The Kickoff – As part of Virginia Union University’s Homecoming events, SoulBowl will bring sophisticated nightlife and networking to AMF Shrader Lanes on Saturday, Oct. 18. From 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., the Lanes will be transformed into an Urban Lounge with upscale ambience bringing together urban professionals, leisure, live music, a DJ, soul food buffet, billiards, casino games, and of course, bowling. All skill levels are welcome.
The Kingpins – Soulbowl was created in 2007 by two alums of Virginia Military Institute, Johnathan Mayo and Lester Johnson. The entrepreneurial friends were seeking a fun and unique alternative to nightclubs for African American professionals. Their concept hit the jackpot.
Bowled Over – SoulBowl caught on quickly, and a wide age range of folks 21 and older enjoy the event. Co-founder Johnathan Mayo says, “That’s another neat thing about it, seeing people of all ages out there and having a good time.” The nation’s largest bowling company, AMF, recently signed a national partnership with SoulBowl Lounge to bring the event to their Bowling Centers across the country. Spokespersons for AMF management say they responded to SoulBowl’s positivity, its focus on community, and its originality. SoulBowl now has bi-monthly events in North Carolina and Virginia. Plans include expansion into Texas, Georgia, and Florida by early 2009, and rapid branching out to between thirty and fifty markets across the country.
Fundraising Alley – Since its launch, SoulBowl Lounge has collectively helped to raise about $20,000 for organizations and charities including Richmond Black Media Professionals, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Urban League Young Professionals, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and other civic and professional organizations. Many charities and clubs say its complete concept makes SoulBowl a good option for organizations seeking an exciting yet simple fundraising event. “Some people may not know about the charitable component,” says Johnathan. “But the event was really created number one, to raise money and awareness for non-profit organizations. We’ve been working with non-profits a little more than ten years now to raise money. Number two was to provide adults with an alternative to the night club scene.”
SoulBowl Informs – Future plans include implementing workshops to educate the public. “What we’re focusing on for next year, are three primary social issues, which are education, financial literacy, and health and wellness,” Johnathan says. The idea is to host a workshop during the day, and SoulBowl that night.
Soul Change – For one night, you may not recognize your neighborhood AMF Lanes. When you roll up at the SoulBowl Lounge, candles and decorations will greet your arrival. Then, in the House of Cards, you can get in on an organized spades tournament. In the Corner Pockets section, play or watch pool. On the Sound Stage, enjoy the live band and DJ as they play your favorite mix of R&B, hip hop, and soul music all night.
Delivery Counts – SoulBowl is leisurely yet sophisticated, for adults 21 and older. A basic dress code applies. No white tees, athletic wear, short-shorts, or excessively baggy clothing.
SoulBowl tickets are $25 in advance and include shoe rental, bowling, billiards, card games, soul food buffet, and live music. AMF Shrader Lanes, 8037 Shrader Rd. www.SoulBowlLounge.com