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Stars and Strikes marks anniversary with makeover
Stars and Strikes in Cumming recently underwent a makeover, which includes a new arcade, where the whole family can “get away and play.” - photo by Micah Green

CUMMING — A Cumming entertainment business celebrated its ninth anniversary in style.

Stars and Strikes, which features bowling lanes, arcade games and other family-oriented fun, welcomed the community to its anniversary celebration Saturday.

Jack Canouse, founder and co-owner of the center, said Saturday’s event exceeded expectations.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “We had a wonderful turnout.”

Canouse said the event drew about 1,000 people, which is some 400 or 500 more than a typical summer Saturday.

Among the offerings were a poker tournament, “touch-a-truck” areas for kids from Forsyth County Fire Department and Sheriff’s Office and discounted activities and food.

“The weather turned out very nice, so we had a lot of outdoor activities going on that everybody got to enjoy … it was really a great day for us,” Canouse said.

Besides the anniversary, the event also celebrated some recent upgrades to the facility, which Canouse and his business partner, Chris Albano, opened in summer 2005.

Some of those improvements included a newly resurfaced parking lot and facelift to the building’s exterior façade.

“It was not a very attractive building and now we’re totally redone the front of it,” Canouse said. “I think the new façade makes it look like an almost brand-new building.”

Interior upgrades in recent months included some new games and lighting.

“We’ve put in a new bumper car system, which people are really enjoying, and we changed some of the lighting throughout the center that looked a little more industrial to something that’s more decorative and colorful.”

While those are the most recent upgrades, Canouse said the center has constantly undergone improvements “to help keep things fresh.”

“We have a lot of people who, over the nine years, come very often. We don’t want it to ever get boring and we don’t want to be one of those facilities where they let things break down.

“We don’t ever want to feel like an old center. I think it feels just as new today as it did nine years ago when we opened.”

As a result of that desire to always stay up to date, Canouse said the business spends about $50,000 a year to bring in new games to the facility.

In addition, the center changes out its menu about every 18 months to provide guests with different food offerings.

Keeping things fresh and exciting was part of Canouse and Albano’s original vision when they opened the Cumming Stars and Strikes, the first in what has become a chain of five throughout metro Atlanta.

“We decided we wanted to do something for the kids and then it became more about the families,” Canouse said.

“We wanted to build a better mouse trap [over traditional bowling alleys] with better service, better food, better product and more to do.”

Over time, the business has also “become a part of the fabric of the community,” Canouse said.

“We support a lot of the local ball parks, a lot of local charities and we do a lot with Relay for Life.”

The Alpharetta neighbors, who quickly became friends after moving into their subdivision during the same week in 1996, decided Cumming was the perfect spot for their new family entertainment concept.

Despite having opened four other centers — Dallas, Lawrenceville, Sandy Springs and Stone Mountain — since then, Canouse said the Cumming site continues to outshine them all.

“It’s still our No. 1-performing site,” he said. “And that’s an indication of all the great stuff that’s going on in Forsyth County.

“The whole community is a great place to raise a family so that’s perfect for us.”