The first years
As it is often the case in the southern part of West Flanders, the roots of the Valcke company lie in the flax industry. When in the sixties the golden age of this industry came to an end, Lucien Valcke started to look for an alternative to earn a living. As bowling appealed to many people, father Lucien Valcke decided to knock up his own bowling centre Bowling Kentucky on the banks of the once Golden River. This was quite important for the small municipality Wevelgem was in those days.
Ten years later, the Kentucky still was a highly successful business. To the extent that father Lucien Valcke was glad to welcome aboard his son LucValcke. The latter almost immediately broadened the activities, amongst other things by purchasing and distributing bowling shoes on the Belgian market. These activities were the Valcke Group’s first steps towards becoming a third-party service provider.
As from the mid-eighties onwards, the family business started providing bowling services to third parties under the impulse of Lucien and Luc Valcke. Valcke installed complete bowling centres by order of third parties. Orders were placed promptly, not only by Belgian, but also by French customers.
During the eighties Valcke opened different self-owned bowling centers, Bowling Themis (Mouscron) being one of them.
The great leap forward
The nineties were the age of the “Great Leap Forward”. Bowling became increasingly popular and from 1992 onwards, Valcke became the exclusive distributor of all Brunswick bowling material in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, the French Overseas Territories and part of Switzerland. In many African countries too, Valcke is the main Brunswick contact. This exclusivity contract was a real milestone, because Brunswick simply is the world’s top and number one provider of all kinds of bowling material.
For the first time, the Valcke Group showed it had ambitions abroad by building its own bowling centre in France, in the Norman city of Grand Quevilly. Valcke opted for a large-scale state-of-the-art complex with no less than 28 alleys. Till this very day, the Valcke bowling centre in Le Grand Quevilly is known as one of the largest and best bowling centres in Europe. In September 2003, a similar megaplex opened in Saint Maximin (Oise), followed by another bowling center in Reims-Thillois in 2007.
The third generation
In 2005, the third generation arrives. Sons Laurent and Henri Valcke are actively involved in the daily and operational management. Henri Valcke assists in the sale of bowling material and complete installations. Laurent Valcke rather creates for himself a distinct profile in the direction of the management of the bowling centres.
In March 2008 the Brunswick Euro Challenge international tournament was moved to France (Saint Maximin) with evident succes, since this tournament has expanded to become the largest bowling event on European soil in the history of the sport of bowling. From 2010 on the tournament is the exclusive organization of Plaza Bowling Saint Maximin, with the support of Valcke Bowling Service & Brunswick.
Building the future
Valcke is also taking its first commercial steps in Africa. In 2009 a new bowling center was built in Casablanca. This is the first Brunswick Project in Morocco and is yet another important milestone. In 2010 another center was build in Dakar. Also in 2010 Valcke becomes the full line distributor for Brunswick in the Netherlands, allowing them to sell all products
The company keeps on growing in 2011, acquiring the distributorship for the fitness brand Life Fitness and thus broadening the activities. In the same year Valcke sold 60 Brunswick GS-X pinsetters to the Dutch group Klaare.
Every day a group of motivated employees strives to maintain the company’s vision: “Passion is the fundament of our business & we want to reflect that passion in everything we do!”