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, 2019-08-10 04:22:30
Even from blocks away, it’s hard to miss the massive bowling pin tilting off the brick building.
The sign serves as a beacon bringing people to 10 Pins, the new bowling center opened on Franklin’s downtown square. By adding another activity designed to attract patrons to the city, owner Pat Hagan hopes to complement the already robust bar, restaurant and retail businesses that have made Franklin a destination.
Hagan has spent more than a year turning a historic 140-year-old structure into a destination attraction for Franklin’s growing downtown square. 10 Pins features six miniature bowling lanes — shorter and more narrow than traditional bowling — along with arcade games, a bar serving soft drinks, beer and wine, as well as food service.
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The goal was having a place where people can come out, socialize and take part in an activity, then go to see a movie at the Artcraft Theatre or grab a bite or a drink at one of the nearby eateries, Hagan said.
“We have a beautiful downtown; our city leaders have done a fantastic job with a vision. We have all of this stuff, but at night, we’re rolling up the sidewalks because there’s nothing else to do,” Hagan said.
The palm-sized ball echoed as it rolled down the lane, ending in a clatter as mini-bowling pins toppled over.
Bright multi-colored lights pulsed along the lanes and the pins, while graphics flashed on flatscreens. The new and high-tech machinery of the mini-bowling game juxtaposed nicely with the exposed brick walls and hardwood floors of one of downtown Franklin’s historic buildings.
The building was the long-time home of Smallwood Appliances, a Franklin institution for more than 60 years. Hagan, who owns Blue Top Communications, has an office on the other side of the downtown square in Franklin, and has always appreciated the historic nature of the downtown area. That appreciation is what attracted him to the structure at 27 W. Monroe St.
“I like to look at the old buildings in Franklin, see if there are any opportunities that come up. I wasn’t necessarily looking to buy anything, but this building came up for sale,” he said. “It piqued my interest, because it’s right on the square and we’re really not building anything new here on the square.”
With the purchase of the building, Hagan had a unique structure, but wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with it. The initial plan was to gut it to its historic bones, then lease it out to potential businesses who wanted to take advantage of the exposed brick, wood floors and high ceilings. He met with a number of potential tenants, and was comfortable moving in that direction.
But a visit to Fountain Square in Indianapolis changed Hagan’s perspective. He was with friends playing at Action & Atomic Duckpin Bowling, a popular activity using smaller-than-standard size balls and stubby pins.
“I had done that many, many times, and I had thought earlier that (Franklin) would be a really cool place to do something like that. But I’d never put much thought into it,” he said. “As we were bowling this time, people kept saying that we should do something like this, and I wanted to try it.”
Instead of adding another place to play duckpin bowling, which has different rules in addition to the altered equipment, Hagan opted to install mini-bowling lanes. The pins and balls are smaller, but the frames and rules are pretty much the same. Hagan found a company in California that could provide the equipment that met the building’s specifications.
The narrow nature of the building made regular bowling alleys next to impossible. But these smaller lanes work perfectly, Hagan said.
“The building is only so wide, and there’s a beam that runs down the middle as part of the structure. So you only have so much space,” he said. “I wanted some common space for families, and bar space. So we had to try and make this all work, and I think this does.”
In keeping with the style of the building, Hagan added light industrial decor, from the factory-style lights hanging from the ceiling to the stainless steel metalwork on the front desk and bar area.
At each of the bowling alleys, antique stadium seating added to the authentic nature of the space. The seats had originally come from Rodeheaver Auditorium at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The seats had been installed in 1947, and were sold to collectors in the 1990s.
Hagan found them at a flea market in Nashville, Tennessee.
“They ended up in a good place. Our town loves stuff like that,” he said.
Behind the bowling lanes is an arcade, where Hagan will have games such as Golden Tee, darts and pop-a-shot basketball. An eight-person foosball table will offer another activity for people to do as a group.
A bar is situated near the front of the bowling center, and concession stand food such as chips, hot dogs and other items will be available for purchase. Hagan has also partnered with nearby Greek’s Pizzeria and Tapp Room to provide additional items.
But the primary function of 10 Pins is as a bowling alley.
“We’re a bowling facility first and foremost. I just happen to have a bar. I would rather people come in and bowl, then if they want a beer or a soda or a hot dog, we can accommodate it,” Hagan said. “I’m friends with pretty much everyone who owns bars and places downtown. My goal is not to draw business away — when they’re done at your place, send them to me. And when people are done here, I’ll send them to you.”
At a glance
What: A mini-bowling center, with arcade games and other entertainment.
Where: 57 W. Monroe St., Franklin
Owner: Pat Hagan
Hours of operation: 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 3 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday.
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