WAUKESHA — Bowling pins and rented shoes have been a part of Jaelynn Hoehnen’s life since she was a kid.
“It’s definitely different and you meet a lot of new people and people who become like family,” Jaelynn Hoehnen said.
She will take over the majority of the operating duties of Sunset Bowl Entertainment Center, 333 W. Sunset Drive, from her father, Mike Hoehnen, in July. He has owned Sunset Bowl since 1999 but worked there in 1994 before purchasing it. The center has been around since around 1966. Mike said he bought the center because he wanted to keep bowling in Waukesha. He noticed centers were closing everywhere.
“I hope we (his daughter and son) can keep these centers from closing in the future. We used to have five or six bowling centers in Waukesha,” he said.
Mike Hoehnen is not fully retiring but taking a step back. He said his daughter Jaelynn has learned the business over the past few years and has an interest in it.
“This has been in the works for a while and the plan. I finished college last year so we started it right after that,” she said.
The Carroll University graduate earned a degree in business administration.
There are four other siblings besides Jaelynn. Her eldest brother is currently in charge of Sussex Bowl. He will take over the family-owned Foxx View Lanes Bowling Alley by the end of the year.
She said she was fortunate to learn from her dad and other managers there.
“My dad was my mentor. He taught me I needed to be there all the time. Being on site and present is the number one important thing. He taught me I had to have a work ethic or I won’t make it,” Jaelynn Hoehnen said.
She said her dad taught her to be hands-on when it comes to running a business.
“Don’t be a hands-off person (in business) because that won’t work for you,” she said.
Sunset Bowl Entertainment Center is a USBC-Association Bowling Center offering recreational bowling and bowling leagues. The center features a 24-lane bowling alley with automatic scoring and automatic bumpers and ramps for novice bowlers.
Jaelynn Hoehnen said the popularity of bowling has dipped, but things such as youth leagues and high school bowling are coming back stronger than ever.
“It is picking back up,” she said.
Moonlight or midnight bowling is still popular, which Jaelynn credits to Wisconsin winters.
“Its something to do inside during the winter and people can hang with their friends. It is good for all age groups,” she said.
Inside Sunset Bowl there is an APS Pro Bowl Shop and two bar areas featuring pool tables and dart boards. There are food menu and beverages along with daily specials. The center also offers Learn to Bowl Lessons for those just beginning or just getting back to bowling.
Her plans for the future are to improve the parking lot and increase outdoor activities in the warmer months. The inside of the bowling alley has been remodeled over the years and always is a work in progress.
“You will always see remodeling and improving but nothing drastic,” Jaelynn said. She said the food in the bowling has improved over the years.
“We have a phenomenal kitchen staff here and in today’s world it is very hard to find cooks. We have incredible cooks here,” Jaelynn Hoehnen said.
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