The area’s bowling industry is holding its own through these bleak economic times, according to managers at the AMF Bowling Centers in and .
“Here, it’s very good. The leagues are very strong, but open traffic is very good too,” said Phil, general manager at AMF Commack Lanes on Jericho Turnpike. He asked that his full name not be used due to company media policy.
Business is up from last year, in part due to an increase in fundraisers, Phil said. The events are a popular way to raise money among school groups and disease awareness organizations, who get a special price.
“It’s become a great avenue for both us and them,” said Phil. He called them a good way to stay busy on warm days when people are less likely to search for indoor recreation.
Ken, manager at Smithtown Lanes on Landing Avenue, called business there very weather-dependent.
“When it rains, this place is packed,” he said.
Smithtown Lanes has seen some dip in bowlers in the weak economy, said Ken. He said leagues are carrying his location, which he noted is not along a thoroughfare as Commack Lanes is.
The Commack location has a bit more to offer than Smithtown, with four more lanes, a bigger bar and a full-service kitchen to compare to Smithtown’s snack bar.
In Commack, Phil is trying a few new things. This year he plans to introduce a “lunch and bowl with Santa Claus,” and he’ll be continuing a family New Year’s celebration bowling special that has generated a crowd of between 50 and 80 people in recent years, he said. From midnight to 3 a.m. he offers bowling, pizza and drinks for $17 per person.
Phil also puts to use the artistic talent of his cook, Bobby Meserole. Meserole teaches a step-by-step instructional art class for children every other Wednesday that usually attracts around a dozen kids. His paintings include landscapes, still-lifes and holiday scenes.
“The kids who come really love it,” Meserole said.