Saturday, August 27, 2016

New Bowling Concept Bowlero Rolling into Georgia, Hopes to Open Before Turkey Day

Existing facility to be renovated and updated.

Brunswick Zone XL Kennesaw Lanes, aka U.S. Play, will soon be rebranded as metro Atlanta's first Bowlero location.  Bowlero, like Brunswick Zone, is owned by Bowlmor AMF,  the largest owner and operator of bowling venues in the world.  

Bowlmor AMF was formed in the summer of 2013 following the merger of AMF and Bowlmor. AMF had previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 2012.  

Brunswick, previously an independent bowling operator, was purchased by Bowlmor AMF in 2014.  

The Brunswick Zone in Kennesaw is located on Cobb Place Boulevard near Ernest Barrett Parkway and I-75.  An employee at Brunswick indicated that renovations began at the center last year and that they should wrap up shortly before Thanksgiving.  The enhancements will reportedly give the facility more of a "garage" look.  Food options will reportedly include a five pound hamburger and a two foot long hot dog.

This past June, Bowlmor AMF rebranded their AMF Peach Lanes in Columbus under the Bowlero brand.  Whereas the Kennesaw location already has laser tag, laser tag was added to the Columbus location.  As of now, the Columbus and Kennesaw locations are the only facilities to adopt the Bowlero branding.
Inside Bowlero Columbus 
The bowling business has changed drastically over the past decade or so with operators scrambling to add additional attractions to keep guests coming back.  

Arcades and bars, standbys of the bowling alley of yesteryear, have been upgraded and augmented to provide more entertainment for guests and more revenue for operators. 

AMF previously rebranded its AMF Bowling center on Savoy Drive in Chamblee to the short-lived 300 Atlanta brand.  Today, the facility operates as Bowlmor Atlanta.  

In 2013 Brunswick Zone locations in Marietta on Delk Road and in Roswell on Spalding Drive were rebranded under the Brunswick's moniker.  Brunswick's, like Bowlmor and Bowlero, offer a more upscale bowling experience.  

A Bowlmor employee with whom I spoke indicated that Bowlmor is seen as the most premium of bowling options, targeting adult business, with Bowlero and Brunswick's just behind it, appealing to families and millennials

While Bowlmor AMF is the industry leader, other companies, as well as some local operators, have entered the fray.  

Justin Amick and William Stallworth opened The Painted Pin on Miami Circle in Buckhead in 2014.  The upscale facility not only features bowling, but also bocce ball, darts, ping pong, skee-ball, shuffleboard, other games and a full bar & restaurant menu.  

Amick & Stallworth plan to introduce duckpin bowling to metro Atlanta next year when they open The Painted Duck on Atlanta's Westside. Duckpin bowling is similar to standard ten-pin bowling, but features shorter and lighter pins, making play more difficult.  Given the increased challege, players are given three rather than two, rolls per play.    Slated to open in the spring of next year, The Painted Duck will offer duckpin bowling as well as private karaoke rooms, Belgian feather bowling, indoor deck shuffleboard and also a menu featuring "backyard barfare" and a full bar.  The Painted Duck will be located at Stockyards Atlanta, at the corner of 10th Street & Brady Avenue.

Next year, Kings Bowl, an upscale, retro-inspired bowling and entertainment destination, will open at The Battery Atlanta, the mixed-use component of the SunTrust Park in Cobb county.  Started in 2002 and based in Boston, Kings Bowl has nine locations open with a total of three in the pipeline, including the Atlanta area facility. 

Main Event, a Dallas, Texas-based bowling and entertainment business, is expanding its metro Atlanta presence. In addition to bowling, Main Event locations feature laser tag, billiards, arcade games, gravity (high wire), karaoke, mini golf and rock climbing. Main Event locations are already open in the Cumberland and North Point Mall areas with a third location coming to Suwanee later this fall. Like Bowlero and Brunswick's, Main Event is heavily family focused.  According to its website,  "Main Event Entertainment is the fastest - growing bowling - anchored entertainment center in America."  

Apparently undeserving of a rebrand or renovation, AMF Snellville Lanes, on Ronald Reagan Parkway near Scenic Highway, closed earlier this year.  The facility, which had been in business since 1988, is being redeveloped into a "mini-warehouse storage facility."  

Have you been to Bowlero in Columbus or elsewhere?  If so, what were your thoughts?  What is your favorite place for bowling in metro Atlanta?  Do you prefer the more "boutique" type operators like The Painted Pin, or the more standard bowling experiences like traditional AMF?

Please share your thoughts below.   

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bowling has LONG been a favorite, however having moved out of New England, I really miss the opportunity for Candlepin Bowling!!

BRING IT ON!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The Brunswick's on Spalding Drive is in Peachtree Corners and it gets surprisingly crowded even on weekdays. they seem to do a lot of corporate team building type events to keep things going during the week. On a random Presidents Day type holiday when schools are closed, there will be a wait for lanes by about 1 pm.

Brionna Richards said...

Went to Bowlmor on Savoy on a Saturday last month and it was empty and boring. I remember when it was called 300 Lanes and it was always pack! On a Friday night after 9pm, you had to be 21+ and they had a live DJ that had the bowling alley feeling as if you were in a nightclub!

With Main Event, D&B, Stars&Strikes and soon to open Round 1 Entertainment in my area offering more than bowling, a lot of the traditional bowling alleys aren't what they used to be!

Anonymous said...

I think the Snellville AMF originally opened as a Fair Lanes which AMF bought in the mid 90's. Maybe its floor plan didn't allow for easy adaptivity to add laser tag or something. It was set back from the road aways and didn't have the best visibility/

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that Snellville, RR Parkway, and Scenic are all dying a slow death withering into a ghetto abyss.

Anonymous said...

Brunswick Zone on Hwy 29 in Lilburn has always been a better choice than the AMF in Snellville. Its closing comes as no surprise but do they really need a self storage facility in Snellville? Self storage would probably do better on US 78 in the once again vacant old Walmart building. They can build all they want to on Scenic Hwy in Snellville but that will not draw in quality people to shop and spend good money, those people don't want the frustration of dealing with the mass quantities that will Snellville is attracting. Nothing higher income is coming to Snellville even the new Fresh Market grocer looks to be struggling. Far from being a ghetto abyss but its probably destined to be lower income. Keeping apartments out is the only way to keep the property values and taxes up for awhile. Developers only think short term with getting a property sold and developed and getting out, never the long term and the blight that will eventually come to a place like south Gwinnett county. Stonecrest Mall is dying so those people are coming to Snellville to shop and dine?

amyers said...

Bowlero in Columbus is much better than AMF Peach Bowl was in it's day, but it's still a bowling alley. It's not as premium as the other Bowlero that AMF has (Texas, California, etc.) - they painted, added laser tag, increased the size of the arcade and installed new seating.

My thought has always been that this was the EXACT time that Stars & Strikes was expanding to Columbus and the buzz was overwhelming. They felt like they had to do something fast as I'm sure they've felt the hurt with the many, many Atlanta locations. Best of luck to Bowlero, I hope they'll stay in business. Columbus is big enough for the two of them.