Cult Phenomenon 'Banana Bowling' Heads for the Mainstream with Launch of New Website BananaBowling.com

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With the launch of the new website BananaBowling.com, San Diego entrepreneur Denise Preston is taking her passion for an obscure outdoor game to the masses - and she's not alone. With nicknames like “Dimestore”, ”The Hawk”, “Short Dog” and “Dabbles”, a small army of devoted fans who take to backyards, parks, beaches and tailgate parties every week to play the game are pitching in. The unemployed school teacher-turned entrepreneur has already had more than $3,000 in orders pour in and is in the process of expanding her small enterprise to meet demand.

Playing Banana Bowling in the backyard

We started getting so many orders that our garage was full and I was going to the post office every other day to mail out kits. That’s when I first started thinking that we could actually make a business out of it.

The new website http://www.BananaBowling.com is dedicated to this once-obscure outdoor game made from bowling pins, throwing devices, a duct-taped plastic ball and blocks of wood. Over the last seven years it has inspired competitive teams, tournaments, beach events, charity sponsorships and even custom built playing courts across the country. Called “Banana Bowling” because the original set of equipment had bright yellow throwers and bowling pins, the game has spread slowly by word-of-mouth for years and until a few months ago was only known to a small group of hard-core fans. These fans encouraged the game's inventor, Carlsbad resident Denise Preston, to bring the game to a wider audience and start putting together game sets to sell. “For the last year I've been buying the pieces from different vendors and assembling the kits by hand for friends because they couldn’t buy them in stores. We started getting so many orders that our garage was full and I was going to the post office every other day to mail out kits. That’s when I first started thinking that we could actually make a business out of it.” said Denise.

As an out-of-work school teacher Denise was unsure about how to get things started so she turned to her husband Derek, a technology company CEO, for advice. “He said I should definitely go for it and suggested that I reach out to the fans for help in getting it off the ground.” And help they did. One fan had his company build their website; another helped set up a Facebook fan page and still others started posting videos on YouTube. After seeing the kids on the block playing the game, a neighbor who works as a packaging design professional started working with them to design specialty packaging and find manufacturing overseas in preparation for going to large retailers.

Fans of the game range in age from 7 to 70 and aren’t shy about showing their enthusiasm. One video posted by 62-year old retired police captain Craig Dersa features him doing a victory dance in his driveway after scoring a winning point. “We play Banana Bowling with our kids when they come to visit and when we tailgate on football Saturdays. People are always coming up to us when we’re playing and asking where we got the game.” Other fans have taken their love of the game to the extreme. “My wife and I spent $1,200 to put in a custom Banana Bowling court next to our pool. My step-son and I play all the time.” said David Nicol, a Banana Bowling fan from Phoenix, Arizona.

Since the launch of the new website at http://www.bananabowling.com, the entrepreneurs have struggled to keep up with the orders. “I still make all the game sets by hand including duct-taping the balls to add weight and putting stickers on the pieces. It’s kind of cheesy but people love the authenticity of it.” said Denise. The couple is now evaluating manufacturing options and distribution deals with the help of neighbors and fans in order to bring Banana Bowling to the mass market. Denise added “It would be great to see our game on a shelf in a big store someday, although I think we’ll have to give up the duct-tape.”

Banana Bowling™ is a registered trademark. The company is based in San Diego, California.
The website bananabowling.com was designed by True Fish Studio.

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