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  • String pinsetters.

    Hello. I was wondering if there was anyone out there that had a bowling alley with string pin spotters? We are considering switching over our old equipment for the new string pinsetters. I would love to hear what people have to say about it, good and bad. Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Great question, but in order to give you targeted advice, people need more information about your facility, like;
    1. How many houses are currently open in the general Boise, ID area (competition);
    2. Market you're targeting (recreation/open bowling or league);
    3. How many alleys does the establishment currently have;
    4. Change all of them or just a number of them;
    5. and other questions.
    The only things I can answer with any certainly is what I've discovered from others who have discussed it in other forums is that;
    1. They are generally cheaper to operate (less parts) and;
    2. Depending on your configuration, for the most part, you'll be saying 'good-bye' to leagues.
    Looking at the scant information I looked up about Boise, it's a city of around a quarter of a million people. I looked up bowling alleys in that area and I could only find about three (~16 alleys), but it was a very basic search.

    One thing to consider would be to just replace some of the machines with strings, but that presents its own issues in that you have to have dual parts and you really need to have a separate place for strings (to give it its own atmosphere), again, depending on your size, that might not be possible.

    Is replacing the machines being considered because it's cheaper or is the establishment trying to market to the recreational crowd? All things that need to be considered...

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    • #3
      Thanks Mr Brunswick,
      We have 14 lanes and want to cater to the recreational crowds. No leagues, no tournaments. A nice restaurant with something to do is our model. The reason that we’re considering the strings is because of less maintenance. Machines we have now are very old and operate on a old Windows program that’s not available any longer.
      we are working with the AMF rep but just wanted to know exactly what you said, they are easier to maintain. Thank you for your input I do appreciate it. Have a nice day

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      • #4
        We have a few centers that have the string pinsetters in them. They are by no means maintenance free but your server or front desk person can fix most tangles and pinsetter stops.Ours are a brand called Switch. Basically it's an old version of a brunswick string machine. You will still need a mechanic no matter which way you decide to go because there are general lane maintenance procedures that need to be kept up on. We are an open play center only. These lanes you can still score on though. recently we had a 300 shot. whatever you decide good luck with it.
        If its still broken, guess it wasnt in the parts budget.

        Z

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jidy Wise View Post
          We have 14 lanes and want to cater to the recreational crowds. No leagues, no tournaments. A nice restaurant with something to do is our model.
          I probably wouldn't consider putting 14 of them in (unless your marketing research says that there's enough of a market) unless you're trying to cater to the 'family atmosphere' and think that there's enough business to compete with either a Chuck E. Cheese®/Dave & Buster's-type place - of which my research says there is one of each in Boise already (as an aside, I didn't know what a 'Dave & Busters' was until I asked Mr. Wilson about it - I don't get out much [and the nearest one from me is in Green Bay {Ashwaubenon}, WI -- about three hours away]).

          This brings me to another point, what will your establishment have that those two are lacking? CEC caters to families and D&B caters to the adult crowd, what will you do to compete with them? Not trying to deflate your balloons (unless it's to suck the helium out so I can make my wife laugh), but those two 900 pound gorillas have marketing strength that they can access from their other franchises that you don't have readily available (not saying you can't do it, one look at how big K-Mart/Sears/Montgomery Ward used to be proves that), so get some really good advice...

          Probably put less strings in and expand your food service footprint.

          Originally posted by jidy Wise View Post
          The reason that we’re considering the strings is because of less maintenance. Machines we have now are very old and operate on a old Windows program that’s not available any longer.
          Like was said by zbowl, they're not 'maintenance free' - by no means! - but as he also stated, most problems can be handled by general staff, they must still be PM'ed or they will go downhill faster than Vinko Bogata...

          You say your machines are 'very old' - that's usually code for 'these puppies have been poorly maintained'...that's sad . There are both Brunswick (Model 'A') and AMF machines (8230) that are still running well after sixty+ years. They are like anything mechanical, they need 'love'...

          'Windows program' confuses me, that sounds more like an auto-scoring issue and less of a 'pinsetter' issue (based on your 'old' comment). I've posted my opinion on the problems with auto-scoring here before, it's one that bowling establishments need to deal with after they bought the 'pet' - it needs feeding, diapering, carpet cleaner, etc...

          Originally posted by jidy Wise View Post
          we are working with the AMF rep but just wanted to know exactly what you said, they are easier to maintain.
          I assume with this comment that you currently have AMF's? Nothing against AMF, but I would look at the other manufacturers, this isn't like you're trying to find parts for what you currently have, you have a 'clean slate' - something akin to having one make of automobile and going to another make, you don't have to stay with the old one if you're going in a 'different direction'.

          I'd go find others who have strings ... talk and visit them! Might have to do some 'overnighters', but you learn a lot more when you visit than just talking to them on the horn.

          Expensive? Sure is...more expensive if you fail and have to face creditors...

          Want you to success...but as sadly happens in life, looking for 'Mr./Miss Right' doesn't mean 'Mr./Miss Right NOW!!!'...

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with Mr.B. Don't tie yourself into just one manufacturer. Do your homework then do some more. you may find you can save yourself 10's of thousands with a different manufacturer.
            If its still broken, guess it wasnt in the parts budget.

            Z

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            • #7
              Thanks to every who has posted. This gives me a lot to chew on. Very helpful.

              Comment


              • #8
                No leagues, no tournaments, catering to open and recreational play like you said.

                If you put new pinsetters in, do yourself a favor and make sure it's string. There is no reason for free fall in a lot of situations, especially this sort of scenario.

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                • #9
                  Thank you for your comments. Greatly appreciated.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I had a meeting with one of the head management of Qubic (Gary Nagg). . He says that string pin bowling will be used with all leagues and tournaments by the end of the year. They have been testing it with USBC and after they make one change, USBC says they will pass it to be used for sanctioned leagues and tournaments. I don't want to go to string pin unless I add on a room for birthday parties only.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks

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