Years ago, there were three bowling alleys located in the beautiful town of Stratford, Ontario, but today only one remains – Mike’s Bowling Lanes.
Mike’s Bowling Lanes was originally opened in 1956 by Mike Gornyiczki. It was taken over by Len Barber in the mid ’80s and then by current owner and manager, Joe Shaw, more than a decade ago.
Shaw had just completed his Business Management degree and was having trouble finding work in that field.
Having already known Barber, Shaw was offered a part time gig working weekends at the bowling alley.
“I really enjoyed it. I made so many friends. I got to see the same people every single week and got to know everyone … it’s a great atmosphere,” Shaw said.
Twenty-one years later, Shaw can still be found working seven days a week at Mike’s Bowling, and loves every minute of it.
Today, Mike’s Bowling Lanes offers adult and youth leagues, as well as a special Olympics program.
It provides space for several types of events such as birthday parties and glow in the dark bowling.
Mike’s Bowling Lanes’ open season is from Sept to the end of April with reduced hours during May and June. It shuts down during July and August, during the warmer weather.
Mike’s Bowling Lanes is also fully licensed and has a snack bar complete with food like chicken fingers and fries.
Although Mike’s Bowling Lanes offers a great experience for people of all ages, getting people to join is one of the biggest challenges
“In this day and age, no one wants to do a weekly time commitment,” Shaw said.
Mike’s Bowling Lanes strives to alleviate the financial costs by offering weekly payments, rather than upfront in hopes of encouraging people to join.
“My biggest goal right now is to be around and go after the property,” Shaw said.
Since the property is still owned by Barber, they can’t renovate or make any large changes.
When asked about what he enjoys most about what he does, the answer was obvious – it’s the people.
“I’m one of the lucky ones. Most of the time, it doesn’t even feel like work. I know everyone here and they make it so much fun,” he said.
Being such a strong pillar of the community, Mike’s Bowling Lanes strives to support and give back any way it can.
In the past, they have hosted many fundraisers for organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, and has been home to many hockey events and other private events.
It also provides donations to local charities and organizations whenever possible.
For more information about this great business, visit it online at www.mikeslanes.ca.