FULTON, NY – Bowling has always been the way of life for Fulton native twin brothers, Mike and Mark Tryniski.
So taking over ownership of the Lakeview Lanes bowling alley in Fulton was a “natural progression” after fulfilling a satisfying career as a professional bowler, Mike said.
“I’ve been a professional bowler for about 30 years now, so that’s how it kind of fits for me because its been such a big part of my life,” Mike Tryniski said, noting that Lakeview Lanes was the first alley he and his brother had ever bowled in, taking lessons from the alley’s former owner, Ulysses Papini.
Located at 723 West Broadway, Lakeview Lanes had been in business in Fulton since it was built in 1961. The Tryniski brothers bought the bowling alley in its rundown condition in December 2005.
Now, going on 12 years of ownership, the Tryniski’s have revived the bowling alley from its former condition to a multi-purpose bowling center featuring several additional elements of entertainment.
“It was so run down, it was hard to see it struggling. It’s kind of an evolution for people like me that are professional bowlers at the end of their career, getting into this was a natural progression in my life. I wanted to turn it around and make it a viable business again,” Mike said.
The first step, was to repair the rundown condition of the building upon taking it over, he explained.
A large investment was made in revitalizing the building with new infrastructure, wiring, heating, air conditioning, kitchen appliances, automatic scoring, bowling machines, and so on.
The transformation didn’t come easily, however, as Mike recalls putting in a lot of hours, missing time with his family, and facing both routine and unexpected pitfalls of restoring a business.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, it’s been a venture, and it hasn’t been easy by any means,” he said. “The disrepair of the whole place was really challenging. Even just with things breaking, it just seemed like even when we had gone through and done so much, the next problem would arise as if it were never ending. It’s a big investment to keep re-investing in.”
However, the investment has began to see its return as Lakeview Lanes currently serves as much more than a conventional bowling alley.
“It’s way nicer now that it’s ever been, and we will keep trying to evolve the business,” Mike said.
With 20 lanes of bowling action with automatic machines, electronic scoring, and a full service pro shop, the bowling business has only grown at Lakeview Lanes alongside the additional options for entertainment that have been added.
Aside from bowling, Lakeview Lanes now offers a fully functioning kitchen and sports bar with weekly food and drink specials, a large deck for outdoor seating, live music events, an ever growing ice cream stand with an 18-hole mini golf course, a pool hall complete with 12 seven foot pool tables in total, a volleyball court, arcade games, and enough space to host events like poker league nights, birthday parties, pool tournaments, benefits, or gatherings of any kind.
“Really bowling is one small part of things we offer,” Mike said. “It’s tough to be your typical bowling center anymore, you really need these other elements now.”
Offering a plethora of activities is beneficial for local community members as the options for year round entertainment in Fulton may be slim, Mike said.
“There’s really not much else in Fulton to do. It’s a business where you can provide people something to do year round that’s not weather dependent, which is important where we live as we all know the weather can be unpredictable. So it has to be all of the elements together, it’s really everything we offer here combined,” he said.
The task of bringing Lakeview Lanes to the glory of which it sees today may have been difficult but for the Tryniski’s, it was more than worthwhile and given their extensive bowling background, they were the perfect family to accomplish the task.
Mike recalls traveling the world during his 30-year career as a professional bowler, gaining knowledge from “some of the best coaches in the country.”
His career brought him to many places and through his hard work, he saw many successes.
Most notably, he recalls the excitement and pride that went along with winning two separate National Championships, one with a local team and one for doubles.
His career did not go unnoticed as he was also inducted to four Hall of Fames, which he described as the “culmination of a lifetime of work.”
As a true family legacy, the Tryniski’s remarkably became the first family in the United State to be inducted to the same Hall of Fame for superior performance which now holds his grandfather, father, and himself, Mike said.
The evolution of his career did not stop with owning a bowling alley, however. Today, Mike Tryniski coaches both the girls and boys G. Ray Bodley High School bowling teams as he has for nearly 10 years.
“It’s really cool to give back and teach the kids some of the things I’ve learned throughout my life,” Mike said. “It’s enjoyable for me to give that knowledge back to them and see them be successful on their own, especially here in Fulton because I went to school and bowled on the bowling team here and my father bowled here on the bowling team, it’s always been important to us.”
Mike offers private lessons as well to continue spreading his knowledge and experience with others.
As one of the most widely participated sports in the world, Mike enjoys watching bowlers of all experience levels, ages, and backgrounds enjoying the sport he loves so dearly.
“Bowling is really a great social sport, and I think the best part about bowling is that it’s a lifetime sport,” Mike said. “People still love to bowl, it’s not dwindling as a recreational activity. If you haven’t done it in years, you can come back and still enjoy it no matter what.”
Mike tells of a local bowler, a 92-year-old man who is partially blind, just recently inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“I just think that speaks volumes about bowling. He’s made so many friends through his life with bowling and even still at 92-years-old, he enjoys the sport. I think that’s pretty special,” he said.
Those special connections are part of the reason that Mike was drawn to the opportunity to own Lakeview Lanes.
“I’ve made so many connections and friendships throughout the world with bowling, it’s really a close-knit group that is like a family,” he said, glad that he can help provide others find those same experiences.
“To see the people and provide them with a place to go to have a good time and enjoy themselves has been the best part of this for me. There’s been a lot of good memories for people through this business for different things. We’ve probably raised two million dollars for benefits and charities since I’ve been here. It’s nice to give back to the community as well as being a business,” Mike said.
While Lakeview Lanes has made great strides to become the multi-purpose bowling center that it is today, Mike has plans to continue evolving his business to reach his final vision.
“I’m going in the direction that I envisioned, I’ve got one part of the puzzle left. I just plan to keep adding elements to continue making Lakeview a family fun place for everyone,” Mike said.
To find hours of operation, specials, and more information on Lakeview Lanes, visit their website here.