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Bowling Center Newsletter


April 2016

Making Center Modernization Manageable

Planning and financing the modernization, expansion, acquisition or new construction of a bowling center can present proprietors with unique challenges. Most local and national banks don’t understand the industry well enough to provide the best terms and ongoing support. Having the right help during the planning process can make all the difference. Just ask Tom Burke and Jon Tang of TJ 300 Enterprises, owner-operators of the successful Sunset Lanes in Portland, Ore., who were approached about purchasing Kingpins, a bowling center on the other side of town. Even though Burke and Tang have 35+ years of industry experience, they still sought help from Brunswick and its business alliances. “We were impressed that Brunswick acted like a true business partner, focused on making our project succeed,” said Tang. “They provided the 15-year pro forma forecast and expertise on not just bowling, but other aspects of the project as well. They also recommended consultants whose help was invaluable.” Burke and Tang suggest that proprietors hire at least one experienced, well-connected consultant to guide them through the modernization or purchase process. “We worked with Rick Heim of Cornerstone Consulting and Don MacBrayne of Performance Entertainment, and their fees were well worth the investment,” said Burke.

A Solid Business Plan is Key
The partners found that the most critical element in obtaining financing is providing a comprehensive business plan (see the side bar below for details). “A solid business plan not only forecasts the numbers to support the loan request but more importantly, it describes your project,” said Tang. “You need to really tell the story and educate the bank on yourself, your industry and market, and your project.” With business plan in hand, Tang and Burke met with four banks to review their options. “The large banks just didn’t understand our business,” said Burke. “They treat FECs like high-risk restaurants, where 80% fail within the first two years.” In the end, Burke and Tang chose Live Oak Bank in Wilmington, NC, a lender recommended by Brunswick for its dedicated bowling and family entertainment center team and proven track record in the industry. “It came down to who understood our project and who would make the best partner,” said Tang. “Of the banks we spoke with, Live Oak understood the FEC industry the best, had the best terms, and was the easiest to work with.” Margaret Paul is a Live Oak loan officer and member of the FEC team that worked with TJ300 Enterprises. “We know that FECs are different than other businesses, and really benefit from Small Business Administration (SBA) loans,” said Paul. “But proprietors can find the process quite cumbersome if their bank doesn’t routinely do SBA loans. At Live Oak, we only focus on SBA loans, and we’ve developed a process that’s fast, efficient and transparent for the customer.” As an SBA-preferred lender, Live Oak can approve, close and fund loans in-house rather than send them to the SBA for approval (which can add time and complications to the process). Live Oak is a Brunswick industry alliance that provides FECs with financing for equipment upgrades (including synthetic lanes, furniture, and scoring systems), kitchen remodels, boutique lane and arcade additions, acquisition of existing centers, and development of new centers. Terms vary depending on the use of the proceeds and other factors. KLC Financial is a Brunswick-recommended lender providing equipment purchase and lease financing for modernization projects. KLC executive vice president Spencer Thomas recommends that proprietors look for a lender who will act as a partner. “Things happen—floods, roof issues, construction that blocks access to a center,” said Thomas. “It’s important to choose a lender that can be adaptable, whether circumstances get in the way of cash flow, or there’s an opportunity to upgrade or expand.” KLC generally controls the entire transaction in-house, from application processing through providing funding and collecting payments, which allows for flexibility in working with its borrowers. KLC offers lower fees and more flexible qualification requirements than some typical lending programs. KLC’s Brunswick programs allow qualified proprietors to make half the normal payment for the first 12 months, giving them time to get new equipment up and running. Lease financing for qualified proprietors provides unique tax advantages, requires no money down, and uses the equipment itself as the required collateral. Thomas echoes Tom Burke and Jon Tang’s view of Brunswick as an invaluable resource and business partner.  “Brunswick is the only bowling equipment manufacturer we work with, because we think so highly of their product and their proprietor support,” said Thomas. “If Brunswick is supporting a proprietor, it’s easier for us to approve a loan request, because we know that Brunswick helps make proprietors successful.”  

From Concept to Construction
Less than a year after Burke and Tang began developing their plan, construction is well underway at Kingpins. As soon as the loan was finalized, Live Oak assigned them an in-house construction manager who is working with contractors to make sure the project is completed according to plans and industry standards, on schedule, and within budget. “This is an important tool to keep the project in scope, to keep expenses in control, and to make sure the process runs smoothly for the customer,” said Margaret Paul. The 41,000 sq ft center is scheduled to re-open in May and will continue to focus on existing league play on its 32 traditional lanes, while adding a restaurant and bar, game room with redemption store, and eight-lane VIP area featuring Brunswick ColorFull™ Lanes and massive video screens. The Brunswick installation also includes Anvilane™ synthetic lanes; GS-X™ pinsetters; Sync scoring & management system; audiovisual solutions including screens that span the width of three lanes; and custom laminate tabletop seating.

Brunswick is Here to Help
If you’re planning to modernize, expand, purchase, or build a bowling or family entertainment center, there’s help. Download our preplanning guide for help with building layout and design and to find a recommended partner for help with everything from demographic surveys through general construction.


