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2013 New Product Sneak Peek

Posted on December 20, 2012 | 0 comments

 As 2012 wraps up we are excited about some big changes coming to Robbies Billiards in the upcoming year.  A new generation has taken over the operation of this 60 year old company and as huge fans of entertaining at home we have big plans.  Robbies is not a "me too" type of store so what you will see and experience will be very different from other home game room retailers in Maryland and Virginia.  Here is a preview of some unique product offerings you will see in the Robbies showrooms in 2013 and beyond!

 
 
This is concept art for a new outdoor pool table available exclusivly at Robbies Billiards.  It will feature real three piece slate construction with solid powder coated aluminum legs, frame, and rails.  Unlike most outdoor style tables on the market today this will have a lifetime warranty even for commercial use and the Sunbrella weather proof cloth can be easily replaced just like an indoor pool table.  This is the perfect entertainment piece not only for your patio area but roof top space as well because it will fit into the elevator!  Stay tuned for more info...available 1st Q 2013

 
 
 
 
 
Robbies Billiards is becoming Robbies Billiards & Patio in 2013 and we are going to feature Patio Furniture not currently available in the Maryland, Virginia, or DC market.  If your taste is contemporary and you want very high quality commercial built entertainment lounge furniture for your outdoor recreation space then you have to check us out.  This is just a taste of the innovative and unique styles we will have available this spring.

 
 
 
 
 
How about the good old fashioned home pool table category?  Check out this new design from Brunswick Billiards called the "Brixton" home pool table.  This contemporary style table is straight from the showroom of Restoration Hardware and features solid Oak construction, finger joinery, and a modern finish.  The Brixton by Brunswick will be featured in the Kensington Maryland showroom early 2013 so make sure you stop by and check it out!

 
 
While we have sold Home Theater Seating in our Maryland showrooms for years, Robbies has never ventured into the realm of "traditional" couch and section set sales...until now!  We are going to feature examples like this Sofa Bed design by Palliser Furniture.  Not only is it an extremely comfortable custom sofa, it doubles as a Queen Size Bed made out of memory foam.  The arm come off of both sides a well, eliminating another major drawback of old fashioned sofa beds.  If you catch us grabbing a nap in the store one day at least we will have a great excuse!

 
Happy New Year and see you in 2013!

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Best Selling Pool Tables of 2012

Posted on November 19, 2012 | 0 comments

 It has been a great year so far at Robbies with our new "Exclusive Lifetime Guarantee Program" combined with our premium vendors like Brunswick, Olhausen, and Legacy Billiards, especially in the Pool Table category.  Our Kensington Maryland "Design Center" draws a very diverse range of customers looking for everything under the Sun to complete their vision for a dream entertainment space.  Styles are changing and customer taste varies from Maryland, to Virginia, to DC, then out to the rural areas of West Virginia.  We would like to present a list of our most popular and best selling pool tables of 2012.  This list is not necessarily by volume but also by price range, showroom presence, and intangible "hotness". 


 The La Condo by Canada Billiard

This is the ultimate dual purpose dining table pool table combination for real billiard enthusiasts.  This is your only option in three piece slate construction built at 29" high Dining Chair height in the industry.  Combined with incredibly solid Birch wood components, custom finish options, and six different designs the La Condo surprised us at how popular the right kind of high end modern table can be.  The La Condo is featured in our Kensington Showroom and we are the exclusive dealer of Canada Billiard custom pool tables in the Maryland, Virginia, and DC area.



The Grace by Olhausen Billiards

What is there to say about the Grace that has not already been covered HERE?  It is the only Solid Hardwood American Made table in this price range with a Lifetime Guarantee, Stunning Original Cherry Wood Finish, and a universal transitional style that works in just about any setting.  The Grace has been a strong table in every market, but in 2012 the Grace became our number one best selling pool table.  The Grace is available to see in every Robbies Billiards Maryland Showroom.






The Glenwood by Brunswick Billiards

The traditional style ball & claw leg arched cabinet pool table is a long time favorite everywhere.  The Glenwood by Brunswick Billiards is a premium example of this type of pool table: elegant lines combined with premium construction and a lifetime warranty from a 175 year old company.  Brunswick comes very close to the "custom" category with the Glenwood by offering five different leg options, five different wood finishes, and 7' 8', or 9' Lengths.  This is our best selling Brunswick Pool table five years running and can be seen in any Robbies Showroom.





