Family-Run Bowling Centers Provide Four Family Friendly Alleys

Date: January 11, 2013

In 1939 Joseph T Poelking Sr. started in the bowling business, which has now become a multi generation business. Joseph T Poelking Sr. was the grandfather of current owners Joe and Mike Poelking. The company shut down due to World War II but reopened years later in 1951 and has been in operations ever since. After the retirement of their grandfather in the ‘60s, his 4 sons continued the Poelking family business and have since pasted it on to the next (3rd) generation. Joe and Mike assumed the responsibilities of operating the business in the late ‘90s and have continued the tradition on into the next century.

The Poelking family was very active in the company and worked to expand the business to its current size of four locations. Current owners, Joe Poelking along with his cousin Mike Poelking have been working full-time for the company since the 1980’s. Joe is very active in national, state, and local boards and they both have been very active in giving back to the community.

Currently Poelking Bowling Centers has four locations; in Dayton, Huber Heights, Kettering, and Centerville. The company focuses on marketing to the masses by promoting family bonding for people of all ages and backgrounds. Each bowling center provides family and youth programs-- including programs for those with special needs. Each of the modern bowling centers offer leagues for women, men, couples and youth sanctioned by the United States Bowling Congress. Two of the facilities boast over 50 lanes which are among the largest in Ohio.

There are approximately 170 employees covering the four centers in Ohio. Of those 170 workers, 57 employees work full-time due to the seasonal nature of the business. As of today, Joe and Mike Poelking are the third generation family members running the bowling business on a full-time basis. Joe noted that we have several other family members who work at the centers as well.

The nature of NFIB, advocating for small, independent businesses, attracted the Poelking’s to become a member. Joe stated that he also joined the NFIB to help other independent businesses. As a member, Poelking Bowling Centers benefits from the opportunity to meet with legislators and get further involved in the small-business community. To further the cause of small business, Joe Poelking has attended multiple Area Action Council meetings and more recently, the National “I Built It” Bus Tour during the 2012 election.

The biggest challenge facing Poelking Bowling Centers has been maintaining a customer base in a changing digital world and with recent legislation regarding mandatory increases in the state minimum wage and the indoor smoking ban to name just a few.

However, the best part of being a small business for Joe is the sense of overall accomplishment he feels at the end of the work day. Joe Poelking stated, “Being able to provide for yourself and offer jobs to others really gives you a sense of community and meaning.” 

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