A group of students at Mount Allison University are trying to revive an old bowling alley in Sackville, N.B., as part of the school’s entrepreneurship program.
Riley Barrett, a finance student involved in the project, says are taking a shot at reopening it to the public, hoping to turn a profit.
“The biggest thing I have learned so far is how important connections are in business,” said Barrett. “Because a lot of the stuff we have been able to get done, especially cheap, haven been though connects with family members through people in the class,” said Barrett
Barrett says the students are leasing the bowling alley from its owner, which they have called “Strike Club.”
He says there are not a lot of things to do in the small town other than going out for pizza or to a bar, and is hoping people will take up bowling in their spare time.
“It is less of bowling and more of a fun thing to do with your friends out on a night or out for a day. It is just the experience more than it is bowling,” he said.
But they have run into a few gutter balls along the way. Commerce student Savannah Forsey says renovating the alley, which closed about six years ago, was a lot of work.
“We had to sand and scrape down the gutters it took a really long time to get them prepared for painting and then we painted down all the walls and conditioned and refinished the lanes and the approaches as well,” she said.
Forsey says the alley is ready to open, but the group has been unable to find an insurance company willing to insure the commercial property.
“We have been running into a couple of bumps because we are students and kind of having a lack of experience is not a great component for insurance companies looking at us,” said Forsey.
She says that each student has invested $150 of their own money and borrowed another $7,000 from the university program to fund the project.
The ultimate plan is to rent out the lanes hourly, book parties and even open up a bar if they can get approved for a liquor license
“Then we will be able to start paying that off,” says Forsey.
The project has been a real eye-opener, she says, as to what it really takes to get a business off the ground.
The students are hoping to be open to the public as soon as they are able to secure insurance on the commercial building.