Stars _ Strikes by pengxuezhi


         Brunswick Bowling’s Turnkey Program and
                    Stars and Strikes
        he new frontier of bowling has      a turnkey package deal. This deal in-          bowling and billiard supplies. After the

        arrived and, along with it, a new
        model for integrating coin-op
        amusement into one of the oldest
                                            cludes literally everything, from the ar-
                                            chitectural designs and construction to
                                            millworks and kitchen fixtures, all at di-
                                            rect cost with no mark ups, excluding
                                                                                           overhead cost, there are no franchise fees
                                                                                           or revenue sharing; it is solely the own-
                                                                                           er’s and/or investors’ business.
                                                                                               The brain child of Hank Harris, VP of
    Through a new program                                                                          design and construction, this con-
launched by industry giant                                                                                ceptual consultant pro-
Brunswick Bowling called                                                                                   gram has become one of
Brunswick Build to Bowl, the                                                                               the most fascinating divi-
company will entirely design, out-                                                                         sions of Brunswick
fit and supply an amusement cen-                                                                            Bowling. Eight years in
ter on an existing property, using                                                                          the making, the scale of
its network of suppliers to create

                                                                                    September 2005 • RePlay Magazine • Page 117
Stars & Strikes
                                                                                                                                              The back wall of
                                                                                                                                              the Thunderbird 36 is
                                                                                                                                              a painted panorama
                                                                                                                                              of famous locales in
                                                                                                                                              Atlanta and north
                                                                                                                                              Georgia. Seen here
                                                                                                                                              are Centennial Park,
                                                                                                                                              home of the 1996
                                                                                                                                              Summer Olympics;
                                                                                                                                              Lake Lanier, a huge
                                                                                                                                              lake fed mainly by the
                                                                                                                                              Chattahoochee River
                                                                                                                                              known regionally for
                                                                                                                                              its scenic beauty; and
                                                                                                                                              Turner Field, home of
                                                                                                                                              the Braves.

                  The sign for the bowling area shows the qual-
                  ity of the hand-painted signage throughout        Twenty four of the thirty-six bowling lanes at Stars and Strikes stretch out in the back of the
                  Stars and Strikes. The differently styled signs   52,000 square foot, state-of-the-art amusement facility custom designed by Brunswick Build
                  not only designate an attraction but help to      to Bowl. If there is a heaven for the Dude from “The Big Lebowski,” surely it must look like
                  create distinct atmospheres.                      Stars and Strikes.

                  this operation is as large as it is extremely     garden-variety set of lanes. They aimed           called The Twilight Zone, a 5,000 square
                  detailed. A look inside one facility in par-      to showcase bowling within the largest            foot laser tag arena known as Next
                  ticular, which features a game room that          possible network of attractions that would        Dimension and Coach’s Corner, a 4,000-
                  rivals its stand-alone counterparts, is the       both emphasize and offset the sport and           square-foot sports bar. Each aspect of the
                  best way to see the big picture and its po-       do so through a sleek overall design that         facility, run by 12 management staffers
                  tential.                                          would cater to style and not pander to            and between 80 and 100 hourly employ-
                                                                    kitsch. Ultimately, their target audience         ees, works in combination with the others
                  Seeing Stars                                      would be families looking to get out of           like a family amusement center’s attrac-
                      Chris Albano and managing partner             the house and have fun together.                  tions but without slighting the primary
                  Jack Canause had a vision similar to                  The idea was grand in scope, but              status of balls and pins.
                  many entrepreneurs: galvanizing the in-           Brunswick Bowling brought to life this                “Your business has to have an identity
                  nate potential from a gutted piece of real        meticulous concept and did so for less            at its core,” says Chris, who is originally
                  estate and channeling it into a fun, smart        than Albano and Canause would have                from New York and has lived in Georgia
                  business that offers something different          spent planning it on their own from the           for almost 10 years. “Our core, the nucle-
                  for everyone. In their case, the property         ground up.                                        us of it, is the 36 bowling lanes. We’re
                  was a former Wal-Mart, one of the skele-              Located in Cumming, Ga., about 10             first and foremost a bowling center at the
                  tons left behind as the corporation pulls         miles north of Alpharetta (a suburb 25            end of the day.”
                  out of fairly large structures to build be-       miles north of Atlanta), Stars and Strikes            Backing up that idea are the leagues
                  hemoth-sized super centers. The partners          contains 36 lanes of action known as The          — Mixed, Women’s and Men’s — that
                  wanted a bowling facility but not just any        Thunderbird 36, a video game room                 are currently being planned. Birthday par-

                  Page 118 • RePlay Magazine • September 2005
                                                                                                 The Twilight Zone, home to more than 85
                                                                                                 amusement games, has become a main attrac-
                                                                                                 tion on its own accord while entertaining others
                                                                                                 waiting for access to a lane.

