Another Friday fun-day at bowling alley this week

Joe Mellenbruch Journal Reporter
Pro bowler Bob Markiewicz poses with some fans at the Royal Lanes Bowling Alley in Devils Lake.

Last Friday was the busiest night Royal Lanes has had in a long time.

In fact the bowl hadn't been that full for months.

“It was a Christmas party in January,” said Mike Heilman, the center's manager and a 34-year employee with the facility. “Every lane was full. But we'd like to see business like that every night.”

If increasing business is the aim for this center, which has been a staple in Devils Lake for a number of years, then promotions like the one they held last Friday seem to be a step in the right direction.

Over 100 bowlers showed up for “Freaky Friday” on Aug. 16 with a waiting list, something that doesn't happen at Royal Lanes quite as as often as it once did.

But with days like they had on Saturday, there is hope that the business can be turned in the right direction once again.

And Heilman is confident.

“Oh I think so,” he said when asked about the center's chances of improvement. “Jim (Mellon) will actually be up here this afternoon, and we'll be talking about things like that a little bit more.”

Jim Mellon is the owner of the bowl, and he will be in town today to discuss the facility's financial future, which bodes well for business. If the center is to survive, it will certainly take a careful, personal effort from him to make it happen.

Another man's input has also had a positive impact on the bowl, and that man is Bob Markiewicz, a touring PBA professional bowler who served as an advisor to Heilman regarding last Friday's promotional day.

Markiewicz is a lifelong bowler, and his passion for the sport is evident as soon as you talk to him.

Heilman for one is grateful for his input over the past few days.

“It's been informative,” Heilman said. “He's aggressive, and that's a good thing for this place. He's been really helpful, and things have turned out well.”

Markiewicz will be in town yet again this weekend to offer further guidance and assistance to the center.

So now, since the bowl saw such an impressive turnout last Friday, Heilman and the Royal Lanes management team will be doing it all over again this Friday: same deals, same time.

But this time around, Heilman and his advisors are rethinking the promotion's name. Rather than “Freaky Friday,” Heilman and Markiewicz believe that “Family Friday” would be a more appropriate name considering how many family groups were in attendance last week.

Of total number of bowlers who participated, an estimated two-thirds of them were families, many of which seem interested in getting their children involved in youth bowling leagues.

That bodes well for Royal Lanes, a center which seems interested in revamping the town's junior-bowling scene.

“A lot of the business we got were families, and those parents were thinking about getting their kids involved in youth leagues,” Heilman reported. “That's good for us.”

So, all are welcome to Royal Lanes again this Friday for another full day of bowling, camaraderie and fun.

As previously mentioned, the same deals with apply this Friday as they did last week: $1 games, $1 slices of pizza and $1 draft beers from noon to 9 p.m. Then, from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., the lights will be turned down for moonlight bowling, and $15 dollars will be charged for unlimited bowling inside those three hours.

Heilman is hoping for yet another strong turnout.