By KEVIN BRADYThere’s no great secret to the success of The Alley at Shore South, a favorite for thousands of local residents for more than a decade.
“We are a family entertainment center. We’re owned by a family, and we’re run like a family business, so we try to be very selective, if you will, with the things that we have in the center and the events that we (host); the things that we endorse,” said Faith Hanaway, events and sales manager at The Alley on Big Bend Road which draws some 168,000 guests a year.
“We are very behind things that are very family driven. We’re active with the YMCA and the Riverview Chamber, of course. All the things that we choose to associate with really drive home our core values of honesty, integrity, service, accountability, excellence and respect for others.”
Opened in 2008, the Riverview complex boasts:
The myriad entertainment offerings are also no small part of The Alley’s success. Hanaway added, “We have a huge arcade and pool tables; we have the 24 regular lanes, we have the private meeting rooms, we have the eight-lane VIP bowling suite, an ice cream parlor and the a full service restaurant. It’s all under one roof, which is pretty awesome.”
The Alley is owned by the Boje family, famous for its entertainment centers in St. Louis and Brandon. Bill and Gloria Boje built their first bowling sports entertainment center in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1959.
Darcie Slone runs the restaurant, which can seat up to 150 diners. A family-first philosophy is what drives The Alley’s success, she said.
“We have things for every age and really shoot more toward family and getting kids involved,” explained Slone, who has been working at The Alley for seven years and for the Boje family for 23 years.
The Alley has also become a favored meeting spot for local civic groups. A typical day might see Hanaway and her crew host a “Mommy & Me Unicorn Tea Party,” a Kiwanis Club meeting or a South Shore Realtor meet up. The entertainment center also hosts birthday parties.
“We try to make ourselves a good steward of the community,” said Hanaway.
The Alley’s success has not gone unnoticed. The company took home the award for Business of the Year (with over 20 employees) at this year’s Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce awards in January.
Debbie Prescott coordinates South Shore Realtor Pitch, a group that for more than five years has met every Thursday at The Alley.
“They are very flexible and accommodating, and provide you a lot of value for your dollar with convenient food and drinks,” Prescott said. “They are wonderful to work with.” For more information about Prescott’s group, call 813-334-0903.
The Alley’s employees are the X factor when it comes to the center’s success. “You can teach a skill set, but you can’t teach somebody how to be personable and friendly and kind, and we are blessed with having a team of people here that keeps the building together. It’s all one great big team here that has that skill set: that smile, that welcome, that way of treating people the way they want to be treated. And that’s what keeps us going. The people who run the building, the people who make the heart of the building, are our employees.”
The Alley at South Shore is open Sunday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to midnight. It is open from 9 a.m. to 2.30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information about The Alley, 10221 Big Bend Road, call 813-672-8353.