The Hampton by Olhausen Billiards

The Hampton is a new style of table that combines modern proportion with a traditional aesthetic.  Olhausen also hit a huge trend in the addition of built in cue and accessory storage drawers on the Hampton, and most buyers chose this optional upgrade.  The carved panels on the Hampton also make it the perfect home for wiped and antiqued wood finish options that are exclusive to Olhausen custom furniture.  The Hampton is also a very reasonable priced table compared to almost everything on the market with this level of style and customization.  We try to feature the Hampton in all of our showrooms but this table is often sold out!






The Chicago by Olhausen Billiards

The modern style Pool Table has finally hit the mainstream with the Chicago by Olhausen Billiards.  This was the sleeper hit of 2012 in our Kensington Showroom and was the number one Mid to Upper end Olhausen sold this year.  Many customers see the Chicago as a more traditional style table in medium and dark mahogany wood finishes.  We tend to show the Chicago in uber chic Matte Black Lacquer on Maple, but that is the great thing about custom tables!  Pictures do not do this table justice as it looks a little "off" on paper, but in person your jaw will drop.  Check out the Chicago in our Kensington Design Center and make it your own.

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Best Pool Tables Under $2,000

Posted on November 01, 2012 | 1 comment

 Very few new pool tables fall into the highly affordable sub $2,000 price range.  Early in the 2000's oversees manufacturing began to drive down the cost of entry level slate pool tables.  Before 2001 your main option under $2,000 was an ugly laminate box with 3/4" slate and plastic pockets.  These "basement dwellers" were an eye sore but played fairly well and still lurk in many Man Caves.  Much has changed with the advent of import pool tables and less expensive manufacturing techniques.  You will not find many premium tables for under 2 Grand as most of what you see online is "off brand" and available from fly-by-night drop shippers running web site only stores.  If you know where to look, however, there are some VERY good deals to be had for less than $2,000.  Here is our list of the Best Pool Tables for under $2,000.




The Grace is the only American Made Pool Table to make our list and remains a huge seller in Maryland, Virginia, and even DC.  It is not hard to see why.  The Grace has simple appealing lines that are design neutral, looking just as good in a contemporary setting as a traditional one.  The table is solid hardwood as well, something else almost unheard of in a sub $2,000 pool table.  The dark Original Cherry finish is flat-out the nicest looking "black cherry" finish at this price anywhere in the USA or China.  Finally, it has a real Lifetime Warranty from Olhausen Billiards, the largest custom manufacturer in the United States.  The only drawback is the Grace only comes in 8' with no customization or finish options.  That is a minor compromise when you get so much for around what you would spend on these comparable tables!  If you want to pick your own wood finish, legs, need size options, or just want to make it your own, start looking at pool tables in this range.










The best selling table in our Williamsport Maryland showroom for three years running is the Legacy Billiards Rylee pool table.  The import Rylee with its "perfect corner" construction, solid hardwood, and Carved Ball and Claw leg hardly looks like a table that would be well under $2,000.  Combine that with Five wood finish options, three leg options, 7' or 8' sizes available, and you have a game changer.  With a lifetime warranty from the largest stocking manufacturer on the east coast, the Legacy Rylee is a serious piece of  equipment for half the price of similar models from competitors.  Legacy might not be as well know as Brunswick or Olhausen, but with tables like the Rylee it will not be long before everyone knows the name.







While the Contender series Brunswick tables do not have the same construction as higher end "Brunswick Collection" pool tables, they are still very well built and last for years.  The best selling table in the group is the Brunswick Tremont, a simple but elegant carved leg table almost a third of the price of similar style tables in the Brunswick Collection.  The Tremont is so popular we decided to bundle it up with a rack, a ping pong top, accessories, and delivery for $2,499.  While this might not be a solid hardwood heirloom pool table you can rest assured it has the industries best Lifetime Warranty from the 160 year old Brunswick Billiards Company.  The Tremont only comes in 8' size with ball and claw legs and the Chestnut finish, but that just happens to be our most popular combination anyway!




The Black Wolf is a throw back to the days of Laminate "ball return" style tables sold primarily during the 70's and 80's.  Boy things are looking up with the Brunswick Black Wolf.  Starting under $2,000 you can even get a Ball Return System, something almost completely gone from the modern pool table industry.  If retro cool mixed with a modern color scheme is your cup of tea the Black Wolf delivers.  Wide Rails?  Check.  Heavy duty dent and mar resistant laminate?  Check.  Real three piece diamond honed 1" Framed Slate (same slate as sits on all Brunswick Tables, even THIS ONE!)  Check.  Lifetime Warranty, even on the cushion rubber?  Check.  The style is not for everyone but the Man Cave still needs tables like the Black Wolf and even your wife can't complain when you get all of this for under 2 Grand.

