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Bowling Alleys Coming To Macy’s? Really?

These days anyone who knows anything about physical retail knows that the big money is all in building the experience for consumers. The physical store in some ways can’t compete with online shopping for convenience because it doesn’t really get more convenient than shopping in one’s pajamas in bed. Brick-and-mortar shops, on the other hand, make leaving the house worthwhile for customers if they can build a suitably fun, interesting or engaging experience for them while they shop.

Which leads to the interesting new plans for the redevelopment of downtown Philly’s, which may include an upscale bowling alley as an entertainment option.

Bowling? The Dude would approve, but why?

Well, traditional bowling alleys are losing favor and closing at an alarming rate. But the sport holds on in upscale or “boutique bowling alleys” that are apparently hipper than their older counterparts.

“The higher-end bowling alleys relate to a younger clientele,” said Randy Mineo, executive vice president of Philadelphia’s Core Realty, which is redeveloping the 13-story Macy’s building.

Apart from bowling like a cool kid, the new Macy’s will also reportedly include a 155-room hotel, as well as 311 upscale apartments above that. About 600 parking spaces are planned for the third and fourth floors. Retailers will occupy the first two floors.

The high-end bowling alley, which is not a set in stone as part of the design as of yet, would include plush couches, state of the art AV equipment and upscale food and drink options.

And, bowling.

“Any sort of added amenity would be of real interest to people living and working downtown. I imagine it would be very successful,” said Leigh White, spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, according to Trib Live.

“Bowling is dying because kids have so much to do these days. When I was 10, the only thing I had to do in the winter was bowl. Now, there’s indoor soccer, indoor baseball, indoor track, you name it,” said Glenn Bell, 53, manager of Arsenal Bowl in Lawrenceville.

So can bowling with an upgrade keep physical retail going? It seems like a strange pairing, but then again, lucky strikes do happen.

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