ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Holiday Bowl has finished the first phase of an overhaul intended to turn the 60-year-old business into what the owners are calling a 30,000-square-foot “entertainment destination.”
The venue on Lomas just east of Louisiana now has 26 bowling lanes, including a six-lane private “boutique” bowling area, a full-service restaurant with a full bar that seats 100, a large outdoor patio and more than 50 video and prize games. The lanes have been outfitted with scoring systems, high definition TVs and some have large projection screens.
Live entertainment will be part of the mix, as well.
Gary Skidmore, a former professional bowler who owns Holiday Bowl with his wife, Eva, said the $4.9 million investment to overhaul the building and the business model was borne of demographic and economic realities. Bowling simply isn’t as popular as it once was. More than 9 million people in the U.S. used to participate in league bowling; that’s now down to 1.4 million, Skidmore said.
Meanwhile, Albuquerque has been attracting large national entertainment venues, like Main Event, and a host of smaller ones.
“We needed to look at alternative income sources,” he said. And that meant attracting a younger crowd.
The restaurant and gaming area have been up and running for less than a week, but Skidmore said revenue was already up about 10 percent. He hopes that will only get better once word gets out about the changes.
The next phase of the overhaul will include renovating the entrance area and exterior.
Skidmore said the goal is to put the business on solid footing for the next 15 years or so and eventually hand things off to his son, Aaron Bacoccini, who is now the general manager.
“I tell him he’s my retirement program, so we better not screw this up,” Skidmore said.