A Conversation with David Bardon
Bardon Bowling Centers
JB’s Entertainment Center, Howards Grove
Odyssey Fun Center, Sheboygan Falls
JB’s on 41, Milwaukee
Super Bowl, Appleton
Please give a bit of history of how you started in the bowling industry, the first bowling center you worked at and/or a bit of history of your bowling centers.
Actually got my start in 1975 when my dad built Anchor Lanes in Elkhart Lake. I was in college and pursued other business interests but that planted the bug. I purchased Anchor Lanes in 1993 and that was my official start in the bowling business. I followed with the purchase of JB’s Entertainment Center, Howards Grove (1997); Odyssey Fun Center, Sheboygan Falls and Super Bowl, Appleton (1998) and Olympic Lanes (now JB’s on 41) (2002). I have since sold Anchor Lanes in 2012.
What lessons have you learned from opening the centers and what advice would you give?
Don’t rush, take it slow. Build the necessary systems before moving on to something new. If you cannot do it with consistency nothing else matters.
What is the best advice you were given in your career?
Pursue higher standards and your people will know what is important.
What’s your favorite moment of your career so far?
Seeing a young person grow into an exceptional manager/leader. There is no better joy in operating a business than helping people to become better.
What is the vision you have for your centers?
Vision / Purpose Statement: “We are outstanding, fun people helping families connect, having fun and being better together.”
- We believe in doing the right things all the time. We do what we say we are going to do to make a positive difference.
- We believe our people come first and will treat them with the utmost respect.
- We believe in hiring the right people, who share the same passion for being the best. Those that want to belong to a team that inspires.
- We believe in working together with relentless personal effort to accomplish our team goals.
- We believe in mutual respect, ongoing recognition and personal growth.
- We believe in being enthusiastic and choosing a positive attitude.
- We believe in giving our best … every day.
- We believe in always getting better by learning from our mistakes.
- We believe in getting things done before being asked to do them.
- We believe in providing a sense of family and belonging.
- We believe in being accountable for our actions to our team and our guests.
- We believe in being the first to engage our guests, giving personal attention and making an emotional connection.
- We believe in being emotionally present with our guests when they are with us.
- We believe in delighting our guests and make their day special.
- We believe in going above and beyond to give our guests a memorable experience.
- We believe our guests want to be pleasantly surprised, with unexpected fun and an experience that is unique and worthy of telling the story to others.
- We believe our guests are expecting a clean facility and we strive to exceed their expectations. It’s everyone’s job to make this happen … all the time.
- We believe in giving our guest’s money back when something is not right & we can’t fix it.
- We believe in following sound business systems knowing that they will evolve and get better over time.
- We believe in giving back to our community to make it a better place for all.
A bit about David Bardon
David graduated from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a B.S. degree in Environmental Chemistry and an M.S. in Environmental Science. He spent one year at Tecumseh Products Company as a Pollution Control Chemist. Then he worked eight years at Kohler Company responsible for all domestic environmental laboratory analysis and compliance. In 1985, he started a hazardous waste transportation and remediation business in conjunction with E & K Hauling in which he grew company from $100,000 in sales first year to well over $9 million by 1992. In 1993, the E & K companies joined several other Wisconsin waste management companies to become Superior Services. At that time he became President of the Hazardous Waste Division with sales over $20 million.
Throughout his career, David maintained an active role in the bowling industry. David’s father built Anchor Lanes in 1975. David and his wife Janell purchased Anchor Lanes in 1993 while David was still in running his hazardous waste company. In 1996, the Bardons decided to go into bowling full-time.
David is very active in the state and national bowling associations. In BPAA, he served on the Board of Directors for five years and is active on the Legislative and League Development committees. In BCAW, he served on the board of Directors for over 15 years. Bardon is a past president of the BCAW and is currently serving as BCAW Treasurer.