Mar. 6—HENDERSON — The once vibrant alleys of Carolina Lanes off the Interstate 85/U.S. 158 Bypass came back to life on Friday as Before the First Frame Henderson formally opened their doors to the public after months of hard work and delays.
Owner Chris Hans had people waiting to get inside the building at 10 a.m. Friday morning, which he believes is a positive sign of Before the First Frame's potential to be a staple of Vance County as he and his staff continue to make improvements.
"It's been a long process since we started work back in September," Hans said. "We're tidying up some loose ends and there are still some other things that we want to do with the property, but it's a big relief to finally start letting people in and getting everything going in the right direction."
Prior to opening the bowling alley in Henderson, Hans operated the Before the First Frame pro shop in Rocky Mount, which sold a full line of bowling balls, bags, shoes and other accessories.
Hans believes that the acquisition of Carolina Lanes from previous owner Benton Hight was the next logical step for his company. His goal is to create an atmosphere at Before the First Frame Henderson that puts equal focus on providing high-quality bowling and amenities.
"We really placed a great emphasis on food quality and creativity," Hans said. "We're going to have some items that are designed for a group sharing kind of thing, and we'll also have some menu items that cater to corporate outings."
Hans was also able to get a beer permit for Before the First Frame finalized Thursday, and plans to offer several different draft beers to residents of Henderson and the surrounding areas along with a selection of bottles and IPA cans.
In regards to bowling, Hans and his staff have installed an instructional system known as Specto that provides digital feedback on different aspects of a game and how players can fine-tune their performance to achieve better scores in the future.
"When you throw the ball down the lane, the Specto sensor can tell you what board you actually hit and where the ball hit the pins," Hans said. "It gives you your rev rate, which are the RPMs off your hand. For serious bowlers, these are tools that can really be used to take a look at your game and see the areas that you need to improve on."
Hans's vision for what Before the First Frame Henderson can be for the community extends far beyond technological and atmospheric improvements, as he is currently searching for methods that will enable local students to take up an active interest in bowling.
"We really want to get a youth program going," Hans said. "It's hard to get a program started like that with no foundation. It's been several years since there was a youth program here, so we're going to take the time to recruit kids for the program and we want to get that started in the fall."
Hans is excited about what Before the First Frame can offer Henderson from a cultural standpoint and plans to make announcements regarding live entertainment and other special events in the near future.