More Than Just a Bowling Alley

Family Bowlaway Introduces The BackAlley for Winter Fun
For information about Family Bowlaway, check out their website at

The winter season creates a unique conundrum for those seeking fun activities in Western Pennsylvania. Our trademark fluctuating temperatures and snow, ranging from spitting rain to sheets of ice, is more than enough to make most people abandon outdoor endeavors. It can be difficult to find new activities for a cold winter night. But before you settle for family movie night yet again, a night of fun for everyone might lie right in your backyard. Nestled in Butler County awaits Family Bowlaway, a family-run bowling alley that has blossomed into a popular fun entertainment center for all ages. This company has redefined how a bowling alley looks and feels, and they show no signs of stopping.

Starting in 1954, Family Bowlaway graced the Main Street of Butler. Originally, the biggest customers for the bowling alley were mill workers needing a release after work. Owner Joe Caparosa Sr. made his little center perfect for those workers by building a bar and creating bowling leagues for them to join. However, Family Bowlaway (then called Bowlaway Lanes) changed forever when a community father asked Caparosa Sr. to teach his special needs son to bowl.

Since then, Family Bowlaway has always been set apart from the other bowling centers in the area. They host the oldest Special Olympics bowling league in the region, and take pride in their special needs bowlers. They use the latest innovations to bring new attractions to their customers. As the bowling industry becomes more family and entertainment centered, so does Family Bowlaway.

The current co-owners Kevin Caparosa and Joe Caparosa Jr. shaped the family business into something new while keeping their mission in mind. “The goal is to have people think of us differently,” Tricia Pritchard explained. Pritchard, the director of sales, marketing and events, continues to play a huge role in all the improvements. Since adding laser tag in the 90’s, Family Bowlaway has surged forward with new ideas. Over the last five years, Pritchard has worked hard to stay on top of all the exciting renovation.

The big transformation began by replacing the old bar with the 11th Frame Bar and Grille. With a family-friendly atmosphere, non-smoking environment, and vast menu, the 11th Frame brings a different feel to Family Bowlaway. It has increased business significantly and made the bowling establishment into an event center for the community. Many businesses hold meetings, team building activities, and staff dinners at the 11th Frame. It is also open to the general public for food, fun, and refreshment during a recreational day of bowling.

Desiring to improve the bowling industry for families, the staff at Family Bowlaway refuses to rest on their laurels. Right now, they are working on a brand new, never-before-seen space called The BackAlley. “We haven’t publicized [The BackAlley] yet,” Pritchard said with a chuckle. “There are a lot of moving parts that we’re trying to get a handle on.” However, Pritchard was willing to exclusively reveal some of the features of the new space.

The BackAlley is the brainchild of the Caparosa brothers with inspiration from all of the Family Bowlaway staff. Next to lane 28, The BackAlley is an event venue featuring a service bar, bocce courts, duckpin lanes, and pigskins and pins.

This space will allow Family Bowlaway to host more events for bigger parties (seating capacity for 150 guests). The space is customizable due to the mobility of every item except for the duckpin lanes. From birthday parties to company awards dinners or just a fun filled night out, Family Bowlaway can create the right atmosphere for all guests in The BackAlley!

Pritchard spoke on behalf of Family Bowlaway about their excitement over the new project. The space will give the loyal Family Bowlaway folks more activities for a fun night out. It is a great reason to come to Family Bowlaway during its most popular season, winter. “We’re warmer [than sledding or skiing]!” Pritchard shared. “Everyone can participate. There are so many options, none of the competition has what we do, and [the activities] all create lasting memories for a cheaper price.”

That’s the real secret to Family Bowlaway’s success, according to Pritchard. Unlike many businesses, Family Bowlaway is known for being mission-minded and people-focused. “Having a business that’s been a business for a long time creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere,” Pritchard explained. This emphasis on customer satisfaction certainly distinguishes them from other bowling alleys. Family Bowlaway relies on referrals for advertisement in addition to their Facebook pages and websites. “We’re very accommodating, and people like that,” Pritchard declared.

In addition to normal business days, private events, and the Special Olympics, Family Bowlaway hosts many fundraisers. These fundraisers have raised thousands of dollars for various charities. On February 21 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM, Twilight Wish is holding their event to grant wishes for senior citizens. There will be a DJ, food, soft drinks, basket raffles, and more, all for a ten-dollar donation!

It is unknown whether The BackAlley will be open for the Twilight Wish event in February. When asked about a grand opening for the new space, Pritchard replied with, “TBD. Coming soon, definitely in 2019.”

While community members are looking forward to that day, there is still plenty to do in the meantime. Family Bowlaway will continue to offer their trademark innovation, quality service, and family atmosphere. After all, Family Bowlaway is more than just a bowling alley. So when the frigid temperatures defeat the Western PA stubbornness, locals will be heading to Butler for a night of fun!