Oxford Lanes strikes up smiles
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 23:09
Located just outside Miami University’s campus, family owned and operated bowling alley Oxford Lanes has been serving its community for over fifty years. It has been in its current location, 4340 Oxford Reily Rd., since 1963.
When the Shriver Center was built in 1957, it contained a bowling alley in the lower level. Since renovations of the building removed the on-campus alley, Oxford Lanes was a nearby alternative for students looking to bowl.
With 12 lanes and a variety of programs, Oxford Lanes has something for everyone. From bowling leagues to birthday parties, club fundraisers and philanthropies, Oxford Lanes is a staple in community entertainment.
The alley has been under the ownership of Andrew Nieman for the past ten years and is run by a team of just six employees, most of whom are family members.
A big source of business for the alley is the wide variety of bowling leagues it offers. Monday and Wednesdays are men’s league, two co-ed leagues alternate every other Sunday and women’s league competes Tuesday nights and Thursday mornings, according to employee Abby Terry. However, Terry said the most popular league is the fraternity bowling league.
“We get eight different fraternities out here competing each week,” Terry said.
Terry added, many fraternities and sororities incorporate a visit to Oxford Lanes in their agenda for Mom’s and Dad’s Weekends. Residence halls rent out lanes for programs as well.
Another group that utilizes Oxford Lanes is Miami’s own co-ed bowling team. Now entering their third year on campus, the bowling team can be found practicing Monday and Wednesday nights at Oxford Lanes.
The team has an agreement with the alley in which they get two hours of use on the first two lanes for practice, and the first four lanes if they have an especially large turnout. Club dues cover the cost of lane rental, which comes out to about $4 to $5 a session, a discount compared to regular rates.
President and co-founder of the bowling team, Aaron Baker said since Miami’s campus does not have a bowling alley of its own, the team relies on Oxford Lanes.
Miami junior Raven Comer, who joined the team last year after bowling with her family and competing in high school, said she enjoys practicing at Oxford Lanes.
“It’s nice because it’s never too crowded.” Comer said.
According to Baker, Nieman had great hospitality toward the bowling team. Baker said during his first year on the team, Nieman took him and other team members behind the scenes and showed them the ins and outs of the alley.
“He had us place the pins where we thought they should go, then showed us how the machine does it. There are 18 inches between pins, but when you’re far away down the lane, they look a lot closer,” Baker said.
Baker said organizations like the bowling team are a great way to tie Miami students to local businesses in their community.
“Hopefully [Oxford Lanes] like it too, because it introduces a new generation of bowlers to them,” Baker said.
Terry said both Oxford and Miami students frequent Oxford Lanes.
In regards to business, Terry said although the community plays a large role, Miami students outnumber local residents.
“While people who are native to the area are more consistent visitors, there are so many more Miami students that they account for a lot of our business,” Terry said.
Oxford Lanes participates in a program with Talawanda Schools in which students, who get out early one Wednesday each month, can choose to spend that free time bowling. Set up by the Oxford’s Parks and Recreation Department, the program allows students to bowl from 2 p.m.to 4 p.m. and receive pizza and a drink.
Beginning in 2008, Zeta Tau Alpha and Sigma Nu have partnered to host an event at Oxford Lanes called “Strike Out Breast Cancer,” to raise awareness and funds for the disease. Teams pay a registration fee and then can enjoy open bowling, with food and drinks available for purchase from the bowling alley as well.
Sophomores Laura Harsch and Katie Rohrscheib participated last year and said they agreed that not only was it a good way to give back, but a good way to connect with the community.
Rohrscheib said the trip to the bowling alley was fun because it allowed her to leave campus and do something different for a change.
Those interested can stop by Oxford Lanes Friday or Saturday night for glow-in-the-dark bowling, or call ahead on weekdays to ask about lane availability.