“I’ve been working here since 2010. I became the manager in 2011, and officially took ownership of the business on November 8, 2016,” explains Rob Foster, owner and operator of Springfield’s favorite bowling alley, now cleverly known as Up Your Alley. The lanes have changed hands several times over the years, and Rob felt that a new name would help to convey new energy and draw attention to his efforts to update the facility and bring the bowling alley into the modern era. “I’m excited to breathe some new life into the place. We’re chipping away at it.” Located at 2 Chester Road in the Young’s plaza, the location currently employs six individuals part-time during summer seasons, with another two on board during the busier winter months. The bowling alley offers sixteen high quality lanes with easy electronic scoring. One recent major upgrade was the installation of new flat screen monitors, with the addition of five more big-screen TVs with cable, enabling bowlers to keep an eye on their sports games while they play and socialize.
The Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce performed a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Wednesday, June 21st, congratulating Rob on acquisition of the business and celebrating the bowling alley’s continued Chamber membership under new ownership. When first approached regarding a ribbon cutting, Rob suggested it would be great to wait for decent weather. As it turned out, decent weather was hard to come by this spring, but it ended up working out well for the ribbon ceremony to coincide with Up Your Alley’s hosting of the Chamber’s June After Hours Business Mixer. “I’ve been aiming for a while to set up a mixer at the bowling alley – something different for a change of pace – and it made sense to do it in the off-season so as not to conflict with league activities,” said Chamber Director Caitlin Christiana. “The bowling alley is such a cool asset in this community - a gem of a place that has been around forever - and we want to make sure people remember it’s here and enjoy all they have to offer.”
The busy season spans September through May, when adult leagues generally run 34 weeks, along with a 30-week Youth League. Like some other organized pastimes of the past century, activities like bowling are vying for attention and participation in the 21st century. “I think people are maybe intimidated by the idea of joining a league,” Rob speculates. “It can feel like a pretty major time commitment.” Historically, people joined leagues in stride, often enjoying men’s or ladies’ night out as a welcome staple of an active social life. Now, in a day and age when people are busier than ever, inundated with ever-increasing workloads, overflowing email inboxes, and the constant onslaught of social media notifications, it’s easy to see how people feel the need to selectively pick and choose their hobbies with a cautious degree of self-restraint. But Rob points out that there are always subs available. “There are people who show up every night just hoping to be subbed in, so people don’t have to feel like they can’t take a week off here and there – if you want to join a league, there’s always someone available to fill in.” There are also relaxed leagues versus competitive leagues, so newcomers can try it out and just have fun without feeling high pressure. Bowling establishments like Up Your Alley actually offer enormous bang for your buck, and great value for your time spent. Not only is bowling a fantastic opportunity for sportsmanship, exercise, and socialization, the game manages to uniquely bridge the gap between adult fun and family friendliness. The generously air-conditioned establishment provides refuge from the heat in the summer months, a perfect place to take the kids on a hot summer day, or a rainy afternoon. And the newly renovated full bar ensures that adults can enjoy a cold brew or a refreshing cocktail after a long day. Up Your Alley also offers “Cosmic Casino Bowling” on Friday evenings in the summer, and Saturday nights in the winter. Complete with light show and upbeat music for that dance club vibe, it’s guaranteed to be a great time!
There is a snack bar offering simple favorites such as nachos, pretzels, quesadillas, and hotdogs. For league nights they do sandwiches and crockpot specials. Rob also has plans to install a full kitchen in order to increase the food options to enhance the alley’s dinner hours. “If people know they can come here after work and get some good food and a drink, they’re that much more likely to come and bowl,” Rob says. The plans for the kitchen are gradually moving forward in the space that many used to know as the arcade. “People weren’t using the arcade anymore, so it wasn’t cost effective. I saw the opportunity to expand the food service, which I think will increase the overall value of people’s experience here.” Other long-term ideas include new speakers and upgrades for Cosmic Bowling, and carpeting the walls to help deaden the noise and allow for more comfortable conversation. “I’m thinking about possibly doing a Movie Night – I think that would be fun for kids. I’d also love to do a 21-and-Over Night where we stay open later and cater to the adult crowd.” Extended hours all depend upon people showing up. “If we can continue to increase the number of people coming in, then we can start to expand into additional hours that are being requested, like weekends.” In the meantime, Rob is looking to set up some summer tournaments to attract crowds. An Annual Firefighters Bowling Tournament and an Annual Police Officers Tournament are high on his list. “It would be great to see some friendly competition and raise some money for those departments,” he said.
Up Your Alley is also available for all your party hosting needs! They love to do birthday parties, company events, and holiday bashes – whatever the occasion. They can provide food, or you can bring your own. Currently, Up Your Alley is open Mondays, 12pm to 5pm; Tuesday through Thursday, 2pm to 9pm; and Fridays 10am to 9pm. To book an event, or to express interest in a tournament, contact Rob Foster at 802-885-5087 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay up to date with all their latest news by Liking their Facebook Page.
In the photo, Left to Right: Precision Valley USBC Association Manager Jean Patoine, Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce Board Members Lyndsie Perkins, Meredith Kelley & Elizabeth Meuse, Up Your Alley employee Alanna Parker, Bella Norse & Sam Blaise (family of owner), Up Your Alley Owner & Manager Rob Foster, Chamber Board Member Brian Hernon, Chamber Director Caitlin Christiana, Chamber Treasurer Julie Corliss, Chamber Second Vice President Amanda Moore, and Chamber Board member Nicole Picard.