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    by Randy Ooney     

My Nickel’s Worth                     by Randy Ooney


My Nickel’s Worth                      by Randy Ooney



The fact that a number of bowling centers have closed over the past two or three years makes it obvious that bowling is a tough business in which to make a return on investment.  I heard at one time that one lane equipped with gutters, an automatic pinsetter, a ball return and automatic scoring costs around a quarter of a million dollars.  That was told to me a few years ago so it probably has increased.  The lanes are durable, but imagine how many games need to be bowled at $2.00 - $5.00 per game just to reach break even.  Of course, bowling centers do not just sell bowling.  Pizza and tasty finger foods of state fair quality are readily available at most centers, as well as a libation to wash it down.  But I can tell you, as a former restaurant proprietor, profits from food and drink might help pay a bill, but it won’t put you in a Lexus.


So what is available to boost returns for the bowling centers?  Well I consulted with a local financier and real estate tycoon, Wiggy Zilf, for tips on paying the bills, and here’s a few ideas for our friendly BPAA members:


For a stool at the bar, complete with a foot rest and a back support, as well as an unobstructed view of the big screen TV – a personal seat license (PSL) fee of $1,000.


For a seat at a table near a window, with a longer distance view of the TV – a PSL of $500.


For a seat at a table with an electronic pull tab machine – The PSL is only $5.00 as long as you lose at least $50.00 per hour playing the game.

For a seat near the game room, where you can see the TV but you cannot hear due to game room noises (like Pac-Man munching dots and grapes) the PSL is $150.


By the way, the bartender will refund 10 per cent of your PSL on all seats near the TV, whenever the Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves, or Gophers games are being telecast.


And last and least, for a seat in the settee area behind a pair of lanes where Daron Hansen is bowling – a PSL of a buck and a half.  




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