MARSHALL - Marshall Bowl has a new employee - a soft, cuddly bear named Bumper.
Bumper Bear is part of an expansion project Bruce and Kris Shover have made called Bumper's Irresisti-Bowl Arcade and Bear Factory.
The new endeavor combines some old and new ideas.
Photo by Jodelle Greiner
Marshall Bowl co-owner Bruce Shover, right, looks on as the bowling alley’s new mascot, “Bumper,” tries one of the new arcade games.
The Shovers took out the lounge - "It wasn't being used real often," Bruce said - and moved the three arcade games they had into the space and obtained 15 new games.
"Deal or No Deal, Slam a Winner, Dozer, and Cyclone are the big ones," Bruce said. "Wonderwheel and Smokin' Token are popular, too."
And not just with the kids.
"We've actually had, late at night, some parents come in to play the games," Bruce said.
The Shovers expanded the prize selection, too.
"There's a big redemption area," Bruce said. "We used to have just a few little trinkets under the counter."
"We'd wanted to get a mascot for a while," Kris said. Bruce wanted a 9-foot bowling pin, but Kris objected.
"When I went to the Fun Expo trade show in Las Vegas, they said you want a cuddly mascot," Bruce said. "My daughter, Brandi, and I picked out what we liked, showed them to Kris and said 'Which one?'"
"So we got a cuddly Panda bear," Kris said.
"Bumper comes to all the parties and will be at the (county) fair, too," Bruce said.
The Shovers also built a room for birthday parties.
"We have many options for birthday parties now," Kris said.
One of those options is a bear factory party. Kids can pick the animal they want (there's even one of Bumper) in different sizes, use the stuffing machine to fill it so it feels just right, and can drop in a wish star or a voice box "like for a cat," said Bruce, before closing it up.
Then they can choose what outfit to put on the animal. The animal comes with a box and a "birth certificate" that the child can fill out.
The Shovers have operated Marshall Bowl for 16 years, said Kris, and are always looking to improve.
"We always use the summer to expand and grow," she said. "Hopefully, they keep coming out to see what we're doing differently."