The local bowling alley will be seeing a plethora of changes over the coming year.
Plaza Lanes has welcomed in a new manager, Jesse Carmody, who is sprucing up the place and hopes to increase membership.
Carmody has a degree in Business Management from Fanshawe College and, upon graduating, has worked as a general manager at Boston Pizza here for the last three years.
He believes his wealth of experience in management will help him greatly with this new venture at Plaza Lanes, where he intends to eventually become the owner.
“I'm very excited to have this opportunity to bring back such a fun sport for everybody to enjoy,” he enthused.
"I really look forward to creating a fun, safe, and clean environment where everybody can enjoy themselves.
“As a young entrepreneur with a degree in Business Management and a post-graduate in Human Resource Management, I couldn't be more happy to have this opportunity to give back to the community that I grew up in,” Carmody added.
Carmody's family has an extensive history with the local bowling scene, which sparked his interest and passion for the sport.
“I can remember myself, my brother, and my friends all having birthday parties here at Plaza Lanes when I was just a young child, we always had a blast,” Carmody recalled.
"My great-grandmother, Gracie Carmody, was a longtime bowler and always talked about how much fun it was. My grandparents on my other side, Val and Ray Calder, also were lifetime bowlers and always talked about how great of a time they had and how every lane was full and you had to wait.
“Ironically enough, my mother worked here as a child when Bev and Darryl had the place booming,” he noted.
Arnie Rollins then took the initiative to buy Plaza Lanes and keep it running for the community, which Carmody now plans to do himself.
Ever since he worked at Tim Hortons, Carmody said it's been his vision to one day own a business in Fort Frances.
“Watching and observing my father run his own business and watching Gord McQuarrie run Tim Hortons, it really inspired me as a child to take the necessary steps and go to school to learn the skills to one day run my own business,” he explained.
"I was lucky enough to start my managing career right after graduating, working alongside Dale Fortes at Boston Pizza.
“Working with Dale over the past three years has provided me with more knowledge and experience than I could ever ask for,” he lauded.
“Dale being the excellent mentor that he is has helped me gain the hands-on skills, as well as gain confidence as a manager and an individual.”
In terms of improvements to the Plaza Lanes building and things he plans to implement this year, Carmody said that he is well underway in the process.
He has gotten the water running, replaced the hot water tank, installed new sinks, and has updated the kitchen.
“We're going to have all new types of food and alcohol for everybody,” Carmody revealed.
"One major thing that I really do want to see is the youth getting more involved again.
“Like I said, I remember when we were young this was always the place to be and our YBC program—which is our youth bowling program—it really just seems to be diminishing and I'd really like to change that,” he stressed.
“I feel like if I'm able to create the environment for everybody, and create a fun environment where kids want to be involved, I think we're off to a good start to be able to do that. I just want to have an environment where everybody wants to be here, it's full of people, everybody's laughing and having fun with friends and family and I just want to be a big part of that with them.”
The combination of his knowledge and experience in business management, his confidence as a manager, and the desire to be involved with and give back to the community has Carmody confident that he will be able to gain more bowling members at Plaza Lanes.
He encourages anybody who is looking for a fun activity to be involved in to stop by the bowling alley and throw some balls down the lanes with the rest of the members.
“It's lots of fun for families and individuals,” Carmody stressed.
“If anybody has any questions or comments, please feel free to call me at the alley or you can stop by in person. I look forward to meeting everyone and it's going to be an excellent year.”