Bowl of Fun Lanes of Hardee County
Husband and wife duo, Randy and Stacy Crews, became the owners of a local family bowling center in Hardee County when they were approached by the original owners with a proposition to buy the center. With previous knowledge from owning two other businesses, the couple decided to move forward with the proposition and purchase the bowling center. Their only concern was the funding they would need to purchase a facility of that size.
Reaching out to their local business development centers, The Development Group, and the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), to inquire about purchasing the bowling center ultimately led the couple to get connected with the Florida SBDC at USF, where they were paired with business consultant Greg Manning for help with creating a business plan in order to access the proper funding.
“We’ve used the information through the SBDC monthly. We’ve been in operation for two months now so doing the business plan, we’ve sat down and made sure we’re on track of where we need to be,” Randy Crews said. Since working with the Florida Small Business Development Center at USF, the business owners express that they’ve been able to use the information learned from their consultant successfully throughout the lifetime of their new business venture. “The business has grown using the information we learned from the Florida SBDC at USF, just the business planning in itself. Learning the economics of a business, the financials of it. We own two other businesses and I tell people all the time, we probably should’ve done a business plan for those two businesses because I do refer back. Like I do look at where we are at the end of the month, or I check the financials every day. Where we’re at, where we were the week before, where we were last month on this day, this week,” Stacy Crews said.
The business owners also attribute their success to the support they’ve received from their community, stating, “the biggest success so far for the Bowl of Fun Lanes is bringing the community together.” Becoming the owners of the bowling center gave them the opportunity to fill a need in the community that was bigger than they expected. “Opening day we had between 1,000-1,200 people here and it was insane. The first two weeks it was like that every day, and it started slowly tapering off. We knew the need in the community, we didn’t know how huge it was, but the community support has just been piling in and has not stopped since we opened the door. We have 10 leagues running a week and there’s a few more that’s coming, birthday parties, class reunions booked up. It was a big need in the community, and I think that was the biggest thing we’ve seen so far,” Randy said.
As the business continue to grow, the couple mentions that they will continue reaching out to the Florida SBDC at USF for guidance on their business decisions and to measure their success continuously. “Moving forward we would still continue to use the Florida SBDC at USF, especially in our year anniversary. We’ll go back to the business plan, hopefully meet with Greg again to make sure we’re on target, that I’m hoping we oversee the goal that we put. As it is right now, I think we will,” Stacy said.
When asked what advice they would give to other small business owners about the Florida SBDC at USF and their consultant, the couple raved about using the no-cost services provided by the Florida SBDC at USF in order to make sure the business thrives. “Pretty much just meeting with anyone at the Florida SBDC at USF to get that business plan, get that business model, to make sure it’s the right fit for you and the community that you’re in,” Stacey mentioned.
The Crews never missed a beat when showing their appreciation to their Florida SBDC business consultant and other organizations that have helped them throughout the process. “I think we’d like to really express our thank you to SBDC at USF for reaching out, and we’ve already said this but, helping so much, you [Greg Manning] and Stacey [Florida SBDC at USF associate director],” Randy said. “We were lost without that but a big thank you for all the time you [Greg Manning] invested in. I know there was some trouble that we had there, numbers that we just couldn’t figure out and y’all just figured it out for us and we thank you very much for it all and The Development Group for putting us in touch with y’all and we look for the future. There might be another business in the future that we want to do. We do have one in mind, we’re not going to say it right now but, in the future, maybe we can look back out and make that one work too,” Randy said.