Dave Johnson knew he and Julie Rich were doing something right as new owners of the local bowling alley when they realized Shakopee Bowl, formerly Louisville Lanes, needs more seating.
Johnson and Rich purchased the bowling alley and adjoining bar just two months ago, and they’re already seeing a sizable increase in patronage and general interest.
“We actually need to buy more chairs,” Johnson said. “Nobody would have ever thought that two months ago. Everyone would have thought it was crazy that we might have to buy more chairs.”
Though Johnson and Rich have plenty of work in their future, Johnson said he feels the new atmosphere coming together in the bar and alley. Parts of the bar have already been remodeled, including the addition of new bar tables, 11 50-inch TVs and a 110-inch projector TV, a pool table, video games, dart boards, and an all-new pull tab area.
“We have two basketball games, a beer pong game, two dart boards, we’ll have a brand new pool table in here, Buck Hunter, Pacman, a pinball machine. Coming soon will be a giant football interactive game,” Johnson said.
The live music Thursday through Saturday nights has been a hit with patrons, too. More than 100 chairs in the bar were filled recently for a weekend show, and Johnson hopes that trend continues.
“The big thing is our live music. It’s going to be something that brings this place back to life — to be able to come here on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday night and bring your coworkers, bring your friends, bring your sports teams,” Johnson said. “You can sit down, have a meal, have a drink, listen to live music.”
The number of folks showing up to eat and hang out sans bowling has drastically increased, Johnson said. The bowling alley is what the business has always been known for, but Johnson and Rich also want Shakopee Bowl to be a place people bring their families for dinner or to meet with friends to play pool and have a drink.
For Halloween and Thanksgiving, Johnson promoted family-friendly karaoke nights so parents with young kids could have options for getting out and about on holidays. Three new games have been added to the kids’ arcade, too.
“This is a community, and we have a lot of families. People can bring their families here and have dinner and the kids can play games and sing karaoke,” Johnson said. “Julie is working hard right now on the new menu. Every day we’re improving the menu. People are starting to come here for just dinner, which never happened before.”
Of course, there’s always the option of enjoying dinner followed by cosmic bowling, which starts at 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday. Scheduling open bowling times can be tricky because of league bowling, Johnson said, but he tries to keep the Shakopee Bowl Facebook page updated with open bowling hours, prices and specials.
“Using social media and Facebook has been a big thing for us,” he said. “This has become a venue that people can come not just to bowl but for other things. It’s been awesome.”