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Announcing the "Robbies Exclusive Lifetime Guarantee"

Posted on September 30, 2012 | 1 comment

  

We are proud to announce the "Robbies Exclusive Lifetime Guarantee" available to New Pool Table and Shuffleboard Table customers in Maryland, Virginia, DC, WV, and PA.  Our Guarantee represents the most comprehensive Warranty Coverage and "Worry Free" ownership experience available ANYWHERE!  Email robbies.scheduling@gmail.com for Info.

#1:  White Glove Delivery and Set Up from our In House Manufacturer Trained & Certified Master Technicians with 10+ Years Experience.  

-Contractors will never be used to install, service, or provide warranty work on any Robbies Table purchased in-store or online for local delivery.

#2:  Lifetime Warranty Parts & Labor Guarantee

-Labor Costs will always be covered by Robbies at no cost to you for the life of the manufacturer’s parts warranty.
-This warranty is voided if any non-Robbies Technician services, moves, or repairs the table.
-The manufacturer’s written warranty terms and conditions always take precedence over Robbies warranties written or implied

#3:  Lifetime Guarantee on Pool Table Leveling i.e. “the pool balls will always roll straight on the pool table”

-New 8' or larger pool tables with a minimum 1" thick three piece slate only.
-Level warranty is void if any non-Robbies technician moves or services the table, stands on the table, or has flooring or environmental conditions that prevent the table from staying level.

#4:  Lifetime Trade in Program on Pool Tables and Shuffleboard Tables

-Robbies will exchange any 7' or larger three piece slate pool table for a new table if the following conditions are met.  
-Robbies will exchange any 12’ or larger shuffleboard table for a new table if the following conditions are met.
-Table must have been originally purchased at Robbies after 1991 with proof of purchase.
-Table must be in reasonable playable condition with no major structural damage, water damage, or excessive wear and tear.
-Credit on trade-in will be no more than 50% of the original purchase price of the table only, not including cloth, delivery charges, or add on items not part of the table itself.
-Trade-in on new table has to double the original purchase price.
-Table trade-in on new table must be of same general type, i.e. Pool Table for Pool Table, Shuffleboard Table for Shuffleboard Table.
-Table trade-in must be located in the same delivery and setup location as the new table purchased for a free tear down and trade.  Tear down of the old table and setup of the new table purchased must be same day without any on-site delay caused by other workers.  Any table being exchanged from a location other than that of the new table install will incur a standard minimum service charge of $225 or more for the extra trip.

#5:  Lifetime Buy Back Guarantee on Pool Tables and Shuffleboard Tables

-Robbies will buy back any 1" three piece slate Pool Table or 12' or larger shuffleboard table with free pickup as long as the following qualifications are met.
-Table must be in reasonable playable condition with no major structural damage, water damage, or excessive wear and tear.
-Table must be located within our standard white glove delivery area and no more than 1 floor above or below ground level at the location.  Any special removal circumstances like additional steps, access windows, elevators, commercial locations, or jobs that require more than 2 technicians will incur additional fees debited against payment amount.
-Robbies will determine the payment amount to the seller based on current market value of the table itself without any delivery, installation, accessories, cloth, or upgrades.  Robbies will set this price at their discretion and will not be obligated to pay any more than the fair used value as determined by them.

#5:  Lifetime Coupons & Prefered Customer Discounts

-Exclusive offers for our customers only, including deep discounts on service jobs + discounts on additional custom built items like Pool Tables, Shuffleboard Tables, Theater Seating, Home Bars, Bar Stools, Poker/Dining Tables, Foosball, Air Hockey, Sectional Couches, and much more!

*Official Rules and Guidelines for the Program are available in store only, please call or visit your local showroom for more information or EMAIL robbies.sales@gmail.com

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Best Pool Tables for Vacation Homes

Posted on September 27, 2012 | 0 comments

 Over the years we have traveled deep into the West Virginia Appalachian mountains and to beach homes on Maryland's Eastern Shore helping customers outfit vacation homes or rental properties.  Other than a Hot Tub, the Pool Table is the ultimate recreation activity of choice for upscale vacation homes in this area.  Because we have experience setting so many different styles of pool tables here is a list of the "best selling" pool tables for Vacation Homes in Maryland, Virginia, DC, West Virginia, and even Southern Pennsylvania.


