating. The bar was renamed Ozzie’s Place Bar & Bistro in honor of Myers’ father.
Besides Myers and his wife, their three children work in the business as well. In all, there are 180 employees. Myers sees a great future.
“The lean years of the recession were hard on us,” he said. “But bowling is coming back. And now we have so much more to offer.”
To find out more go to www.allstarlanescasino.com. The business is located at 10710 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale. The phone is 360-692-5760.
The online reservations portal is located is at http://www.playallstar.com/.