Woodlawn Bowl Family Fun Center

Proprietor’s Dream, League Bowler’s Delight: EDGE String Delivers for Woodlawn Bowl


Opened in 1992, Woodlawn Bowl Family Fun Centre is the preeminent place of its kind in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Their mission is delivering exceptional, family-friendly fun in a clean, wholesome environment. Along with 24 lanes of ten-pin and eight lanes of five-pin bowling, Woodlawn offers a 7,000 square-foot arcade and redemption center complete with a high-end sports bar and grill. Bowling generates about 50% of their revenue and the center has about 400 certified sport league bowlers.

Woodlawn’s Challenges with Free-Fall Machines

For 25 years Woodlawn Bowl provided memorable family fun to the folks in Guelph, Ontario, Canada and surrounding areas. Until they didn’t. Eventually, poor reliability of their pinsetting machines made it hard to achieve their mission. Technicians couldn’t maintain them properly. Consequently, they were constantly breaking down, frustrating bowlers and, at times, causing entire lanes to be closed. “The tipping point was when I started seeing a lot of complaints on social media about the pinsetters and poor bowling experience,” says owner Bob McKay. “My rating had dropped to 3.4 out of 5 stars. I was extremely worried about losing customers.” Bob ascribes much of the reliability issues with his free-fall machines to the difficulty in finding technicians with the proper skill set. His free-fall machines demanded one full-time and five part-time technicians dedicated to maintaining them. “On top of that,” he notes, “I was spending a lot of money on parts and electricity, and also struggling with how to bring my old machines into compliance with today’s workplace safety expectations.” Bob first learned that string machines might be a good alternative when visiting QubicaAMF at Bowl Expo in 2017. By early 2018—at his wit’s end dealing with Woodlawn’s aging equipment, he began seriously investigating this alternative.

He needed to know:

  • Would sport league bowlers accept string pinspotters? Woodlawn stood to lose a significant portion of their business if not.
  • Are they truly robust, reliable and easy to maintain? Or would they ultimately put him in the same predicament he was now?
  • What do operational costs look like? How much less would the cost be compared to his current machines?

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