Environmental Challenges

Pat Mitchell – Brunswick Lane Care Specialist

Lane maintenance can be unpredictable enough when just dealing with daily pattern consistency. When more variables are introduced, it can really wreak havoc inside the bowling center. This leads to more frustration from bowlers. The most difficult variable to control is the weather, especially during the transition from summer to winter and vise-versa. During the autumn and spring months, temperature and humidity can fluctuate, affecting lane play consistency. The lane surfaces can become stressed by the temperature change, which can affect topography. The topography change can affect where bowlers start and finish. It can also affect their margin of error. The topography changes as the ground begins to cool or warm up. The air beneath the lanes then begins to change the temperature of the lane surface. Humidity also is a factor especially with the combination lane machines. Conditioners like low humidity environments. High humidity doesn’t allow the oil to lay the same. Water is heavier than oil so it takes longer for the water vapor to evaporate and the oil to lay out properly. As the machine cleans and the old oil is removed, a slight haze of water is left behind that gets trapped between the oil and the lane surface. Since the oil is trying to lay out and attach itself to the lane surface, the oil can transition more than normal. This creates more carry down and breakdown forcing the bowlers to move more frequently. How do you remedy this? It is difficult to do. Most centers will run air conditioning in the summer months and heat during the winter. The weather can change daily depending on the region. Sometimes the weather stays mild enough that the center does not run their heat or AC. This can be bad as the air can become stale with no movement. Some centers will pump in outside air. This can be bad as it can introduce humidity into the center. Both these situations will create inconsistency with the oil pattern.

The following are some things to consider trying during these months of seasonal transition:
  1. The best thing to do is stabilize the temperature in the center and keep the air moving. 
  2. Many centers will reduce their pattern volumes by 10% during these transition months. 
  3. Perform lane maintenance earlier in the day to help combat issues with high humidity. 

Save 16% on 16 in '16!

Brunswick is offering a 16% rebate on select A2, GS and Quality Pinsetter
Parts through the end of May.

  • Offer is on 16 select A2 parts, 16 select GS parts and 16 select Quality parts
  • Valid on parts purchased from an Authorized Brunswick or Quality Distributor
  • Parts must be purchased between April 1 and May 31, 2016
  • Offer valid to centers in the United States and Canada only    

Click here for full details, rebate forms and the list of eligible parts.

                  12-4267                                  12252343000                              99060242004


2016 Pin Fall Dating

Refresh your center now with quality pins from Brunswick and pay nothing
until October 2016!

  • Great strength, durability, and scoring from Brunswick — the world’s premier bowling company
  • Compression-molded Surlyn® and three-layer topcoat system ensure a long life
  • Molded-in base minimizes out-of-ranges
  • Enhanced UV additive for great glow under black lights
  • Available with stripes or crowns
  • One-year limited warranty
Contact your Brunswick Aftermarket Product Specialist or call 1-800-YES-BOWL (options 2, 2) to learn more about this offer, including special pricing. 

Save the Date!

Brunswick's Aftermarket Product Premiere in conjunction with the Pro Shop Industry Showcase

  • At the South Point Bowling Center, Las Vegas, NV

  • Tuesday, June 28, 2016, from 1:00pm to 6:00pm

  • Envoy™ and DEFY™ conditioner demonstrations

Opportunity to try the latest ball releases

Upcoming Events

  • GS®-Series Pinsetter Maintenance School, March 7–11, Muskegon, MI
  • Vector Scoring Maintenance School, March 14–18, Muskegon, MI
  • GS®-Series Pinsetter Maintenance School, May 2–6, Muskegon, MI
  • Vector Scoring Maintenance School, May 9–13, Muskegon, MI

For the latest event schedule click here.

Employee Profile—Derek Ransom,
Area Sales Manager

Biggest career accomplishments in 2015? 
I won my second President's Award since joining Brunswick in 2005. 
I also sold over 320 lanes of Sync scoring last year.

What is your sales philosophy? 
Always take care of the customer and consistently do all the "little things." 

What advice do you have for a new sales employee? 
Be a good listener! 

What do you find the most challenging at Brunswick? 
Covering large territories effectively. 

What aspect of your role do you enjoy most? 
Meeting different proprietors and presenting them with new products.

Hobbies, pastimes:
Hunting and fishing 

Any favorite movie lines?
Rubbing is racing! (Days of Thunder)

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you? 
Ryan Reynolds (because my wife thinks he's hot) 

Best words to describe you?
Loyal, persistent, family man

Trivia Question

How much pressure impacts the lane when a 16-pound ball meets the surface?

Click here to view the answer.

525 W. Laketon Avenue · Muskegon, MI 49441-2601 USA · 1·800·Yes·Bowl · 231·725·4966 · ©2016 Brunswick Bowling Products, LLC. LinkedIn, the LinkedIn logo, the IN logo and InMail are registered trademarks or trademarks of LinkedIn Corporation and its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks belong to Brunswick Bowling Products, LLC. Printed in the USA. Form #0316-01 

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525 West Laketon Avenue
Muskegon, MI 49441-2601
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