The Bowling Centers Association of Wisconsin (BCAW) held a successful 2023 BCAW Annual Meeting, Awards Luncheon, Conference and Trade Show recently in Appleton which featured elections, passage of a member dues increase proposal, recognition of award winners and informative seminars.

The well-attended event at the Hilton Appleton Paper Valley Hotel was attended by BCAW member proprietors from around Wisconsin, their guests, as well as bowling industry suppliers and partners from around the country.

BCAW board members elected Oct. 2 are pictured from left: Matt Orvis (director, returning); Mary Conklin (director, returning); Bill Fabian (director, newly elected); Chuck Torosian (treasurer, returning); Dale Elliott (director, returning); and Cary Serwe (newly elected as secretary, continuing on the board).

As part of the BCAW Annual Meeting on Oct. 2, elections were conducted for the BCAW Board of Directors. The membership elected the following slate of board members each to a two-year term.

  • Treasurer: Chuck Torosian, River City Lanes, Waterford
  • Secretary: Cary Serwe, King Pin Lanes, Campbellsport
  • Directors (5-8): Mary Conklin, Spartan Bowl, McFarland; Dale Elliott, Dale’s Weston Lanes, Weston; Matt Orvis, The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley, Green Bay; and Bill Fabian, Plaza Bowl, Ripon

Dues increase proposal passes

At the Annual Meeting, the membership voted unanimously to approve an increase in BCAW dues by $10 per lane bed (to $46) effective in 2025. This is the first dues increase for BCAW since 2002.

BCAW has maintained a level dues structure since 2002 through increases in non-dues revenue, increasing centers in membership, tight fiscal budgeting, improved efficiency in staffing and operation, and a sound investment philosophy. Over the last 21 years since the previous dues increase, inflation has shown the current dues would be $60.81 per lane in today’s dollars.

Through those actions, sufficient reserves had been generated to waive the state dues during the COVID recovery year (2021). This saved all proprietors $36 per lane bed that year.

With the changes coming in the 2025 fiscal year, additional organizational expenses will be incurred as the result of new strategic initiatives of a Peer-to-Peer Program and a Membership Services Manager to improve direct service and support to all BCAW member centers.  This will require the use of existing reserves which have been maintained for emergencies such as the recent pandemic. With that realization, the Board of Directors recommended the increase to prevent deficit budgeting.

Luncheon honors Awards of Excellence winners

The 2023 BCAW Award of Excellence recipients were recognized at the “Celebration of Excellence” Luncheon. Cary Serwe and Jim O’Reilly were selected as this year’s recipients based on their outstanding dedication to center promotion, youth bowling, coaching and raising awareness of the sport.

Serwe won in the “12 Lanes and Fewer” category. The longtime proprietor at King Pin Lanes in Campbellsport, Wis., and high school bowling coach also was instrumental in founding the BCAW High School Bowling Club.

O’Reilly, who was honored with the BCAW Special Award of Excellence, has long been an ardent promoter and supporter of the BCAW and its programs in Wisconsin. Among other roles, O’Reilly is proprietor of Riverboat Lanes in Wabasha, Minn., and a bowling distributor salesman for Bobs’ Business.

Read more about the 2023 Award of Excellence winners here:

2023 BCAW Award of Excellence recipients selected – Bowling Centers Association of Wisconsin (bowlwi.com)

Seminars examine government connections, revenue ideas

Dale Elliott

This year the BCAW Annual Meeting seminars had an in-house slant with engaging and informative presentations by BCAW proprietors and board members Dale Elliott and Steve Cieslewicz.

Elliott, proprietor of Dale’s Weston Lanes in Weston, discussed strategies on how to become more active in your local government to protect your business interests. Building relationships with city council and local school board members as well as state and federal representatives is important in making inroads for your business, he said.

As small business owners, BCAW proprietors play an important role with government officials who see bowling centers as gathering places in the community. Also, proprietors talk to voters and pay plenty in local property taxes, Elliott said.

Steve Cieslewicz

Cieslewicz, proprietor of Whitetail Lanes in Amherst Junction, provided valuable tips on realizing new revenue opportunities that already exist for your bowling center. His list of 50-plus non-bowling revenue ideas included: taking advantage of BPAA SmartBuy and Sysco programs, offering food bucket specials, showing pictures of food items on menus, hosting themed parties and fundraisers, birthdays, graduations, job fairs, tailgate parties, car shows and more.

Those two sessions ran consecutively so attendees could take advantage of both workshops.

BCAW Executive Director Roger Dalkin, left, and BCAW President Hank Posnanski, Jr.

In addition, the membership heard reports and presentations. BCAW Executive Director Roger Dalkin reported on program updates from the previous year. Dalkin noted that BCAW membership and program participation has grown in the past year. He also discussed ongoing work on a peer-to-peer program to assist BCAW members with business issues and a more formalized program to provide direct communication between BCAW and its individual members. BCAW Board Member and Treasurer Chuck Torosian updated the membership on the solid financial state of the BCAW. Guest speaker Don Hildebrand – Wisconsin State USBC Association Manager – provided an overview of the Wisconsin USBC and introduced his new assistant manager Jason Peirick. Jay Trietley of Strike Ten Entertainment discussed that organization’s Bowling Center TV Network, an enhanced platform offering bowling center proprietors an entertainment option for their customers and revenue stream for their businesses. 

The day wrapped up in the late afternoon with the BCAW Trade Show. Exhibitors, suppliers, proprietors and guests had a chance to network and discuss how the wide variety of products will improve the bottom line for their bowling businesses and provide an even more enjoyable experience for league and recreational bowlers.

The BCAW extends special thanks to these valued Trade Show exhibitors that played a significant role in making this year’s event a big success:

Trade Show exhibitors:

Alliance Insurance Centers

BBBI/Kids Bowl Free

Bobs’ Business

Brunswick Bowling

Classic Products

Qubica AMF

US Bowling Corporation

Wisconsin Souvenir Milkcaps

Wisconsin USBC