Fairview Business Initiative – August 2014: Toppler Bowl


Toppler Dave

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Toppler Bowl scores big in Fairview

For nearly 50 years, Fairview has been home to a distinctive family-run recreational facility at the heart of this community: Toppler Bowl. It’s hard to believe it, but owners and Fairview residents Dave and Lesley Sanderson occasionally hear a local resident say they didn’t even know there was a bowling alley in their community! Well, we became so enchanted with Toppler Bowl that we’re going to spread the word.

Dave got heavily into bowling over 50 years ago and competed seriously in 5-pin bowling. He won the provincial championship in Manitoba six times and once in Alberta and also won the national championship in 1985. His highest score? A perfect game of 450, of course. He has came close again scoring 448 three times, leaving just one corner pin each time!

Over 20 years ago, a close friend purchased a Calgary bowling alley that Dave managed for a few years. Then, 19 years ago, the opportunity to purchase Toppler Bowl came up and Dave and Lesley took advantage of the opportunity becoming the fifth owners of the alley. The alley at that time had its struggles, but they saw the potential and knew that by establishing strong relationships with customers and bowling groups and by strengthening their ties to youth bowling, that Toppler Bowl could do great things.

The bowling industry has certainly taken its hits over the years and has to compete heavily with a myriad of other sports and recreational activities. But despite this, the bowling leagues are going strong at Toppler – adult leagues (women’s and mixed) run Monday through Thursday evenings and senior’s leagues run on Fridays; youth bowling leagues run on Saturdays. If you want to get in to a league, you’d better get on it – leagues start in September, but you’re best off to register by mid-August. A special youth bowling registration day is held on August 23rd from 10am to 1pm where kids can register and bowl two games for free. And it’s not too late to register your kids in the summer Kids Bowl Free program and take advantage of a great deal – each child can bowl two free games every day until August 31st, shoes not included.


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Although some things at Toppler have changed significantly over the years (electronic scoring becoming standard about 15 years ago, hardwood flooring changing to acrylic flooring and bathroom renovations last year), the nostalgic bowling feel remains strong. But the decor isn’t the only thing that remains relatively unchanged. The Sanderson’s core business philosophy hasn’t changed a bit – service and a personal connection to their customers remains as strong as ever. People are at the core of their business – enjoying the company of every customer that comes through the door, greeting every customer with a smile and embracing youth into their business. Dave wants everyone who comes to Toppler Bowl to bowl, enjoy themselves and leave happy.

The Sanderson’s are also strongly committed to the family-oriented theme of the business. Dave enforces a no-swearing policy and they have never once in 20 years had to call the police! All of the Sanderson family members (Dave, Lesley, Stacey and David) help run the alley and the other staff members have all been involved in bowling leagues or come up through the youth bowling program. And the place is abuzz with birthday parties nearly every weekend.

Customers consistently remark about the same things – the service is excellent, the size of the alley is comfortable and there is a nice, clean, nostalgic feel. And despite the strong inflationary pressure in Calgary, the prices at Toppler remain very reasonable.

It’s easy to see the love Dave has for Toppler Bowl and the sport of bowling. Despite being at the age of retirement, Dave has no plans to retire – he’s enjoying the business too much. And we’re a richer community for it.


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Interested in joining a league? Want to sign up the kids? Or host a birthday party? Contact Toppler Bowl at 403-255-0101 or visit their website: http://www.topplerbowl.com.

For more info on the Kids Bowl Free program, visit www.KidsBowlFree.com/Toppler


If you know of a local business that would like to be profiled in our Fairview Business Initiative, contact us at news@fairviewcommunity.ca.