Boutique bowling venue Lane7 is to boost its workforce by a third within months of opening, through plans to expand its operations.
Since opening in central Newcastle in October last year, the contemporary two-floored venue has been a huge hit on the North East entertainment scene attracting night-time revellers, children’s parties and corporate team building days.
Entrepreneur and owner Tim Wilks created 30 jobs through the bowling alley’s creation, having invested some £750,000 into the business.
Now a further 10 posts are to be created and another £100,000 is to be ploughed into expansion plans which will see Wilks open the 10,000 sq ft basement next month.
The basement will be named The Ball Room and will work on the changing lines of a pop-up venue with differing themes.
Property developer Wilks said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the response since opening.
“The time is right to expand into the basement. However, this isn’t going to just be ‘more of the same’.
“We have some definite ideas about what we’re going to launch with in mid-April in the Ball Room. And its not just going to be more bowling. Yes, we are adding two more lanes, but we’ve also got some great new ideas that will be given the typical Lane7 treatment.”
Wilks, who plans to open similar businesses in other cities should Lane7 in Newcastle prove successful, hit upon the idea of a boutique bowling alley after visiting others in far flung places.
They are hugely successful in the US and Scandinavia, but aren’t plentiful in the UK as few cities have the capacity to handle the size of the bowling lanes.
Wilks, winner of the Siberian Black Ice 400-mile challenge in 2012, added: “I think the best way to describe the Ball Room will be as a chameleon space. It has all been designed to change with our mood and also to fit into major worldwide or national events. Nothing will last very long though, and we’re all ears on what else people might like to enjoy down there.”
While staying tight-lipped about its first incarnation, Wilks did concede that plans are already finalised to turn it into a Bavarian-style Bierkeller in time of the upcoming football World Cup in June and July, showing every game on HD large screens.
Located on St James’ Boulevard in Newcastle, Lane7 has been described as having a ‘Manhattan warehouse’ style feel to it and has been a popular venue for photoshoots, product launches and corporate meetings.
Wilks predicts the Ball Room in the basement will also be used for private parties, celebrations and even wedding ceremonies.