Detroit’s Garden Bowl Celebrates Its Centennial

DETROIT (WWJ) –  The Garden Bowl on Thursday celebrated 100 years of operation in downtown Detroit.

The bowling alley has catered to generations of bowlers in the city — and, today, the Garden Bowl offers bowling with the lights off, spinning mirror balls, smoke machines and glow-in-the-dark lanes.

Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950’s Marie Osborne, owner Joe Zainea said Garden Bowl remains a relevant gathering place for Detroiters.

“Today it is the oldest commercial bowling establishment in the country,” Zainea said.  “Being on Woodward with all the glass

(credit: Majestic Theatre Center)

(credit: Majestic Theatre Center)

windows, I see everything.”

Back in the 1960s, said Zainea, there were 35 bowling alleys within two miles of Midtown.

His alley remains because, he says, he saw a change in taste coming.

“In the 1980s I would go to the proprietors association meeting and I would say we got to change the mentality,” Zainea said.  “It’s not a competitive sport like baseball or football.  It’s a social endeavor.”

Zainea also said that the Bowl is in constant change.

Currently, they are updating their flooring.

But is Zainea concerned about the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy?

“Well, honestly, it didn’t mean anything to our business,” Zainea said.  “It’s too bad it happened.”

“It’s the secret of small business,” Zainea added.  “It’s called perseverance and you must challenge the problems that you have, face them right up and deal with them.”

Learn more about Garden Bowl at this link.

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