Suburban Bowlerama uses COVID shutdown for renovations, creating 'modern, industrial feel'

The newly-renovated Suburban Bowlerama has a "more modern, industrial feel," according to proprietor Terry Miller

Suburban Bowlerama proprietor Terry Miller took advantage of the mandatory COVID-19 shutdowns to accelerate significant renovations to the 30-lane South Queen Street facility.

"At first, we thought the (spring) shutdown would just be a couple weeks," Miller said. "And, we thought that would be a good time to do a deep cleaning, paint and spruce things up. As we realized the shutdown was going to extend much longer, we saw it as an opportunity to step up our renovations, which had been underway."

The Mula Group of York helped alter the look and feel of the center, which opened in 1958. Ceiling tiles were removed, exposing the steel beams and creating a much more open and modern look. The carpet, featuring glow-in-the-dark designs, was removed and replaced with a polished concrete floor.

"The open concept gives us a more modern, industrial feel," said Miller, who has owned the center since August 2016. "It reflects York's industrial history. Our new look is unique, and I think it differentiates us from traditional bowling centers."

Miller plans to extend the industrial look by replacing the traditional masking units above the pin deck with an industrial design or photos.

Other renovations include replacing many of the traditional lights with LED lighting. A new system was installed that allows center staff members to control lighting, video and audio from a central source.

"The initial reactions have been very positive," Miller said. 

Not all the renovations, however, are visible. In removing the ceiling tiles, the center also removed more than two tons of old electrical wiring, left from scoring systems that had been replaced. The duct work was updated, with a goal of increasing the efficiency of the HVAC system.

The Suburban proprietor said he made the renovations with an eye toward the future.

"We want to be where bowling is headed," he said. "We have a vision for the future, and ultimately, we want to become a destination."

Next on Miller's list is updating the scoring system, renovating the settee area and modernizing the restaurant, kitchen area and the restrooms.

Miller envisions adding more attractions to appeal to a wider audience. He prefers, however, not to remove any bowling lanes to do so.

"We're excited about the future," he said. "Our goal is to create the most up-to-date center, with an elevated food and beverage menu and more attractions."

Reach Barry Sparks at