In 1961, a piece of property was purchased for $200.

In 1961, a piece of property was purchased for $200.

For the last half-century, there has been a bowling alley on the site off Main Street at 5499 Constitution Blvd.

“I don’t know all of the names,” said Sarah Garland. Over the years, it was Sunset Lanes, Countryside Lanes and Northwest Lanes when Garland bought the business five years ago. Now it’s called Ten Pin Alley, and it is what is known in the industry as a “boutique” bowling alley.

“The boutique-style bowling alley is kind of a step up from your traditional bowling alley,” said Andy Beougher, who handles marketing for Ten Pin Alley. Boutique-style bowling alleys typically have fewer lanes (16 for Ten Pin), fancier food, lane-side service and more amenities such as sofas than the larger bowling centers.

“Over the past six years, this upscale boutique-style bowling has really taken root in some of the larger cities across the country and around the world,” Beougher said. “There are some extremely fancy bowling centers over in Europe, as well as in new York and Chicago.”

Garland said another change is in who is bowling.

“At least 25 percent of our business is corporate parties,” she said. “Companies come here and they do team-building, celebrations. I don’t think that was going on 20 years ago, but it certainly is now.”

Unlike corporate golf outings, bowling is something everyone can do and be together in one place, Garland said.

While league play is still important, Ten Pin Alley doesn’t have it on the weekends.

“When I was young, I grew up close to Fiesta Lanes,” Upper Arlington resident Garland said. “You could never get on a lane. There were always leagues going on. Weekends are for families and date nights, so we eliminated the weekend leagues about three years ago.”

Also three years ago, Ten Pin Alley updated the software on their automatic scoring system and installed bumpers on all the lanes. Garland said the bumpers are popular with children and special needs groups.

While the recent trend for bowling centers has been to use low-maintenance synthetic lanes, Ten Pin Alley still has old-fashioned wood lanes.

“They look great, they sound great,” Garland said. “I think that it’s part of our charm.”

Many bowling centers have another activity for its patrons. In the case of Ten Pin Alley, it’s sand volleyball. However, Garland said her boutique won’t be changing into a larger family entertainment centers with arcades, laser tag and the like.

“They’re all very interesting and you can see why bowling is coming back,” Garland said. However, “we will not turn this into a family entertainment center. We like the intimacy of this.”

Ten Pin Alley’s 22 employees celebrated the building’s 50th anniversary recently with free bowling.

“It’s been fun working with the community and the kids, teachers, the different school programs, the YMCA,” Garland said. “It’s not like going to the dentist. These people come here to have fun. We feel lucky to be in such a nice suburb.”