Local bowling alleys look for new sources of revenue during shutdown


Bowling Centers Open To Serve Food And Drinks

Andrew Hyman
Created: July 25, 2020 07:10 PM

ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) – From the outside, Rochester’s Radio Social looks just as it did when bowlers last left there before the place shut down due to the coronavirus. 

On the inside, however, it’s a different story. What was once a place once buzzing with bowlers now only has the buzz of the overhead lights, and perhaps some construction equipment.

Behind the scenes, changes are being made to the overall set-up, because while the place still can’t open its lanes, management decided its existing dining and drink menus would be their lucky strike for now.

Co-head Noah Morganstern says they are adjusting the space to fit both indoor and outdoor dining, which he says will not only boost business but also show off a different side of it. 


“I think a lot of people did not realize [we offered dining], and they’re going to be able to learn almost for the first time,” he says.

But what if dining can’t be the focus?

It’s the dilemma facing lane owners across the region, as some owners, including the folks at Sunset Lanes in Gates, believed they would be included in the first part of Phase Four reopening in New York State.

But even with a focus on mostly organized tournaments through the summertime, the lanes at Sunset are empty and General Manager Macey Secours says bowlers are begging to come back. 

“One minute we were bowling and the next minute we weren’t.”  Secours says. “[They are asking if] there [are] any updates, what do you know, etcetera?”

Across town, at ABC Bowl, brand-new owner Marcie Copey has yet to be allowed to let bowlers in since she took over in June. Despite the downtime, Copey is seeing the situation as a silver lining.

“It is empty space, but I’m going to get it to where we can provide a safe environment and a fun time for anybody that comes through the door,” she says.

This includes making some safety improvements. Both ABC and Sunset have added sanitary and safety protocols for everything from cleaning bowling balls down to physical distancing. There are even temperature checks.

Now, they’re just waiting on the when, and how they can reopen.

“I can rise to the challenge of somehow putting this all together and making it work and getting our bowlers back in here,” Secours says. “But I think the thing that’s most important to us is knowing with those guidelines are.”

Back at Radio Social, Morganstern says managers are adding features like cashless mobile ordering, while also separating its entry and exit doors. For the dining experience, the building’s 42,000 square foot space will be able to accommodate roughly 500 diners, and that’s in addition to a roughly 10,000 square foot outdoor patio. Once bowling is allowed back, there are a number of other changes on the table.

“We are looking forward to seeing everybody, we miss you all,” he says.

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