Latest in a long list of acquisitions by hotel, spa, resort and fitness giant Threadbone Leisure Ltd, is the take-over of the Absolutely Rank Bowls Company by their well-regarded Threadmills gym division. By purchasing the failing bowling alley business for a mere £3 - and, in fairness, inhering thereby many hundreds of thousands of pounds [aka "a shedload", Sydling St Nicholas Sun "Pink Pages" Finance Special] of debt - Threadbone Leisure has, according to sector expert Upmai Alli, taken a significant gamble by investing in a niche market heavily hit by CONTRIK-69 shutdowns and less than adequate business bailouts.
However, Threadbone Leisure bosses have been quick to re-brand, revamp and relaunch the franchise, incorporating in their master plan for it what marketing experts believe is a novel and potentially huge money-making twist.
After appointing adult entertainment guru and former Stringbonefellows CEO - Wesme Snatch - as chief consultant to the newly formed Threadbowls Board, Threadbone Corporation chief Mrs Amanda J Threadbone believes that she and her colleagues have stolen a march on the competition and is more than confident that things can be turned around. "Though I do not always get involved in the detail * - especially when the business is one that I do not already know inside out, I am certain that whatever idea Wesme comes up with, it will be thrilling, unexpected, tasteful, appropriate, family-oriented and above all lucrative. He hasn't let me down yet"
For the record, this is completely untrue [Ed]
So just what is the big idea and is it all - as industry insiders say - "still under wraps"?
"Far from it", says our ten-pin bowling correspondent, Steyne Lane, who was invited to the opening night of the newly refurbished Threadbowls Emporium at the Winterborne Monkton Leisure Centre: "absolutely nothing and especially the paying participants, were "under wraps", he reports. "The inaugural Wednesday Night Is Naked Bowls Night, went down a storm with all concerned", Mr Ali goes on. "Once news leaked out, there were queues round the block both to take part and to watch". As a result, he feels sure that the enterprise will flourish - and may even be extended soon to include Monday Night Is Naked Bowls Night and then Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday Night as well. Appropriate to the Lord's Day and to avoid controversy, Sunday will, however, remain sacrosanct, "with nothing beyond topless" allowed.
The unique - for ten-pin bowling - pricing structure [women free, male players £100 and spectators £150-£300 depending on proximity to the hand blowers] shows all the hallmarks of Mr Snatch's hands-on approach, borrowing ideas he developed and implemented during his involvement with the Stringbonefellows pole- and lap-dancing business. As he quipped to assembled reporters - "it's the same sort ballpark but with bigger balls ... and if you know what the public wants, it's not difficult to keep them happy". "Men of all ages seem to be particularly interested with many of them saying they hope to make - or at the very least witness - a full-frontal strike before the evening is concluded".