                                                                                                    Who wouldn’t enjoy a black light laser maze?

Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter
Here: Inside the laser tag arena, the walls are
airbrushed to almost resemble a psychedelic
alien landscape.

ties are also a huge priority and source of
revenues, and the facility prides itself on
having “a birthday party fleet ready to
go,” according to Charlene Herez, direc-
                                                  Most machines in the arcade, operated by Tricorps, require a game card.

tor of sales and marketing. Other bowling
                                                  notifies the group that a lane has become         chicken fingers, as they watch the ball-
thrills and frills are here as well: cosmic
                                                  available.                                        game.”
bowling and a live DJ greet bowlers on
                                                     Speaking of restaurants, the food at               Stars and Strikes only just opened its
Friday and Saturday nights.
                                                  the Starlight Drive-In is not standard            doors in mid-July, and Chris believes that
    The laser tag arena, mini-arcade, café
                                                  mediocre fare but fifties-style cuisine           over time the location’s different divi-
and bar, which closes after 10PM to mi-
                                                  that’s sensible for an establishment court-       sions, each impressively outfitted, will
nors, are also designed to underscore the
                                                  ing families with young kids and players          generate their own buzz and attraction
bowling lanes’ centrality.
                                                  on the go.                                        status. The Coach’s Corner, for example,
    “Everything feeds into one another,”
                                                     “People come in the first time because         has 22 televisions with DIRECTV and
describes Chris. “It’s very synergistic.”
                                                  they hear it’s a bowling center,” explains        distinctive burgers whose recipes are in-
    If a group of friends, for example,
                                                  Chris, “but then they see the different           spired by famous coaches, plus nightly
shows up to bowl but every lane is occu-
                                                  kinds of food and realize that it’s actually      events: Tuesday’s “Trivia and T-Bone
pied, they can make a reservation and en-
                                                  great food. The next time when they’re            dinner,” Wednesday specials on wings
tertain themselves with the array of
                                                  waiting for lanes, which happens a lot on         and karoke and Thursday’s Texas Hold
choices. When their lane opens up, a re-
                                                  the weekends especially during the sum-           ’Em poker tournaments. It also has sever-
mote electronic device, such as those dis-
                                                  mer, they can they get a bite to eat, like        al billiard tables and an extended menu
tributed in large-scale family restaurants,

Page 120 • RePlay Magazine • September 2005
                                                                                                                                                Stars & Strikes
The deep-brown wood and sophisticated look of the Coach’s
Corner, a full sports bar, creates a mature, relaxed mood for players
wanting to kick back with a few pitchers and watch the Braves.           Everywhere one looks, Coach’s Corner honors legendary coaches with
                                                                         taste — and tasty menu selections developed with them in mind.

selection, creating a full-fledged restau-
rant with an autonomy of its own.
    Eventually, he envisions people just
dropping by for a steak or several
teenagers getting the urge to play laser
tag in the black-light maze and showing
up to do so. In order to develop each in-
terrelated area’s distinctive appeal, there
is no flat admission rate to the facility,
only a “pay as you go” system, and ubiq-
uitous hand-painted signage over the
52,000 square feet of fun.

