Sunday, July 31, 2022

We Bought a Bowling Alley

"I own a bowling alley." Words I never thought I would say, but you know I am a strong proponent of life being full of chapters. You simply have to be willing to stay open to new ones and know when to close the old ones. 

This week marks seven months of ownership of 319 Social House, and it has been one of the best decisions Jon and I have ever made. But what in the world makes one want to dive into a new adventure like this? We've rounded up some of the most frequently asked questions to give you some insight. 

319 Social House - Independence, Iowa

Are you bowlers? 

I am not. I actually had never thrown a bowling ball in this center prior to us purchasing it because there was very limited open bowling. Jon on the other hand has bowled in a league for 14+ years. 

What is the history of the alley? 

We take great pride that our alley has been in operation for nearly 70 years. It started as a bowling alley and we plan on keeping it that way for many years to come. The original owners brought the equipment down from Illinois to get it started. The pinsetters (the machines that drop the pins) were installed in the 70s were previously used in a center in Japan. It was previously named Lucky 10 Lanes, but we renamed it 319 Social House. 

How did you pick out the name? 

The name Social House first came to me. We wanted the space to be a place for all kinds of people to gather, not just bowlers. The building number is 519 and Jon made that suggestion, but I liked 319 because it is the area code. Eventually, we thought 319 merch would be cooler. 

Are you running the business or do you have a manager? 

We are running it ourselves and have an awesome staff. Jon has learned all about the machines and maintenance. I manage the bar and all the bookings. Jon is there pretty much every night and I bartend a few nights a week. It has been all hands on deck and we have the greatest staff working alongside us. 

What has been your favorite part? 

Jon: Being a place that people are excited to come to, and the enthusiasm of our customers. I hope that what we have done with 319 Social House will be a catalyst for more change in our community. 

Crystal: Maybe how happy it has made us? We are entrepreneurs at heart. I get to do all the things I love - marketing, hosting events, socializing, and meeting new people. The league bowlers are an amazing community of peoples, and we love that our town has a new hang-out place for all ages. One night we had three birthday parties, lanes full, not a seat left at the bar, and the Bass Club came in and did a fishing lure exchange! 

When can I come bowling? 

We have been closed in June and July for renovations but we are hoping to reopen mid-August. We have open bowling on Friday and Saturday nights, and leagues Tuesday through Sunday. We also have a pretty fun drink menu if you aren't much of a bowler. 

What has been the hardest part? 

Crystal: Trying to do it all. A lot of people have said how do you do it all? Spoiler alert we aren't. Our farm, the marketing business, my jewelry business, my job with Peoples Company, and trying to have time for family and friends have all suffered at some point but we are working on this. 

Also, we "close" at 10 p.m. unless a group is still there drinking. There have been some late nights and then you have to get up and do it all over again the next day. That first two months I don't think I have ever had so little sleep. 

Jon: Not saying yes to every idea or opportunity. Like Crystal said we are working on trying to find a better balance in our lives. 


We are so happy with the leap we took. I've always wanted to have a bigger impact on our community, I never once thought I bet if we owned a bowling alley that would open the doors to that. However, that is exactly what has happened. There can be lots of paths to the end goal. Let us know what other questions you have. You can follow all the fun on Facebook and Instagram too. 

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