The Brunswick Black Wolf Pool Table is first on our list because we sell so many of these for vacation rentals just about anywhere.  The style is retro modern and definitely does not fall into the furniture category.  This is the table you expect renters or kids to beat up a bit and still look pretty good.  Thanks to a high pressure laminate rail, plastic pockets, and heavy duty plywood construction this table certainly takes a beating.  With an MSRP of only $2,159 it is priced very low for a Contender Brunswick Pool Table, so it makes good financial sense as well.  The Black Wolf is not a showpiece, but it is a perfect diversion in between cruising on the lake or hitting beach.

Another strong seller for both vacation homes and rentals is the Legacy Billiards Ryan Pool Table.  The Ryan has gone by a few different 
names over the years, but the design is essentially the same:  tapered legs, leather pockets, minimal carving, and a medium stain on oak wood.  The Legacy Ryan is an import table that stands out as one of the very few remaining imports in Oak.  At one point in the late 90's / early 00's Oak was fairly common but with changing furniture trends most manufacturer's have phased out the "old school" medium oak pool table in this price range.  With an MSRP of only $1,999 the Legacy Ryan Pool Table is a steal for your traditional mountain cabin or lake front get away.

For someone looking to really outfit their traditional mountain cabin look no further than the Olhausen Ponderosa Pool Table.  Every Ponderosa is truly one of a kind, as each table is hand crafted from select pieces of American Pine Logs fitted over a premium Olhausen sub frame, slate, and top of the line accu-fast rails.  Every detail is labored over by the master craftsman at Olhausen Billiards.   From the heavily knotted and distressed wood to the Buffalo Nickel rail sights, the Ponderosa is true showpiece that will define any space it occupies.  The Olhausen Ponderosa is not for the casual buyer with an MSRP of $5,499 but that can be considered a steal compared to other tables of this type.











If you have a little "ranch" in Western Maryland somewhere you have to check out the Olhausen Laredo Pool Table.  This totally unique 
design features custom corrian stone at the base of each Boot carved leg, hand inlaid cowboy rail sights, and legendary Olhausen construction through out.  Every little detail is custom, even the rail sights feature a ranch hand on horseback!  As far as pricing goes you had better be a successful ranch owner because MSRP is over $10,000 for this dogie.









When we think of the ultimate theme pool table on the market today we can't help imagining a custom nautical themed room in a beach front mansion.  The table that lives in that posh space is nothing other than the Brunswick Isabella.  There are too many high end touches on this table to mention in one paragraph, but highlights include Lapis Lazuli stone inlay, silver castings, exotic hardwoods, and a "free" matching cue rack.  The Isabella Pool Table reminds us of a 50 million dollar super yacht in a sea of tug boats.  With an MSRP of Forty Grand you might need to sell that yacht to afford this limited edition status symbol.

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Cuszoom.com Pool Table Review

Posted on August 27, 2012 | 0 comments

Aramith Fusion Knock Off While working with a preferred designer in Northern Virginia we ran into an issue with a pool table from cuszoom.com.  Normally I would not refer visitors to my web site to a competitor but in this case I feel obligated to provide some education.  We are the authorized manufacturer's representative for the Aramith Fusion Pool and Dining Table in Maryland, Virginia, and DC.  The Fusion Table has been around for years and is a favorite among designers, architects, and buyers looking to source a table for apartment buildings.  The hallmark of the Fusion Table you can read in detail from my previous REVIEW, but in simple terms it has a super modern clean look like nothing else on the market.  

While I have a very good relationship with the designer in this case she could not pass up a "Fusion Look Alike" on cuszoom for half the price.  She placed the order with them, paid in full via check, then confirmed that the table would be available in 2 to 3 months.  As a designer the Pool / Dining table was for a client so her cost basis and delivery time frame was now promised to her client.  As the delivery date approached my designer took the time to contact Cuszoom.com to confirm the table would be shipped and presumably set up at the clients location by the promised delivery date.  At this point she was informed the table that she bought and paid for months earlier was in fact back ordered for another few months.  In a panic she contacted us looking for a way to fill this order under a very tight time frame.  

Her first disappointment came as the price of a real steel frame slate top pool table was much higher than what she had budgeted with her client.  As there was no other real option at this point she confirmed the order with us for a real Aramith Fusion Pool/Dining Table.  When she called cuszoom.com to get a refund there was some confusion.  Apparently they could now fill the order ASAP!  When my designer friend called me back to apologize and cancel her Fusion Table order as everything was going to move ahead smoothly with cuszoom I was more than a little exasperated.  Having never heard of this company with I started digging online.  What I found was troubling to say the least.  I forwarded the following link to my designer from Complaintsboard.com.  To sum it up, cuszoom.com is aparently an Internet Scam.  There are dozens of people complaining about false advertising, missed shipping deadlines, a total lack of customer service, and in some cases downright fraud.  Cuszoom also has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau stemming from multiple customer complaints.  After reading this my designer immediately re-ordered the Fusion table for her client.  Weeks later she has yet to receive a refund or even a return call from Cuszoom customer support.  This is definitely a case of "if it seams too good to be true it probably is" and  reinforces the need to make an effort to seriously research a companies reputation before spending thousands of dollars!

