Pro’s is polished as its new owners plan grand opening

Pro's is polished as its new owners plan grand opening
Pro's Sports Bar is getting a fresh polishing from its new owners as they prepare the long-established Vermillion business for its grand opening.

Vicki and Lanny Walker, Lisa and Hazen Bye, and Glynis, Hazen's sister and her husband, Mark Erickson have purchased the business and have devoted much of this summer to adding a new luster to its banquet facilities, bar and restaurant, bowling alley and motel.

Helping with this task are additions to the facility's staff. Tom Woodworth has been hired as the bowling manager, and Rick Haught is Pro's new banquet and events manager. Matt Carda, who has worked at Pro's as kitchen manager, has accepted additional responsibility as the facility's restaurant manager.


"We've been pretty much on a dead run, trying to make some changes and get the business back the way we want it," Lisa Bye said "We're having our grand opening on Aug. 15th, 16th and 17th, � it's a three day event. When we bought Pro's, we had a few goals, and the first one was to improve customer service. We also wanted to do some updating to the facility."

Pro's will offer daily lunch specials in the restaurant, and daily drink specials. The new owners and staff have been busy in recent weeks cleaning the business, and have decided that bowling shouldn't be limited to just evening hours.

"The bowling alley for I don't know how many years has only been open in the evenings, and we are now open every day from 10 a.m. until 12 (midnight)," she said.

To satisfy their curiosity, the new owners and managers plan to eventually add up the total number of gallons of paint they've applied to spruce up the business.

"We painted almost everything," Lisa said, "and there was a lot of everyday maintenance that hadn't been done, so we're simply catching up with that."

Some things haven't changed at the Vermillion establishment.

"One of the things that we're probably best known for in the college community is our Wings Wednesday," she said. On that day, Pro's serves buffalo wings for 25 cents all day. "I think the reputation that we've had for our food has been really good, but we're just trying to match our service to the level that our food has been at," Lisa said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to give our customers both good service and good food."

Another improvement to the business is the addition of a non-smoking section to the restaurant. A casino will be added in August.

Bowlers will find a more pleasing color scheme when they enter Prairie Lanes, Tom said. "It's a little bit more of a warm feeling, and we changed the seating around and now we have more space so we can have a higher occupancy."

This summer, Prairie Lanes offered a bowling card to kids from Vermillion and surrounding communities.

"They can come in and get a free game," Tom said. "We get quite a bit of participation in that. And this fall, we're going to start a few more leagues which will give people a few more options on different nights and different styles of bowling."

The Prairie Lanes will continue to offer a number of promotions and party packages, he said. "And we've got a new arcade room."

"In the restaurant, we've started some new promotions including daily lunch specials and nightly drink specials," Matt said. "This fall, we're going to start some other things, like tailgating before USD football games, and tacos on Tuesday nights."

Pro's also plans to begin Texas Hold 'Em tournaments later this year. "Wing Wednesday is our biggest night in the restaurant, and we're going to start doing karaoke right after Wing Wednesday, so hopefully that will help keep some of the kids down here longer."

In keeping with the spirit of a sports bar, the facility will be offering the NFL football package on DirectTV so fans can see their favorite teams play and keep up with their fantasy league, Matt said.

The restaurant has maintained its full menu, and with all the planning of new activities, a major improvement wasn't forgotten.

"We have completely renovated our rest rooms," Matt said. "It's quite a change."

Rick noted that Pro's is in an enviable position in the region when it comes to banquet and event planning.

"We're the only facility in the area that has a banquet room, a liquor license and a full kitchen," he said. "We have a great kitchen staff that create meals for groups from 12 from 250.

"We're the only place you can go to for a wedding reception, for example, and only have to meet with one person," Rick said. "You won't have to make arrangements with other outside parties, like a caterer."

New brides have even slipped off their shoes and entered the Prairie Lanes to bowl a few frames, still dressed in their gowns.

"Starting this fall, we're going to do some more creative things," Rick said. "We're going to bring in some entertainment, including live music and comedians. We don't want to restrain the room to be just a banquet room. We want this to be known as a complete entertainment center."

Both the restaurant and the motel offers wireless Internet access, Lanny said.

"We added new furniture to the motel lobby, and a fitness room is being implemented," he said. "The hotel rooms complement perfectly with the banquet and special events center for people that want to spend the day and not have to walk outside."

People will be able to tour the hotel during the upcoming three day open house Aug. 15-17. "There will be live entertainment two nights, and karaoke on one night," he said. "Our emphasis is going to be on customer satisfaction. That's our priority."

Pro's also plans to nurture a strong relationship with USD, with its close proximity to the DakotaDome.

The business' local ownership, management and employees will help the bar and restaurant, the bowling alley and the motel achieve all of those goals, Rick said.

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