SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WSYM) — The COVID-19 pandemic has been brutal on businesses of all sizes, and entertainment venues like bowling alleys have been hit particularly hard.
But, some entrepreneurs have found an opportunity in the new reality we're all living through. One even developed a first-in-the-world concept to bring bowling right to your front door.
Terrence Jackson Jr. is the owner and CEO of Luxury Strike Bowling Alley, the world's first mobile bowling alley.
Jackson said when he was looking at lifestyle trends, it's all about convenience, and these days, that means mobile.
"You can't take home bowling to get an authentic bowling experience. So Luxury Strike was born," he said.
The trailer was built in March at the start of the pandemic. It includes two custom-built 24-foot lanes with automatic ball return, automatic pin-setters and digital scorekeeping.
Jackson has customized dozens of party buses and tool trucks, but he said this was a challenge.
The build, the leveling systems, the ball returners, things that you don't think about when you have a grand idea like this," Jackson said.
But, he solved those problems and Luxury Strike has been a hit from the start. He was booked for weeks in advance, then months, at a time when people are looking for fun but not looking for crowds.
"We actually specialize in small, intimate groups. And that's why people love it as far as the climate that we're in right now with the global pandemic. A lot of people don't want to go back out in the public," he said.
In addition to the bowling, there is a sky loft with luxury seating and a place to enjoy customer-provided beverages. There's a large theater-style screen so bowlers can have a custom experience.
Jackson took a huge gamble on the alley, selling his waterfront condos and pouring in his life's savings.
"It was quite a risk, but it was well worth it. Definitely," he said.
He's already constructing a Luxury Strike 2. It will be available this summer, and the first is getting upgrades to add more comfort. He said he may even start franchising and getting more investments.
The company is based in Southfield and they serve communities within a 30-mile radius.
There is a two-hour minimum for $500, or a day pass. There's even a sanitation team that comes out before, during and after events.