Online: The DBA Story


At first, the manufacturing was done behind the lanes, and then in the family garage using old Coca-Cola syrup bottles as containers since cans were not available during the war. In 1945 the business was moved into a 2 stall auto service station, and many new products were added, including bowling ball cleaner, pin coatings and pin cleaning chemicals. John did the selling, his wife, Laura, did the advertising and office work and their two sons did the filling and shipment of orders.

Many of John's bowling friends, including Andy Varipapa, Hank Marino, Joe Kristoff, Ned Day and others endorsed the company's products and spread the word about DBA to center owners everywhere.

Steady growth required even larger quarters. A brand new building was erected at 747 Deerfield Road in 1949 that boasted of 2,500 square feet of office and manufacturing space that was planned to be large enough to accommodate DBA, no matter how much more it were to grow. It was during this period of time that DBA began its custom of introducing both new and innovative products for the industry. DBA, although small, recognized that research and development of new products and processes were the key to growth, and therefore allocated a large portion of their assets to create new, meaningful processes for the bowling industry.

The Deerfield Road facility, even with an addition, soon became too small to handle the expansion of the company. Another brand new, state-of-the-art chemical plant was built at 350 County Line Road in Deerfield and occupied in 1957. With 12,500 square feet, it was expected to last for years. But, DBA kept creating new products and new markets. DBA began promoting its products to the foreign markets and also introduced more new items such as the first automatic bowling pin cleaner.

In 1959, the second generation of the Picchietti family took over after the passing of John Picchietti, Sr.

The love of bowling had been instilled in John's family so the company just kept growing and providing the best of products to the sport. DBA scored another first when it introduced the first automatic lane maintenance machine in 1960, which finally gave proprietors an efficient, inexpensive, uniform way to condition their lanes. In 1963 DBA entered the consumer products field with DBA Pro Plug 3 to 1 bowling ball plugging compound, that rapidly replaced old-fashioned ball repair materials. Although busy with the growth of bowling, DBA entered the contract packaging field in 1964 to take advantage of its technical staff and facilities.

DBA provided packaging services for such varied customers as 3M, Sears, W. T. Grant, SCM, Woolworth's, Coleman Co., and many others. A very important defense contract for the U.S. Navy during the Viet Nam war was the packaging of multi-range lubricants for high performance jet fighters, which required incredibly high security standards. As this part of the business grew, the need for even larger quarters was required, so DBA moved out of Deerfield after 23 years and in 1967 built a new, 25,000 square foot facility on five acres of land in Lake Bluff, Illinois. Since that time, the building has grown to 55,000 square feet, with another large offfice space and warehouse addition completed in early 1997.

The packaging business was spun off in 1971 because of space requirements needed for the ever growing bowling business.

In 1972 DBA introduced the DBA 100 Lane Maintenance Machine and working with the Professional Bowlers Association developed and marketed the DBA Lane Analyzer, the first ever method of qualifying the amount and placement of lane conditioner on a lane.

DBA also continued to grow overseas, opening plants and offices in Canada, England and Belgium and greatly increasing its presence in the Pacific Rim from Japan to Australia. DBA didn't only depend on new products for growth, it actively pursued acquisitions both in and out of the game of bowling. Over the years, DBA has acquired the EZ Grip Company of Denver, Colorado, Ott Packaging Corp. of Skokie, Illinois, Pines Recreation Services of Geneva, Illinois, Pro-Grip of St. Louis, Missouri, The Claro Corp. of South Bend, Indiana, American Synthetics, and many others.

In 1976 DBA stunned the bowling industry with the introduction of the first synthetic bowling surface, known as Perma-Lane, in partnership with General Electric Corp. DBA installed thousands of beds of Perma-Lane around the world. One of the most successful and important products introduced to bowling by DBA, the DBA Glancer program, was the product that launched bumper bowling.

DBA never rested on its laurels, but continued to create, innovate, improve, invent and introduce new and better materials for the industry. Not content with all of its achievements, DBA scored again in 1991 with the introduction of the first computer operated, self-indexing lane maintenance machine, the DBA LaneWalker, the most accurate, dependable lane maintenance machine ever made. Not only does it condition the lane perfectly, it moves from lane to lane on its own, allowing center personnel to perform other important maintenance tasks.

Fifty years is a long time, but DBA doesn't look backwards. DBA, under the leadership of the third generation of the Picchietti family, is looking forward to the next fifty years, and all of the new challenges that are to be found and the new products yet to be developed. DBA's first fifty years is just the beginning. It is the continuation of a dream by an immigrant young man and his wife who loved bowling, their country and their family. DBA is the American dream.

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DBA Products Company
525 West Laketon Avenue
Muskegon MI 49443 USA
E-mail: dbaproducts@dbaproducts.com
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