This Friday, Hay River’s bowling alley will be open to the public, after a much awaited facelift.
The centre received close to $150,000 worth of upgrades this summer which have brought the alley into the next decade.
“If you don’t continuously update your bowling system you will get left behind,” said owner Brian Lefebvre.
Upgrades included a new touch-screen computer system for the lanes, televisions suspended from the ceiling for satellite, movie or computer display and new “prolane” alleys which can last up to 25 years without maintenance.
“Brunswick was the company who did the renovations,” said Lefebvre. “They are 25 year maintenance free lanes. They won’t dent or crack. For bowlers, that is awesome.”
He explained that when boards crack or bend, the ball can be projected quickly and easily towards the gutter, making the bowling experience less enjoyable, especially for those who bowl competitively.
“It can really work those guys up,” he said. “We won’t have to worry about that now.”
According to Lefebvre, approximately 10 bowling centres are lost each year nationally due to high lease costs.
“You need a lot of space so it costs a lot,” he said.
And when all the money goes towards paying for the space, that leaves less for upgrades to keep customers coming.
“If you don’t upgrade every seven or so years, your customers decline and then you can’t stay open,” he said. “We are very fortunate…We have an arrangement with the mall owner to stay open. We have kind of a shared vision for the centre.”
The bowling alley will be resuming league play this Friday, and will be running until April.