So why is there so much excitement percolating in the bowling community about the expected opening this year of a new bowling center in Thousand Oaks?
Easy answer: Bowling centers are closing by the bushel every year. But the opening of one is very rare.
According to Chicago-based High Beam Research, there were 6,600 bowling centers in the United States in 1955. Ten years later amid a construction boom, there were 12,000 bowling houses in the U.S. – a more than 80 percent jump.
Americans’ love affair with bowling was illustrated during those boom years by the skyrocketing appreciation in bowling stocks, such as Brunswick Corp.
In 2011, only 5,160 bowling centers remained.
The announcement last year that a new bowling center would be placed in the Janss Marketplace in east Ventura County produced hundreds of emails on the bowling center’s Facebook page.
The last bowling center in Thousand Oaks was the Conejo Bowl. Larry Janss, owner of the Conejo Bowl, closed the community landmark in 1995, saying that longtime patrons had moved away and a 2-year-old city smoking ordinance had reduced business by 10%.
The new Thousand Oaks center reportedly would be called “DaddyO’s Skater Bowl” and would have 20 lanes. It also would include a skateboarding area, arcade and a 21-and-over restaurant and lounge open on weekends.
The bowling house would be located at the 17,000-square-foot former Linens ’n Things building.
More details about the opening are expected soon.