Brad Angelo has traveled the PBA circuit back and forth across the country and competed overseas in his career as a pro and member of Team USA. Now he’s finding owning and managing a bowling facility is a hectic experience.
“It’s been a complete whirlwind,” the Lockport pro said this week at the former South Transit Lanes, which he and his wife, Michelle, are now operating.
Last Monday was a good example. When the Angelos arrived to open the doors at 2 p.m., Zach Wilkins, a young would-be pro from Barrie, Ont., whom Brad is mentoring, was waiting with his parents to tour the facility. Another couple was there to plan a benefit fundraiser for a breast cancer victim and the phone was ringing with an inquiry about a birthday party. Within the hour, members of the Lockport High teams began arriving for practice. In the midst of all that was a doctors visit for the oldest of the couple’s three children, Dylan, 11.
Angelo closed on the sale of the lanes on Aug. 15. After a hurried cleanup and a sign change, the place had to beopen for business on Aug. 31 and the start of the league bowling season. The facility has picked up almost 200 league bowlers since the changeover.
South Transit had suffered a little from absentee ownership in recent years despite a loyal and capable staff and so many in Lockport were happy to see the facility end up in Angelo’s hands.
The 24-lane facility is certainly not among the largest in the area, but Angelo saw a lot he liked.
“It’s a nice quaint little place with personality,” Angelo said. “It’s a nice place in Lockport to go hang out and there’s not a whole lot of places in Lockport to do that.”
The Angelos try to make it a point that one or the other is on hand each day to tend to business and greet customers. Brad, himself, bowls in two leagues. Michelle, who has a background in managing and owning small businesses, plays a key back office role and oversees the food service, contributing her own ideas to the revised menu.
Rich Maloney of Niagara Falls will operate the pro shop at the lanes.
Brad made mental notes as he visited bowling facilities throughout his career and he got a lot of encouragement from proprietors and fellow pros that he could be successful at the venture, given his reputation and his friendly personality.
PBA Tour pro Doug Kent, who operates a lanes in Newark, N.Y. was an especially helpful advisor, Brad says.
Angelo’s business philosophy is “a lot of just common sense,” he says. “Treat people right, Keep the place clean and provide good service at a modest price.”
As prepared as he tried to be, Angelo says it all has been “a bit overwhelming. I could never have been prepared for all the things I didn’t know.”
In addition to running the lanes, Angelo will continue to compete on the PBA Tour and offer his Brad Angelo Bowling Camps/Bowling University sessions. Just recently he gave clinics in Evansville, Anderson and Merrillville to Indiana high school bowling coaches.
Sunday, Dec. 23 will be a special holiday celebration at the lanes. It will be a birthday party, Christmas party and victory celebration all in one. It’s Brad’s 43rd birthday and the first time his victory in last month’s Viper Championship in the PBA World Series of Bowling Viper will be shown on ESPN. The tournament was bowled in Las Vegas, Nev., in November and taped for later showing.
Angelo’s victory in the Viper was a dramatic one. Mike Koivuniemi had a chance to close out Angelo with a strike and spare in the 10th frame. Mike stuck, then left the 3-pin and attempted the 3-6-9-10 spare which would have given him a 236 total. He ended up with 233.
Angelo stepped up and doubled in the 10th then left the 4-7 on his last ball to win the match and his second Tour title and the $20,000 winners’ share, 234-233.
Familiar lanes, new names
It’s 11th Frame now.
South Transit wasn’t the only area house to change ownership or names entering the season.
Town Edge Lanes on Clinton Street, is now known simply as The Edge as those who follow the daily scores in The Buffalo News probably have noticed.
Victoria Lanes has a new name and new ownership. The 11th Frame, as the place is now called, was purchased by Rob Case Jr., who had worked in other enterprises for former owner Jim Clinton.
Besides the name change, there has been some remodeling and modernization at the 16-lane facility on Main Street in East Aurora and consideration is being given to keeping the house open in summer months. In full disclosure, this columnist’s son is an employee at 11th Frame.
• Mount Olive’s Kids Against Cancer will hold a Lisa’s Lanes for Loves at Brad Angelo Lanes on Saturday, Dec. 16 from 1-4 p.m. The event will have three hours of bowling for 48 sponsored kids. There will be music, food, a Chinese auction and a raffle. Proceeds will go to Lisa Biermann and her family for their fight against breast cancer.
• Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga will bowl against Kelly Kulick in the first match of the women’s finals of the GEICO PBA World series of Bowling IV at 1 p.m. on ESPN on Sunday. The winner will take on Missy Parkin of Lake Forest, Calif., in the championship match.
• The broadcast of the men’s and women’s World Series finals opens the 2012-13 season on television. The matches were bowled last month at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
The men’s opening match will pit Mike Fagan of Dallas against Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas. The winner will battle Koivuniemi in the final.