Volume 1, Issue 12
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
Many people support the communities they live in. Sometimes that community is based on location. I personally like having my grocery store a mile away, because I never remember everything I need, even when I write it all down. The commonsense approach is to buy cars and other big items in your town because then your tax dollars go to work at home. And if I don't know someone from my "first community," that's a wise choice. But my first community revolves around bowling.
Using the same logic, staying within the bowling community really makes sense. By using the services of bowlers, I am keeping the money within my community. Also there's the built-in reputation factor. With connections from other bowlers, I can get a solid recommendation to nearly any type of business. I face these people every week; I know I can trust their advice. A $500 car repair is going to sound a lot better coming from a friend than it is from Joe's Auto Repair.
While we don't actually have a bowler/mechanic, my husband bowled with a woman who wholesales auto parts. It's pretty common during league to see someone walking around with a parts catalog. So we get the parts at a very reasonable price, and have a neighbor who works from home install them. I guess that's supporting both communities.
When the air conditioner acted up last month, I got nearly instant advice from an online bowler who works for an A/C company, until I could get a hold of a leaguemate who works for a local company. While the company quoted weeks to get an appointment during our lovely 110-degree heatwave, our friend came over after a 60-hour workweek, and installed the motor on his own time. The fact he could knock off $200 from what his company charges helped too.
Before you begin to think of only blue-collar trades, I found my son's pediatrician before Michael was born. Dr. Saul was well-recognized as a pediatrician, but that's not why I picked him. I picked him because he made house calls--to bowling houses. I was a college student working in the bowling center playroom when this bowler walked in with two bags--his bowling bag in one hand and the doctor bag in the other. He checked on a girl who'd been in his office earlier in the week with an ear ache. He won my heart (and any future business) then and there.
Years ago, right out of juniors, I became secretary for a new league. The president of that league coached juniors with us, and we bowled many leagues together afterwards. When I went into business for myself, and the standard 1040A wasn't going to cut it, he became our CPA. He felt sorry that after expenses I made nothing the first year, and charged MUCH less than his going rate. Within a few years, we had referred several accounts to him, including nonbowlers.
My husband recently started a home publishing/design company, and was asked to design business cards and shirt logos for a fledgling pro shop. While he was looking for a printing company to punch out the cards, another bowler offered to donate the card stock and printing for free as well. The pro shop is off to a nice start, and the pro shop gave my husband two balls and mapped them out for him. Then my husband took the equipment back to our regular driller and paid him to do the drilling, even though the new pro shop would have drilled them for free.
I've asked around for a day or so, and among other friends, I've heard of bowlers who work in bailbonds (hoping I NEVER need that one), auto detailing, computer sales/repair/you name it, real estate (and related services), car sales, sports card trading, landscaping, insurance, and hairstyling. I've had two hairstylists that were either bowlers or spouses of bowlers. A friend who does embroidery has helped me out in more ways than one, all in exchange for a little promotion.
These are the people you should consider to sponsor your teams. These businesspeople actually have advertising budgets, and who for the cost of sponsor's fee, team shirts, or both could reach new business. The point here is to be referring them business long before you approach them for the sponsorship. You help them out, and it makes them much easier when it comes time to help you. My advice is this: Keep it in the family. You'll be doing bowling a favor, and you're more than likely to be happier in the long run.