Real Estate - Commercial

Family Buys Ten Pin Alley And Break Time Property, Business

By Cece Nunn, posted Dec 1, 2015
The entertainment complex that includes Ten Pin Alley and Break Time Billiards has new owners. (Photo by Cece Nunn)
Ownership of a Wilmington bowling alley has rolled from one family to another.

The Gragos bought Ten Pin Alley and Break Time Billiards from the Herbert family on Nov. 23, paying $2.1 million for the property at 127 S. College Road, according to a New Hanover County deed. The Gragos did not disclose the financial details concerning the purchase of the business.  

Billed as a family entertainment complex, Ten Pin Alley and Break Time include 24 bowling lanes, 29 pool tables, two bars and a full-service restaurant in a 37,000-square-foot portion of what used to be Marketplace Mall, next to New Hanover County government offices.

“We are a bowling family,” Margaret Grago said Tuesday.

Margaret and her husband, James Grago Jr., moved to the Wilmington area from Rome, New York, near Syracuse, last May, she said. A couple of years ago, the Gragos had planned to build a bowling alley and skating rink in New York but shelved that possibility when their daughter, Jenna, moved to North Carolina to attend Campbell University. The whole family followed Jenna, including the Gragos’ sons, James III and Joseph, who had been running the pro shop at Ten Pin before the purchase.

When the previous owner, Steven Herbert, said he’d be interested in selling the business right away, the Gragos got the ball rolling again on the dream they left behind in New York.

Most of the family bowls; James Grago III is a member of the Professional Bowlers Association while Margaret used to teach a youth league.

“Our family is very close. That’s why it’s family owned,” Margaret Grago said.

She said the Gragos have kept the pricing the same for now and are in the process of making cosmetic changes to the business. They’re also installing a laser-light show that includes what Margaret Grago described as “Mom-approved” music videos on new flat screens. Future plans including expanding the restaurant's menu and catering services.

In addition to Ten Pin Alley and Break Time Billiards, the Gragos own ClixSense, an online advertising and rewards website.

For their latest endeavor, the Gragos hope to hold a grand opening-style celebration at Ten Pin and Break Time in January, Margaret Grago said.

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