- Associated Press - Sunday, April 6, 2014

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - The 300 game - the pursuit of any avid bowler - has never eluded the Roseman family. Collectively, they have rolled 160 perfect games among the six-member family.

But the Quad-City Times reports (https://bit.ly/QGgGMU ) their dream of owning a bowling alley took years to score. It finally was realized last summer when the family acquired Leisure Lanes in northwest Davenport. The new ownership group includes Linda and Rob Roseman Sr. and their four sons: Rob Jr., Mike, Joe and Dustin Roseman, all of Davenport.

“Everybody grew up in a bowling alley,” recalls Mike Roseman, who gave up his job as a route driver to manage the new family business. He is joined in the day-to-day operation by brother Dustin “Dusty” Roseman.

The parents have been in the bowling industry since 1978 when they bought a small business called Pro-Fit Pro Shop inside the former Suburban Lanes in northwest Davenport. When Suburban closed in 1988, they bought Trophy King and Pro Shop inside Plaza North, now Miller Time Bowling & Billiards, in Davenport.

Trophy King, which Linda Roseman ran by herself in the early years, has relocated to Leisure Lanes. The shop carries a full inventory of bowling supplies from balls to bags, shoes and accessories as well as trophy and award items such as ribbons, medals, nametags and other specialties.

But as the family discovered, the bowling alley business is a tough one to break into, said Rob Roseman Jr., who brings his financial and sales experience to the venture. He is vice president of sales for Members Insurance Services, an affiliate of IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union.

He said there is little turnover in ownership, and when a bowling alley comes up for sale, “You almost have to pry it out of their fingertips.”

“I’ve been trying to fulfill the family dream for 10 years,” Rob Jr. added. In fact, he said, the family had verbal agreements for two previous purchases, “but both fell apart at the 11th hour.”

The family invested more than $1 million in the purchase and improvements.

Built in 1977, Leisure Lanes was in the hands of its third owner, Brett Baldwin, who had owned it 16 years before retiring. The bowling alley is tucked in behind The Machine Shed restaurant.

Despite not having their own bowling center, the Rosemans have made the bowling circuit for nearly 30 years with their trophy business, promoting junior bowling, competing and traveling with their sons - especially Joe, the best bowler of the bunch - to tournaments. His brothers are quick to point out he is the only left-hander in the group, which they say gave him the clear advantage.

In fact, Joe Roseman even had his pro card out of high school, but gave up a bowling career to join the Muscatine Police Department. With his first 300 game at age 11, he holds 121 of the family’s 160 perfect games.

Joe Roseman, who plans to remain in law enforcement, will be responsible for bringing in tournaments to Leisure Lanes. Back competing as an amateur, he and his team, which is sponsored by Trophy King, have won the Iowa Men’s State Tournament for an unprecedented three years in a row. They are in Burlington this weekend going for a fourth consecutive title.

“We’ve been all over the U.S. with tournaments and we ran the Greater Iowa Scholarship Bowling Tournament for years,” said Rob Sr., who for years worked full-time at the Eagle Foods warehouse - never actively pursuing his own bowling alley.

“I’m probably more entrepreneurial, but it was their dream,” his namesake son said. “I think they just never thought it was going to be possible.”

Still the thought was always there for the family, who recalled how at every bowling alley they visited, they would pay close attention to how it was operated, plotting what they would do differently when they owned a bowling alley. Linda Roseman said they would bring home a copy of every promotional flier they could so when they finally did get their own business, they had binders full of ideas for tournaments and events.

Despite the family’s bowling history and how each brings a different strength to the operation, Mike Roseman said the family would have walked away had not Leisure Lanes’ master technician, Mick Spies, agreed to keep working there. “A lot of this wouldn’t be possible if Mick hadn’t stayed. He’s been here since they poured the concrete.”

Spies, with 36 years experience, is the one who keeps the 1950s-era equipment - bought used and shipped over from Japan - running smoothly. He is teaching the ropes to Dusty Roseman, the youngest son, who is working to become a certified Brunswick mechanic.

Hoping to make sure the sport continues another generation, the family plans to promote a Junior Bowling program. Glowball bowling has been added on Friday and Saturday nights, which draws in the younger crowd.

Rob Jr. credits his parents’ work over the years in promoting Junior Bowling with helping to advance the sport. “Now it is a registered sport in high schools, which is big for the future.”


Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com



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