After decades in operation, Bowlero, Canada’s largest bowling centre and one of only three alleys in Windsor, has seen its final strike.
Open since the 1960s, the owners of the 74-lane centre on Tecumseh Road West announced June 29 it would not re-open in August as originally planned, after it was sold to a developer earlier this spring.
“It came fast. The decision came pretty shocking to people,” said Wendy Aqwa, manager of Bowlero and Rose Bowl on Dougall Avenue.
Originally in Windsor to purchase Rose Bowl, REVS Entertainment Group of British Columbia first purchased Bowlero in 2007, when the Rubin family offered the location to the group.
Although REVS was given the opportunity to lease the building to continue its operations, Aqwa said it would cost too much.
“There’s not enough money coming in to cover a lease and all the regular bills. It’s just not worth it,” said Aqwa.
Aqwa said three people have lost their jobs as a result of the closure, while the other eight to 10 will be working shifts at Rose Bowl. She added even before Bowlero closed, employees were already working at both locations, but it was not feasible to keep everyone.
With Windsor losing one of its 10-pin bowling alleys, only Rose Bowl and Super Bowl Lanes on Tecumseh Road East remain.
Super Bowl owner Cory Clarkson, said he’s hopeful the remaining alleys can work together to keep interest in the sport.
“Hopefully the bowlers still want to bowl and just want to find a new place to go,” said Clarkson. “The main thing is to work together and make sure everyone’s always happy and we’re doing out best to keep the bowlers happy.”
Some Windsor bowlers, like Todd Gallipoli, say they don’t plan to stop bowling anytime soon, but said there are some concerns.
“It’s good for one business that Rose Bowl and Super Bowl make more money,” said Gallipoli, who has been bowling in Windsor for three years. “But when you take away more things from the people, it’s going to either start clogging the other businesses or people are not going to have anything to do.”
The bowling leagues that used to play at Bowlero, for example, may cause added crowding at Rose Bowl as Aqwa said she has contacted league representatives about moving to the the venue. However, she said with leagues taking place from 6 pm to 9 pm on weekdays, weekends will be left open for families, corporate parties and individuals who want to play.
Bringing more people to bowling alleys also comes down to knowing what services you can access, according to Sandi Laframboise, whose first job was at Bowlero.
Laframboise said services could include discounts or even putting up bumpers, which prevent balls from ending in the gutters, to make children’s parties more enjoyable.
“That’s a good venue for them (alleys) to expand on, just advertising the types of fun people can have there and reminding people it’s a good place to go for an office party or work party,” said Laframboise.
Even with only two venues left to bowl in Windsor, Aqwa said people should still try to get into the sport.
“Anybody can do it,” said Aqwa. “We’re well equipped for all ages to handle just about anything to keep people playing.”