The UK’s largest independent boutique bowling operation has confirmed plans to launch three new sites in the coming months.
Lane7, which opened its first site in Newcastle in 2013 and now has late night bowling and gaming venues across England and Scotland says it will open a new flagship Leicester site imminently, with openings in Manchester and Bristol to follow.
The ambitious move comes at a time with those in the leisure and hospitality industry suffering the strictest of the Government’s Covid-19 social distancing restrictions.
The enforced six month closure of all six of its late night bowling and gaming sites between March and August had put a temporary freeze on the group’s long term growth plans, but founder and owner, Tim Wilks says they’re keen to maintain a positive mindset despite the fresh 10pm curfew measures being put in place.
He explained. “As an industry, we’ve experienced the toughest and most painful period imaginable. Openings in Leicester, Manchester and Bristol have been long in the planning for us and, without Covid19, I’m confident most of these sites would have been open by now.
“We’ve been dealt the toughest hand possible in trying to maintain commitment to these sites during a period without trade on existing sites, so we’re excited to be in a position to now press on.
“Watching other leisure facilities open while bowling alleys had to remain closed was tough to stomach. Whilst we know trading conditions will remain challenging, we’re keen to get on the front foot and extend the Lane7 experience to big cities across the UK.”
Since opening its first ten-lane site across three floors in Newcastle city centre, Lane7 has gone on to open sites across Scotland and England, with its last new opening coming in Sheffield just before Christmas 2019. The new openings are expected to create a number of localised new full and part time positions.
The opening in Leicester, due next month, is on the site of the city’s old train station and marks the company’s most ambitious project to date. There will be a number of independent street food style shipping containers added as part of the site. The dramatic redevelopment is part of a new £50m Great Central Square regeneration scheme in the city. “The amount of times we’ve been able to start development work, and then been forced to stop has been a commercial frustration shared with everyone in Leicester in recent months,” added Wilks.
Lane7 has also revealed that it is the chosen partner for the Great Northern Warehouse leisure development on Manchester’s Deansgate, meaning they will soon take up the site being vacated by All Star Lanes. The site in Bristol, in the popular Harbourside leisure district, marks the group’s Southernmost spot in its growing portfolio and is expected to be open early in the New Year.
Wilks added: “It’s huge thanks to the understanding of our delivery partners and stakeholders at each site that we’ve been able to return in such a positive manner. We have to stay cautious and understand there may well be more tough times ahead, but we’re really excited to be oiling the lanes again and bringing our unique brand of late night entertainment to more cities across the UK.”