Wednesday August 28, 2002

Lighthouse Lanes Expected to be Complete by January

For the past three and a half years, Bob Hoefer and Nick Sereno have been waiting for this occasion?the groundbreaking ceremony for the Lighthouse Lanes.
By Dola L. Deloff

    For the past three and a half years, Bob Hoefer and Nick Sereno have been waiting for this occasion?the groundbreaking ceremony for the Lighthouse Lanes.

    City officials joined Hoefer and Sereno recently breaking the ground for the bowling center on the city?s eastside. Construction is slated to begin immediately and is expected to be completed by the end of January

    The two men, both members of the local Bowling Hall of Fame, began planning the new facility when the Pinarama, now the site of Staples on state Route 104 East in the city, was demolished in 1999, according to Sereno.

    Referring to the journey to the ceremony as the ?ultimate test of patience and perseverance,? Sereno said the project took so long coming because of lengthy loan procedures.

    The $3.2 million in grants and loans needed for the center came from a variety of sources: Cayuga Bank; Oswego County Savings Bank (OCSB); Operation Oswego County and the Industrial Development Agency; the Small Business Association; the US Department of Agriculture and other entities.

    The center will be situated west of Jim Shampine Drive directly behind the McDonald?s Restaurant on 104 East. Seventy-five parking spaces will be on both the north and south ends of the building with the entrance facing the Drive, which experienced a groundbreaking of its own the same day as the bowling center. Jim Shampine Drive, an access road of sorts to the Oswego Speedway, will be designated as a city street after improvements.

    The site originally chosen for the center, the former Flexo-Wire plant, was rejected after concerns of contamination surfaced. Lighthouse Lanes will contain 24 lanes, and there will be room for future expansion, Sereno said. It will employ nearly 20 people, full and part-time.

    ?Bowling has a rich tradition in Oswego,? Sereno said. ?We wanted to bring the fun back.?

    A form of entertainment for the entire family, according to the co-owner, bowling is making a come back. ?The sport was league oriented in the 70s and 80s,? Sereno said, ?with 75% of the business generated by leagues and the other 25% by open bowling.?

    The popularity of league bowling declined and then hit a plateau, Sereno said. ?Most bowling centers are now 50% league, 50% open bowling,? he added.

    Sereno credits the increase in open bowling?s popularity to Brunswick, a leading manufacturer of bowling products. ?They found a way to turn a bowling alley into a nightclub,? Sereno said. The result was cosmic bowling, an event which features black lights, day-glow bowling balls, and popular music. Many bowling centers hold cosmic bowling on weekends, and at most centers participants pay one fee and can bowl as many games as they wish for a specified length of time, often five or more hours.

    ?We?re going to have cosmic bowling,? Sereno said, ?and offer many other bowling opportunities.?

    Along with leagues and open bowling, Lighthouse Lanes will host birthday parties. What will set this facility apart from others is that after the party-goers, most of the time children, bowl, they will gather in an all-purpose room, situated near a video arcade, for pizza, soda, ice cream, and cake. ?This way other bowlers won?t be distracted by the children having fun being children,? Sereno said.

    The equipment of Lighthouse Lanes will be state-of-the-art, with Brunswick providing everything from the pinsetters to the tables and chairs. The relationship is not a franchise, Sereno said. ?We run the business the way we see fit,? he said. ?We can be as creative as we wish.?

    The computerized scoring consoles can be programmed for simultaneous child and adult bowling. When it is the child?s turn to bowl, for example, bumpers can automatically deploy in the gutters. When the adult bowls, the bumpers disappear. ?Individuals program the game the way they wish,? Sereno said.

    The center will also contain a pro shop, sports bar, and snack bar.

    Expected to be completed by the end of January, Lighthouse Lanes will host a 10-week league season initially and then a full slate of leagues in October 2003, according to Sereno.

Oswego County Business Magazine
Issue 161

Issue 161
April/May 2019

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Kristin Bullard

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