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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Aug. 25, 2017 1 month ago

Aloma Bowl celebrates its 40th anniversay

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After a week of celebrations, Aloma Bowl held a 1970s-inspired party — complete with 1977 prices.
by: Troy Herring Associate Editor

Despite it being 2017, they partied like it was 1977.

Locals showed up in droves to take in the 1970s-themed party being thrown at Aloma Bowl, where everything from the clothes to the prices harkened back to the days of disco and bellbottoms.

A game cost visitors a mere 90 cents, while shoe rentals were 40 cents. Throw in 25 cents arcade games, along with cheap food and beer, and you have smorgasbord of entertainment.

Although Aloma Bowl, and its sister sites Airport Lanes and Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center, spent most of the last week celebrating the 40th anniversary of the business, Saturday, Aug. 19, served as the culmination of the party.

A business getting the chance to celebrate 40 years of operation is not something many can boast.

But what keeps a company going for so long?

If you ask Keith Baldwin, regional manager of the Aloma Bowling Centers, it starts with one simple answer — the customers.

“The loyalty of the Winter Park community — they have been so supportive in our existence,” Baldwin said. “It’s just that commitment and loyalty that we embrace, and that helps us be sustainable through all of these years.”

During the last 40 years, Aloma Bowl has become an entertaining fixture in the community — known for its family friendly atmosphere and 32 lanes of bowling. 

“The loyalty of the Winter Park community — 

they have been so supportive in our existence.”

 

 

— Keith Baldwin

Although most can’t imagine it ever going away, Aloma Bowl nearly closed earlier this year, when Oppidan Holdings LLC revealed plans to buy the property and replace it with an Orchard Supply Hardware store.

But it was this moment when the community rallied together and helped save Aloma Bowl, much to the happiness of owners Vincent Luccisano and his son, Vincent Jr.

“It was gratifying that a lot of people in the community came out with a ‘Save Aloma Bowl’ petition, so we take a lot of pride in that,” Luccisano Sr. said. “That deal has not been done, and we are going to be remaining here in operation in the Aloma location — hopefully for the long-term.”

Winter Park High student Danielle Allison, who collected more than 2,300 signatures, started the petition. Ultimately, Winter Park city commissioners voted against the building plans.

Despite the scare, Aloma Bowl’s history is largely filled with success.

When it was opened in 1977 by Luccisano Sr.’s father, Joe, and couple Ray and Lois Koehler, bowling was undoubtedly in the peak of its popularity.

Originally coming down to Florida from New York as a means of diving into the tourism scene, Joe Luccisano decided to go into the bowling business after talking with a relative who was a pro bowler and friends with Ray Koehler.

“They felt that the market was right for a bowling center, and they hit the nail on the held,” Luccisano Sr. said. “They could not have picked a better location.”

Since taking over in 1983, Luccisano Sr. has seen the family business expand to the three current bowling alleys under the Aloma Bowl umbrella — while the alley in Winter Park has been renovated regularly to keep it up to date. 

Parts of the renovations involved getting better equipment, but also it concentrated heavily on the evolving tastes of customers.

A lot changes in 40 years, and Luccisano Sr. believed the best way to keep people coming in was to make Aloma Bowl the place to bowl — and so far, it’s worked.

“Aloma has always been our baby,” Luccisano Sr. said. “We upgraded to more suit people’s entertainment habits — the way they spend their entertainment dollars. It’s not just league bowling, they want to see more — they want good food, they want a good atmosphere, they want a comfortable and attractive place to spend their time. We made the investment … and it made our existing guests very happy.”

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