First new bowling alley on island in 50 years to open
Tia Trotter always enjoyed bowling with friends and family at the Maui Bowling Center in Wailuku and the old Aloha Lanes on Kaahumanu Avenue.
She never imagined, though, that she would be opening the first bowling alley in more than 50 years on the island Thursday in the former Hard Rock Cafe at the Outlets of Maui on Front Street.
“We heard that people wanted a bowling alley and bowling is fun, so we gave it a shot,” Trotter said Tuesday. “We got creative and went for it.”
Island Bowling features three adult lanes as well as a keiki lane for children 5 to 12 years old. Admission into the bowling center is $5 (children under 4 years old enter free), while each 10-frame game costs $10 for bowlers 12 years and older and $5 for those 5 to 11 years old.
Bowling party packages start at $500.
Players are advised to call 298-0709 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve lanes ahead of time, but walk-ins are accepted. Bowling shoes are not needed to bowl.
The bowling center will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
While Island Bowling provides a new venue, it is not your typical bowling alley, Trotter said. The lanes are portable, and there are no automatic pinsetters; bowling attendants must reset the pins after each throw.
“It’s old school,” she joked. “We’re bringing it back.”
Despite the lack of mechanized pinsetters, the new bowling alley is nearly sold out opening weekend with more than 50 bookings, Trotter said.
“We know people are craving for bowling, and we know it’s not the official regulated bowling that we all hoped for, but it’s still something fun for the family and kids,” she said. “We think bowling lovers are going to love it as well.”
The 7,000-square-foot building also will include a video game area with three monitors, game consoles and an assortment of games.
It’s a family affair with members of Trotter’s family-run business, Mauiness, putting the finishing touches on the converted restaurant. This includes her young son.
“He’s 3 and he thinks he owns the place,” she said. “He’s setting pins, and they may see him running around. He’s part of the crew.”
The last bowling alley to open on Maui was Aloha Lanes at the corner of Kaahumanu Avenue and Lunalilo Street in the early 1960s, according to The Maui News. The 20-lane facility that cost about $317,000 to build eventually closed in the mid-2000s, leaving the 70-year-old Maui Bowling Center as the isle’s only bowling alley. Aloha Lanes was converted into Central Maui Self Storage.
Several years ago, the future of the island’s only bowling alley also appeared to be in jeopardy after the owners put it up for sale. Kevin Tanaka, an avid bowler, bought it and began minor repairs to the building in 2015.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Tanaka said Tuesday. “The December rains hit the alley hard. We had to put down some additional roofing material, and it helped tremendously, but we still have issues.”
Volunteers have helped repair and maintain the building, which originally opened as a furniture store in 1946 before being converted to a bowling alley two years later. Tanaka hopes to install a better air conditioning unit in the near future.
“One hundred percent of the work we’ve been doing is all volunteers, so thank God for them,” he said.
Although refurbishing the 10-lane bowling alley is progressing, it has a limited schedule. The bowling alley only is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Thursdays to the general public, Tanaka said.
“Basically, they open in the morning and shut down in the afternoon because every night there is a league, and then it gets really busy during the high school season,” he said.
Tanaka said the bowling alley occasionally has booked parties, which have to be arranged with the manager.
When asked if the alley might expand its hours in the future, he replied: “Anything is possible.”
“I think it’s great,” he said of the new bowling alley. “Whether it’s family-oriented or (serious), bottom-line it’s a good thing for bowling.”
Trotter said the old bowling alleys were the “hangout spot” for kids when she was growing up, and she hopes to bring that same feel to the Lahaina bowling alley. There could be creative events in the future as well, such as a cosmic bowl with glow-in-the-dark lanes and pins.
Island Bowling has a short-term lease with the Outlets of Maui that ends in June with a possible extension to August, Trotter said. She is hopeful the bowling center will have sustained success and a larger space in the future.
“We’re only there temporarily,” she said. “We’re definitely keeping our eye open for bigger spaces.”
Source: Maui News