Mark Shiraishi said he’s been bowling since he was 8 years old.
‘My dad was a bowler,” he recalled. “I remember him going every Wednesday night” to play at the Golden Gate Lanes in El Cerrito.
Today, Shiraishi is the proprietor of Dorn Niendorf’s Pro Shop, LLC, the bowling shop that recently relocated to Napa Bowl.
The store, originally co-owned by Shiraishi and the late Dorn Niendorf, used to be inside Kentwig Lanes in Vallejo.
Kentwig Lanes closed in 2016, and Shiraishi was subsequently invited to lease a small space inside Napa Bowl.
Owning a bowling pro shop isn’t about making tons of money, said Shiraishi, who lives in Richmond and commutes to Napa. It’s about the people, he said.
“I could be making more money as a union carpenter, but money is not what drives me.”
1. What’s happening with bowling these days?
The bowling centers are disappearing one by one. It’s big back East but bowling has died out on the West Coast. It’s a blue-collar sport. The real estate is worth more than the business. A huge thing that’s changed for us is the Internet. That’s another reason why you don’t see as many pro shops.
2. What do you like best about Napa Bowl?
I like that it’s family owned and not corporation owned. Even though it’s an older center, they’re always doing upgrades.
Just recently, they installed new LED lights in the pin decks. Now they are able to change the color of the pins. They are upgrading their computer systems. They have a massive game room.
It’s really kid-friendly, which is good because they are the future of bowling.
3. What’s a common misconception you get about your shop?
That I’m a professional bowler.
4. What’s your bowling average?
I can hold my own. My average was 200.
A professional average would be in the 230s.
5. What was your first job?
Grocery store bag boy, Richmond.
6. What’s on your to-do list?
Attend the Indy 500.
7. Who do you most admire in the business world?
8. If you could change one thing about your business/industry, what would it be?
Higher pricing has forced many bowlers out of the game. So lower cost for games and equipment.
9. What was your childhood ambition?
To become a contractor/developer.
10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?