‘Bowling entertainment center’ to open this month

Is it a bowling alley? An arcade? A restaurant? A sports bar?

 

The Stars and Strikes entertainment center opening in two weeks at North Leg Plaza shopping center is all of the above. But it’s also a corporate event venue that offers laser tag, escape rooms and a bumper car ring.

“Other places are doing some of these things, but we’re bringing it all under one roof and taking it to another level,” said Jack Canouse, managing partner of Alpharetta, Ga.-based Stars and Strikes, which is scheduled to open its 55,000-square-foot Augusta facility Nov. 17.

The 24-lane “bowling entertainment” complex is in the final stages of construction at 3242 Wrightsboro Road, where it will operate in space previously occupied by the Big Lots liquidation store and Aaron’s rental center. Canouse and business partner Chris Albano acquired the 118,000-square-foot shopping center through an affiliated company last year.

The partnership will have invested more than $6.8 million into the property by the time the first frame is bowled, Canouse said, making it the largest comprehensive family entertainment center in metro Augusta since Adventure Crossing, which closed in 2016.

“We knew we wanted to be in Augusta,” Canouse said. “This is only our second (Georgia) location outside of the Atlanta area.”

Stars and Strikes opened its 10th center last month in Huntsville, Ala. The Augusta center will feature the chain’s largest arcade-game floor, along with a multilevel 3,800-square-foot laser tag arena and three escape rooms – one of which has a cyber-related theme. The escape rooms won’t open until January to ensure employees have adequate training time.

Canouse and Albano, longtime friends and neighbors, started the company in 2003. Their concept has drawn comparisons to the Dave & Buster’s chain, but Canouse said that Dallas-based company primarily appeals to adults under 35 and doesn’t have bowling lanes, bumper cars or laser tag.

“We have a lot more family appeal,” Canouse said. “We probably do more birthday parties, and they probably sell more beer.”

The Stars and Strikes kitchen will provide food service for its full-service restaurant, two private party rooms and a 160-seat corporate event/meeting room.

A full-service bar with 10 beers on tap will separate the center’s 16 standard bowling lanes from an eight-lane VIP section featuring table service. Both sides will have 100-inch television monitors and couch-style seating with charging stations for cellphones and other devices.

The company appeals to both the youth and adult markets, and Canouse said its policies are designed to ensure one doesn’t disrupt the other. After 8 p.m., for example, no children are allowed in unless accompanied by an adult.

“This isn’t going to be a teenager hangout,” he said.

The company is paying the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to staff the facility with one uniformed deputy on weekdays and three on weekends.

Stars and Strikes anticipates hiring 100 workers. Applications are being accepted through the employment portal on the company’s website.

 

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3352 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.

 

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