This magazine story was originally posted on the International Bowling Industry site. To view the complete issue, click here.One of Gadsden Mall’s newest tenants, The Alley, has made international headlines with a cover story in International Bowling Industry magazine, the world’s only magazine devoted exclusively to bowling. Entertainment venue, The Alley, is a 35,000 SF family-focused center, with an 18-lane bowling alley, 60-seat video arcade, virtual reality features, indoor food truck and private party rooms. The Alley is a recent deal completed by Spinoso Real Estate Group as a key part of their efforts to revitalize Gadsden Mall and the former Sears box space. Along with this, the company has completed two other deals with Tre Ragazzi and Martin’s Family Clothing, both of which will contribute to Spinoso’s goal to make an impact on the property and the local community. Owner of The Alley, Bethanne Mashburn, recently sat down with International Bowling Industry Magazine to share her family’s entrepreneurship legacy, close connection with the mall and how she crafted a unique vision for the entertainment venue.
Bethanne Mashburn is a fourth-generation entrepreneur who “grew up watching my grandpa and my dad open businesses and make ideas come to life. I learned by watching them.” In fact, it was her dad, Dan Browning, who suggested that Mashburn visit a new attraction called a trampoline park. She did, opened her own, and discovered her passion for creating family entertainment.
“I was excited at the thought of being part of revitalizing the Gadsden mall,” says Mashburn. “The developers didn’t even tell us what [to do]; they just said bring some kind of entertainment venue to the mall.”
The mall where Mashburn hung out as a teen was showing its age. “Driving up to Sears,” she told The Gadsden Times, “was like driving back into the ‘70s.” One thing Mashburn wanted to do with the design was to honor the past while featuring the best of the present.
Entering The Alley is entertaining in and of itself. Customers coming in from the parking lot pass through a pocket park with grass, a playground, and a giant Tree of Life sculpture. A brick-arched alley leads into the center proper with its bowling lanes, party rooms, games, and food service.
The Alley opened on November 28, 2020, with little fanfare other than a Facebook post. But several previous stories in the local media had built up strong word-of-mouth. “We crossed our fingers that some people would show up. And, boy, did they ever!” says Mashburn. “We sold out the first weekend and every weekend since. I could not be happier with how business was in the first month.”
Mashburn is passing the family tradition of entrepreneurship to her daughter Dallas Sainsbury, who is operations manager of The Alley. She started in the business by answering the phones at The Factory, and then running the front desk, and soon became as passionate about the business as her mother. “All I wanted to do was go to work and make sure it was the best experience for a customer or an employee,” Dallas says.
The Alley is a dynamic, captivating venue that has brought an influx of traffic to the mall. Its unique space brings out the best of bowling and adventure all-in-one, while encouraging people of all ages to de-stress and have fun.
“It makes me really happy to see adults relaxing, being silly, and having fun. I think that is what my purpose in the entertainment industry is: to create spaces that inspire people to drop their stress and worries off at the door and truly enjoy themselves with their friends and family.”
About Spinoso Real Estate Group
Spinoso Real Estate Group is a national real estate firm, specializing in enclosed shopping malls and large-scale retail properties. The firm offers a range of services including leasing, property management, repositioning, development, stabilization, and re-development. For more information, visit www.spinosoreg.com.
About Gadsden Mall
Gadsden Mall is a 507,000 square foot regional shopping center with stores such as American Eagle, Belk, Bath & Body Works, Premiere Cinemas 16 and Planet Fitness. Gadsden Mall is managed and leased by Spinoso Real Estate Group. For more information, visit www.shopgadsdenmall.com.