The unexpected closing of Brunswick Zone XL in Homewood, Ill., by new owner Bowlmor AMF on Jan. 5 came as a shock to the center’s league bowlers.
It also proved a boon for nearby centers, which quickly absorbed Homewood’s leagues so they could finish out their 2014-15 season schedules.
Even so, Tinley Park Bowl Manager John Hudson had mixed emotions about the closing.
“It’s good for our [own] business, but I’ll tell you right now that it’s not good for the bowling industry,” Hudson told the Southtown Star newspaper. “The bowling industry has been kind of suffering for a while. There are centers closing all the time. This hurts bowling as a whole because a lot of people are going to pull out.”
Brunswick Zone XL Homewood was one of 85 centers in North America purchased by Bowlmor AMF from Brunswick Corporation last September (https://www.bowlersjournal.com/?p=8965).
The closure came as a shock not only to the center’s bowlers, but also to employees. In an interview with BJI conducted shortly after Bowlmor AMF began the purchase process of Brunswick’s centers, Bowlmor AMF Chief Executive Officer Tom Shannon said, “We don’t envision closing any of the Brunswick centers, or any additional AMF centers as a result of the merger. All the closures are happening in markets where bowling has been in decline for a long period of time, or you have rampant competition and no price advantage.”
To read the Southtown Star report on Brunswick Zone XL Homewood's closing, go to: http://southtownstar.chicagotribune.com/sports/32087800-419/bowlers-at-brunswick-zone-xl-in-homewood-left-stunned-frustrated-by-facilitys-shutdown.html#.VLfe_lq4m8o