Dayton bowling center operator Joe Poelking named Ohio’s ‘Small Business Champion’

Search icon

Poelking got his start in the bowling business at 9 years old at Poelking on Wilmington, which his grandfather opened in 1951. Poelking’s father and his three brothers took over the business in the early 1960s and Poelking, who started full-time in 1983, began running it with a cousin before taking over as sole operator in the late 1990s.

Poelking, who didn’t realize he was an award winner until he saw his face on a printed page at NFIB Ohio Small Business Day at the Capitol, said winning the award was “a very surprising thing” to him.

“I’ve been very supportive of NFIB,” he said. “I promote it within my my bowling industry. I tell my bowling proprietors what an advantage it is to be a member.”

NFIB, he said, gives business owners the opportunity to collectively network with other small businesses and to network with Ohio legislators and be kept up to date on what’s going on.

“They will sit there and give us this information that so we can get a better understanding of what it is,” he said, noting it also helps to have legislators get to know small business owners and their challenges and concerns.

ExploreThird-generation furniture store may be replaced by Sheetz in Washington Twp.

Ferruso said Poelking is “a tireless advocate for small businesses.”

“His businesses have sponsored NFIB’s Small Business Day at the Capitol, the NFIB Legislative Reception, and other events,” he said. “He’s a generous donor to the NFIB Ohio PAC, and he’s encouraged others to support the candidates who will support Ohio’s small businesses.”

NFIB presents the Small Business Champion award annually to one of its Ohio members who has given not only their time and resources to the organization but who demonstrates the spirit of service toward the community and a commitment to advancing the concept of free enterprise.

“Joe is a strong advocate for small business, and he’s built strong relationships with his state legislators and other officials,” Ferruso said. “When he reaches out to them about sensible regulations, tax relief, and other key issues, they listen.”