Local brothers open a bowling shop to share their experience and passion with the community.
Mark O’Connell opened All Star Bowling and Trophy inside All Star Lanes of Walled Lake with his brother Joe in March of 2010.
“The decision to open a pro shop in a down economy was a difficult one. We decided to forge ahead on the idea because it had been a lifelong passion and we thought well worth pursuing our dreams despite the tough times. Succeed or not, we know we gave it a shot,” Joe said.
After working at a pro shop in South Lyon, the bowling center was sold and the new owners decided not to renew the lease. Mark decided to open All Star Bowling and Trophy to make sure bowlers were still able to get great service and products close to home.
“I try to provide the same type of service I want when I'm the customer in this business, customer satisfaction is the priority. We are a full service pro shop offering new bowling balls, bags, shoes and accessories. We also provide services such as drilling, ball plugging, resurfacing and rejuvenation,” Mark said.
Eddie Jones is a recurring customer at their pro shop who buys all his equipment there because they don’t just sell him products, they take the time to explain them and figure out what can best improve his game.
"It's easy to tell Mark & Joe are passionate about bowling. He takes great pride in his knowledge of the sport and of the equipment they sell to their customers. I've learned more in the last six months working with them than I did in 20 years with other pro shops," Jones said.
Mark and Joe believe that taking the time to share the knowledge that they have gained from over 50 years of bowling experience is the key to making their business a success and the reason they also offer lessons and clinics to help people become the best bowlers they can be.
“I think the future of bowling in general is in coaching, people will enjoy themselves if they see improvement. We hope to help people meet the goals they thought were unachievable,” Mark said.
While they are optimistic about the future of their business, they have struggled balancing the demands of the shop with their other responsibilities.
“The biggest concern starting a small business is finding a good staff. There are times when I'm not available, but I know I have to have staff that I can trust to give the same service. That’s why I couldn’t do this without my brother,” Mark said.
“Mark is great at what he does but I’m the better bowler so I think I fill in just fine,” Joe said. If Mark and Joe aren’t available and they don’t have someone knowledgeable that they trust, they won’t even open their doors. “We won’t just throw someone back there and hope they sell some stuff. That’s not what we’re about, we would never sacrifice service,” Mark said.
They believe that a successful small business has to provide great service with personal care and believe that’s why they will succeed.