Throwback Thursday 10/15/15: “Family Fun Center Here To Stay

“The Family Fun Center has a new manager and plans to put the family emphasis back in the entertainment center, owner Ken Auker said Friday.

Mr. Auker was one of three original owners who transformed the former Plaza Central Bowl into a family entertainment center in Dec. 1991.

Mr. Auker of Bettendorf returned to the Family Fun Center Aug. 10 and hired Pat Dugan of Green Rock to help him manage the operation.

Mr. Dugan, a Rock Island native, says his affiliation with the Family Fun Center “is something I’ve always wanted to do.

The Alleman High School graduate said, “I’ve been bowling down there since I was a kid. I know tons of people down there.”

Mr. Dugan’s wife, Catherine, has been affiliated with the center for the past three years and now heads up Fat Boy’s Pizza at the center.

The Dugans like the idea of working together and having a place their children, Chad, 13, Christine, 10, and Stephanie, 5, can be with them. The younger Dugans are learning how to work with the public, Mr. Dugan said.

Mr. Dugan is a manager of Jewel Food Store in East Moline. He plans to retain his job with Jewel and work at the Family Fun Center nights and weekends. Mr. Dugan is a member of the Rock Island Elks Club and former secretary-treasurer and vice president of the Rock Island Bowling Association. He also coaches a summer women’s softball league team.

“Our main goal is to get back our family orientation,” Mr. Auker said. He plans to work with the schools and churches to increase the number of parties. The center may also restore an awards program with the schools for students’ achievement.

The center plans to offer open bowling and special discounts on all bowling, pizza, soda and miniature golf on Sundays, Mr. Auker said. Bowling hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday — Thursday and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

The center currently has openings for men’s, women’s and mixed fall bowling leagues and a few available openings on the fall volleyball league. Sign-up also is occuring for winter bowling leagues.

Mr. Auker left Family Fun Center in November 1994, and, in concert with partners Kevin Smith and Jamie Klarkowski, opened Spanky’s bar and restaurant March 17 in Moline.

Upon his return to the business, Mr. Auker was surprised to learn that several local business people had heard the center was closing. He’d like to squelch that rumor.

“The Family Fun Center is here to stay,” he said.”

-The Rock Island Argus
September 5, 1995

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