Entering the Twilight
    The Twilight Zone, the 5,000-square-
foot video and coin-op game component,
truly benefits from this selective indepen-
dence and has already proven to be “a
huge piece of the pie,” constituting “a
major part of the revenue,” according to           Arctic Thunder and Lethal Enforcer get players’ hearts pumping before they play laser tag.
    “It features a standard videogame              for purchase, a system that they are look-      “fantastic vendor.”
complement,” says Steve Paris of                   ing to extend into the laser tag division. A
Tricorps, the official operator, “with a           dozen classic games are coin operated.          Meeting One’s Maker
full-bevel, 85-piece count and about four              “A lot of people come and buy a game            Standing on his newest construction
or five pieces in the bar.”                        card just to play Mad Wave,” says Brad          site in Burlington, Iowa, Hank Harris can
    Approximately 70% of the games are             when asked about popular games. “When           see the plan of Brunswick Build to
redemption-based. Prominent games fea-             we opened, people came in and didn’t re-        Bowl’s newest amusement park taking
tured include Mad Wave Motion Theatre,             alize everything that we have. Now a lot        shape, featuring a water park, a 21,000-
The Fast and the Furious, Dance Dance              of people come just for the game room.”         square-foot indoor go-kart track, a sports
Revolution, Nothin’ but Net, Cyclone,                  “Spin-N-Win has better numbers than         bar and more, forming 97,000 total
Tower of Power and Spin-N-Win, as well             the Mad Wave,” adds Rob Geiger, the             square feet of fun.
as air hockey tables and more, forming a           Georgia area manager for Tricorps.                  “We provide a service that no one else
substantial arcade. A second area is dedi-         “Nothing but Net does super well with           has at this magnitude,” says Hank, whose
cated to a bank of linked Daytona games.           the bar crowd as well.”                         excitement and pride in the program
    Brad VanBuskirk, Chris’ nephew,                    Rob gives a lot of credit to David          shines through his voice. “We’ve de-
moved from Pittsburgh to supervise The             Capilouto of Greater Southern Distribut-        signed and built a lot and have learned so
Twilight Zone. Brad says that most of the          ing, who supplied the games and many            much in the process. Now we can take
machines run off game cards available              supporting services, describing him as a
                                                                                           September 2005 • RePlay Magazine • Page 121
                                                                                                                                ities for the corporation. He
Stars & Strikes
                                                                                                                                started developing Build to
                                                                                                                                Bowl in 1997, and a year later
                                                                                                                                he built the first independent fa-
                                                                                                                                cility in Overland Park, Kan.,
                                                                                                                                for Danny Jackson, the Kansas
                                                                                                                                City Royals pitcher who had
                                                                                                                                just retired. Since then, he has
                                                                                                                                guided seven other amusement
                                                                                                                                facilities from the drawing
                                                                                                                                board to ribbon cutting.
                                                                                                                                    Regarding Stars and Strikes,
                                                                                                                                Hanks says that while it is pri-
                                                                                                                                marily a bowling center, “the
                                                                                                                                last thing I want you to see
                                                                                                                                when entering is bowling.”
                                                                                                                                    Instead, what impresses up-
                                                                                                                                on those who enter is the design
                                                                                                                                of different attractions working
                                                                                                                                symbiotically to create a fun at-
                                                                                                                                mosphere and memorable place
                                                                                                                                — the benchmark of architec-
                                                                                                                                tural vision — with coin-op
                                                                                                                                amusement functioning as one
                  The full redemption counter is the Twilight Zone’s number one hot spot. The entrance to the bowling lanes
                  of the Cumming, Ga. Stars and Strikes may be seen in the background.
                                                                                                                                of the most successful support-
                  everything that was a success and do it              Hank has been involved in design and         ive elements and as its own draw. What
                  again for other independents while cus-          construction with Brunswick Bowling for          makes the design truly work, and what will
                  tomizing owner priorities.”                      39 years and has built well over 100 facil-      sustain its growth, are the many consider-
                                                                                                                    ate, thoughtful people who pulled together
                                                                                                                    their energies to forge a business that is

                  Page 122 • RePlay Magazine • September 2005
          truly the sum of its invaluable parts.
              “There’s a new market being carved
          out,” concludes Chris, “and it’s a wonder-
          ful combination of things. Those who are
          doing what we’re doing will be pleased
          and successful.”
              Swing by Stars and Strikes at 133
          Merchant Square when in Cumming, GA
          30040 from Sunday through Thursday,
          9AM till midnight, and on Friday and
          Saturday, 9AM till 2AM. Call 678/965-
          5707 or email
          Also take a peek at their cool website,

              For more information about
          Brunswick Bowling’s Build to Bowl pro-
          gram or to explore potential property de-
          velopment, see www.brunswick bowling.
          com/newcenter_home and
          quipment or contact Hank Harris directly
          at 847/687-2010.
              Finally, to contact Tricorps, call
          877/TRICORPS, and to reach David
          Capilouto, call Greater Southern
          Distributing at 770/803-3040.

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