From meeting at a bowling centre to owning it

By Tenpin Bowling Australia
April 5, 2022

Sunraysia Tenpin has been a pastime for members of the Garioch family since they can remember.

Husband and wife Rob and Lisa Garioch from Mildura had been bowling at the Centre since it first opened. Rob started working at the centre in the mid-1980s while Lisa was a birthday party hostess, at that stage they didn’t know each other.

Fast forward and with three daughters, the Garioch’s made the decision in 2004 to purchase Sunraysia Tenpin because they were both so involved and didn’t want to see bowling disappear in Mildura.

“We could see potential in the business with a few changes. We took the leap and here we are today,” Rob said.

“Over the years we have made many changes aesthetically as well as some bigger improvements from changing to synthetic lanes, swapping out the old machines, upgrades to computer scoring as well as general changeups around the centre,” he added.

The Garioch’s were regulars at Sunraysia with their daughters practically growing up in the centre. From their capsules being under a bench as babies while their parents bowled to being party hostesses then working at the centre after Rob and Lisa purchased the centre.

All three represented Victoria through their junior years with Jess Garioch bowling a 300 and winning the 2008 Australian Junior Masters. Two of the children live in Western Australia while Jess still lives locally and donates her time occasionally when her parents need an extra hand.

“None of the girls bowl anymore which is sad because they were all talented juniors…Maybe one day they will make comebacks or move back and take over the business one day,” Rob said.

18 years in the business – The Garioch family at Sunraysia Tenpin Bowl

While the past two years haven’t been easy – Sunraysia was closed for a total of 42 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic – they have made it out on the other side and count themselves lucky in light of other local small businesses in town.

“Our staff have been amazing in sticking with us through it all. We know there are some centres that have not or will not reopen so I suppose we are lucky in the scheme of things,” Rob commented.

“We are very sad for centres like Gympie and Lismore having gone through COVID-19 and recently the devastating floods. We wish them the best of luck.”

Owning a bowling centre is still something Rob and Lisa both enjoy especially when they get to see the smiles it puts on people’s faces. From the young children bowling for the first time and knocking pins over to the league bowler.

The Sunraysia owners love being able to interact with their bowlers on the lanes.

“Bowling does not discriminate, whether you are young, old or have a disability, anyone can bowl,” Rob said. “Our special needs league are super competitive but have the most fun.

“When Vision Australia brings in clients to bowl it blows us away with their skills and determination. We love bowling as a sport because you can be competitive from a very young age and also stay competitive as you get older.”