One could say that BJ Trickey is part of a bowling dynasty.
“I’ve been in bowling all my life,” he said. “It is my destiny.”
Trickey’s father in 1960 opened May City Bowling in Cedar Rapids. He later opened other local bowling alleys, including the former Town and Country Bowling Alley.
Trickey has worked for the family business since graduating from college in 1971. In 1987, he took over ownership of Westdale Bowling Center and has been its owner/general manager ever since.
“Bowling is great because nobody sits on the bench,” he said. “All age levels and capabilities can get out there and enjoy it.”
These days at Westdale Bowling Center, Trickey handles most of the back office work, including accounting and insurance. He works closely with his wife, Kim, who manages the day-to-day operations and oversees the six full-time and ten part-time staff members.
“In the 1970s especially, bowling was phenomenal. League bowling was 80 to 90 percent of what we did.
It was so popular then,” he said.
But as interest in bowling has declined, Trickey said they have had to adapt.
“We had to start doing some marketing in the late ’90s,” he said, noting that Westdale Bowling Center began to shift to a non-league center around that time. “We cater to the public bowler now. Open bowling is always available here. That’s our niche. We say it every time we answer the phone.”
One of Westdale Bowling’s popular promotions, Trickey said, is Quartermania, from 8 p.m. to midnight on Wednesday and Sundays. A $6 cover charge gets you 25-cent games of bowling, shoes and draft beers, he said.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“We are really catering to younger people looking to go out during that time and have some fun,” Trickey said.
Westdale Bowling also offers Dollar Mondays from 4 to 10 p.m.
“We have $1 games, $1 shoes, and $1 hot dogs. It’s a chance for families to come out and eat and bowl together,” he said. “We are trying to cater to every customer segment.”
One of their popular options — beyond their 44 lanes of open bowling — has been adding laser tag and a laser maze for customers to enjoy.
While the early 2000s were great years for his bowling center, Trickey said that post 2008 — given the economy, the flood and the no smoking legislation — has been tough for business.
“People are just watching their spending more,” he said.
But Trickey is encouraged by a slight increase in business so far in 2015 and hopes that trend continues.
AT A GLANCE
• Name: BJ Trickey
• Title: General Manager/Owner
• Company: Westdale Bowling Center
• Address: 2020 Scotty Dr. SW, Cedar Rapids
• Phone: (319) 396-2500
• Website: www.westdalebowl.com