OTTAWA — With only days until Fusion Alley opens to the public, Ottawa physician Ken Frank and his wife, Shelly, spent late Monday afternoon checking in with contractors to see that the final details are falling into place.
There’s a little dust and some construction materials here and there, but the couple, who are the primary owners of the new bowling alley and upscale sports bar and restaurant, are ready for Saturday’s grand opening.
It’s been a wild ride for the couple, who with other local investors, decided to take on a business venture they believe will enhance the community.
“Everyone in that group has a deep-seated desire to see Ottawa become a better place to live and raise a family,” Ken said. “That’s why we’re doing this.”
“I had the idea, and I know other people have also had the idea. Ottawa hasn’t had a bowling alley in (nearly two decades.) Ottawa’s had a good bowling history, and it’s been a desire of mine to see something like this to come to town, and I’ve mentioned it here and there to other people, but nothing’s really come of it.”
Serving the community
It wasn’t something Ken seriously considered until he read a newspaper article about Ottawa University’s bowling team.
“And I thought, ‘Wow. Where do they bowl?’” he said. “Is there a place at OU that they bowl that I didn’t know about?’”
After asking around, he learned the team made the 25-mile drive to and from Royal Crest Lanes in Lawrence every day for practice. He said it made him wonder if something could be done jointly between the community and the university to bring bowling back to Ottawa.
That was February 2018.
Ken said he, Shelly and OU’s head bowling coach Geoff Poston began looking at different locations.
“All this time, we got to know Geoff Poston,” Ken said. “I really felt like he was an excellent resource not only to get this thing up and running, but to get this to run.”
Ken admits he wasn’t sure if it could happen, but worked with administrators, including Arabie Conner, OU athletic director, to find a way. Today, Poston is also Fusion Alley’s general manager.
“If it were not for Geoff Poston, this would not be happening,” he said. “He has built that program from scratch in two years into a very formidable college bowling program. They’re in the top 25 in the country.”
In addition to a 12-lane bowling alley, the business will also have an upscale sports bar and restaurant called PrimeTime Grille. The restaurant, which is expected to open in late-October, will feature upscale bar food. The Franks anticipate the restaurant seating up to 180 people. The facility will also have party rooms that can seat up to 110 people, and a game room. The game room, which will feature arcade and other games, will be named Cole’s Corner in honor of the Haydens’ grandson, the late Cole Hayden.
On Saturday, Fusion Alley will have a grand opening celebration with games, prizes, free food and giveaways. The grand opening event is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. There will also be open bowling on a first-come, first-served basis. Because of the anticipated response on Saturday and Sunday, all open bowling will be limited to one hour, and no lane reservations will be taken.
Fusion Alley is located at 2204 S. Princeton Circle in the former DIY Supply building. For more information, check out Fusion Alley’s website: https://fusionalleyottawa.com/ and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FusionAlley/.