AMESBURY — The owners of the new Game Time Lanes & Entertainment on Route 110 are ready to bowl the city over.
Steve Belmonte and Anthony DeCotis are two of the five partners who bought the Haverhill Road business known as Leo’s Super Bowl for roughly $3 million and took over operations in March.
Mike Leo and his family owned and operated Leo’s Super Bowl for 27 years, Belmonte said.
Belmonte is an Amesbury resident and got to know Leo through his other job as the owner of Patriot Vending & Amusements Inc. Belmonte also ran the game room at Leo’s Super Bowl for the past seven years and contacted his old friend DeCotis when he heard that the Leos were looking to sell their business in 2018.
“I told Anthony about the ($70 million Maples Crossing sports complex) which is coming in and told him there is more room for expansion here than meets the eye,” Belmonte said.
DeCotis also owns Town Line Luxury Lanes in Malden and he – along with partners Jeff Lajoie, Tony Sorrentino and Fursey Keleghan – agreed with Belmonte and began putting together an offer to buy the 42,000-square-foot, two-story Leo’s property late last year.
“The business already came with an amazing reputation and it is a well-run business just like Town Line,” DeCotis said. “So I thought it was a great opportunity, not just from the bowling side of things, but there was also an opportunity for expansion.”
DeCotis and company closed the deal in March and began turning the 24-lane candlepin bowling center and arcade into Game Time Lanes & Entertainment.
While the new business still offers eight candlepin lanes and an arcade, Belmonte and DeCotis have replaced 16 candlepin lanes with 12, new tenpin lanes.
“It was very nerve-wracking,” DeCotis said. “It just kept progressing. As we began peeling back the onion we kept saying, ‘Well, we can’t do this without doing this. You can’t put in tenpin lanes and do this kind of decor without having to take out the ceiling and have an open concept.’ All of a sudden, it started snowballing.”
Game Time now offers what DeCotis called a hybrid center for bowling that includes candlepin and tenpin bowling, interactive computer monitors for each lane and a full liquor license.
“You have your weekend leagues and then you have that recreational, social environment where people want to come for a nice night out and enjoy some cocktails and some nice food,” DeCotis said.
“We want to be an entertainment destination.”
DeCotis said Game Time also features virtual reality activities and laser tag and will soon offer an interactive sports bar, function rooms, darts, billiards and even ax throwing.
“The tenpin lanes are starting to fill up more on the weekends than the candlepin lanes are,” Belmonte said. “I think we made the right decision.”
Belmonte said Maples Crossing will provide a unique business opportunity for those who wish to take advantage of it.
“They are expecting anywhere between 650,000 and 750,000 people a year,” Belmonte said. “Patriot Vending already has a signed contract to put up a gameroom in there as well. So we will be featuring some pretty heavy cross-promotion between Maples Crossing and Game Time.”
DeCotis, a Middleton resident, said Amesbury has an “amazing up-and-coming feel.”
“We looked at what this can be now and what it can be in the next 10 years,” DeCotis said. “You can just feel it. The energy is here and we look forward to being neighbors with an amazing complex that is going in there.”
Belmonte and DeCotis said they kept all of the Leo’s employees on staff and are looking to hire more soon.
“(Mayor Ken Gray) was on our side, right from the beginning,” Belmonte said. “He helped us get to where we are today. We also recently met with (Mayor-elect Kassandra Gove) and she is just wonderful as well. We are looking forward to working with her.”
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.