News Column

Entertainment center features new bowling lanes, laser tag, arcade

May 27, 2014

By Jeff Kiger, Post-Bulletin, Rochester, Minn.



May 27--Bowlocity, a newly updated family entertainment center in Rochester, is rolling along full steam after a "soft" re-opening during the holiday weekend.

Months of work by local Benike construction crews doubled the size of the former Recreation Lanes bowling alley on North Broadway. The longtime bowling alley has been closed for the past few weeks as construction wrapped up.

In addition to bowling lanes, Bowlocity includes a two-story laser tag center and a large arcade area.

The doors are open to show off The Suites, eight additional bowling lanes with a large party room and satellite bar with eight taps. Adding those lanes to the original 16 built in 1963 brings the total to 24 available bowling lanes.

The Suites offers upscale features that cater to large groups and parties as well typical bowlers. It has spinning "self-serve" shoe rental racks for bowlers using those lanes. The balls have a distinctive "pool-ball-look," which means an 8-pound ball is black with a white 8 on it.

"Brunswick just recently started making these. Not too many alleys have them yet," said Bowlocity Manager Erin Glorvigen. He manages the family business with his father, Gene Glorvigen, who owns it.

Another novelty in The Suites are the lanes, which are colored blue instead of sporting the more traditional pinewood look.

The new area can operate in tandem with the original lanes, or The Suites can be closed off from the rest of the building with a new garage-style-door.

"The new tables, chairs, bar and everything gives people lots of options," Erin Glorvigen said.

All of the changes are about expanding the appeal of the bowling alley. While the elder Glorvigen said that planning for the expansion started in 2010, the announcement of the Destination Medical Center initiative sped up the process.

To staff the expanded complex, the Glorvigens have doubled their employees to about 50.

Between The Suites and the original lanes stands the new Cyber Quest laser tag arena and the new ultra-modern arcade.

Cyber Quest features an outer space theme with a maze of walls and doors on two levels. Neon and black lights add to the atmosphere as does a fog machine. A total of 18 competitors using "phasers" that shoot green lights can play at one time. Usual rounds are about 10 minutes long. A scoreboard in the main arcade area shows a running tally of how each competitor is faring.

The arcade features 45 arcade games, including ones familiar to mobile gamers, such as Plants vs. Zombies and Temple Run. Players can earn points to trade in for prizes. However, there are no tokens or tickets. Players buy a credit card-like card that tracks the points.Cards can be registered to be re-loaded and used during return visits.

The Glorvigens have updated the original 16-lane area with new tables, chairs, carpet and brighter colors on the walls.

"If you came in here before, seeing this is when the "Wizard of Oz" movie goes from black and white to color," Gene Glorvigen said.

Most of the changes are about modernizing the center, but one new feature is designed to show off the bowling alley's past. A window has been put in for guests to peer behind-the-scenes and watch the complex pinsetter machines from 1963 in action.

"We thought people might like to see that," Erin Glorvigen said.

While much has changed -- the name, the building, the games -- Glen Glorvigen says the core of the business has not changed from what it was when it first started 50 years ago.

"I've always said we serve fun, and we're still doing that," he said. "How great is that?"

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(c)2014 the Post-Bulletin

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Source: Post-Bulletin (Rochester, MN)


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