 

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Aramith Fusion 7' Dining Pool Table Review

Posted on August 06, 2012 | 1 comment


As part of our blog we are continuing to review some of the best selling and most unique game tables available today.  One of the most unique tables in the world is the Fusion Table by Aramith.  The Belgian Aramith brand is the largest and best know maker of billiard balls in the world.  Aramith was recently purchased by Iwan Simonis, a 300 year old company and one of the largest manufacturer's of pocket billiard table fabric in the world.  With this type of corporate pedigree, we expect big things from the Fusion Dining Pool Table!  The Fusion Table is available in 7' only with half a dozen wood finish options, powder coated steel, and stainless steel cabinet styles.  What makes the Fusion Table truly unique is the patented leg riser system that allows the table to rise from 30" dining height up to 33" (regulation American Billiards table height) making it a true hybrid dining and billiard table in one. 


Style

The Fusion Table by Aramith was the first steel frame ultra modern style table to hit the US market almost a decade ago.  The design was almost indistinguishable from a high end modern dining table and did not look like anything on the market at that time.  The very clean minimalist modern lines are beautifully proportioned with the legs pushed all the way out to the corners of the table.  The lack of visible pool table pockets and very little depth to the play surface look cleaner overall than similar tables that have entered the market over the years.  Very chic wood finish options like Wenge (Dark Chocolate), Grey Oak, and Walnut fit beautifully into the modern high rise apartments and contemporary homes in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and DC.  The one piece steel frame blends seamlessly into the rails of the pool table when the dining top is removed, wrapping the steel frame over the rail edge as a final touch.  Despite many knock offs and modern competitors, the Aramith Fusion Table is still the best looking metal frame dining style pool table money can buy.

Score:  A



Construction

In order to look the way the Fusion Table does some very unique engineering comes into play.  The slate play surface is one piece 3/4" slate instead of the typical 1" three piece slate you see on modern high end pool tables.  To push the legs out to the corners of the table almost 300 pounds of steel are used to construct the frame as lighter materials would bend or wobble under the weight of the slate play surface.  The wood rails and dining top are actually veneered manufactured wood or HDF (High Density Fiberboard).  This is typical of most modern dining furniture but very rare on slate pool tables over $3,000.  Another odd bit is that all of the hardware is designed to be put together with an allen wrench, just like you would a dining table from IKEA!  The main issue we have with the Fusion Tables construction is that without 1" three piece slate you cannot truly get the play surface flat, and the light weight 3/4" slate on the already generally light 7' table size does not help.  Over all, the Fusion Table is very well constructed for a high end steel frame dining table but leaves much to be desired as compared to industry standard pool table construction in this price range.

Score:  B-

Value

When trying to determine the relative value of the Fusion Table you run into a problem:  do you compare this to other modern style 7' pool tables or try and figure out what it would cost to get both a high-end modern dining table in addition to a high end modern pool table for your home?  Very few tables give you the true combination, and all of the major manufacturer's offerings are priced similarly to the Aramith Fusion Table (MSRP $7,995).  The fact is you can get a better playing 7' three piece slate table for less than half the price of the Fusion Table.  Throw in a high quality dining conversion top for around $1,000 and you are still way less than the hybrid style Fusion.  The problem is, nothing can substitute for the 30" dining height and low profile cabinet that allows you to put any standard dining room chairs around the Fusion.  Typical pool tables sit too high and do not have ample room to tuck your legs under the table when you attempt to use them while dining.  No other manufacturer has designed a way to "raise" the play surface up to the more comfortable (and regulation) pool table playing height of 33".  So to be fair, you really are getting two things in one, making the Fusion Table a good value if you were going to spring for a $2,500 plus modern steel frame dining table and still wanted to add an ultra modern 7' pool table at over $5,000.

Score:  B-

Conclusion

The Aramith Fusion Dining Pool Table is definitely not for everyone and is very controversial among specialty retailers around the country.  Putting aside the taste specific modern style, most pool table buyers will be happier with a better playing three piece slate table in solid wood for under $4,000.  Most high end dining set customers will not want to spend close to $8,000 and not even get dining chairs.  If you only have room for one or the other though, the Fusion Table truly stands alone as the Worlds only table that works both as a regulation 7' pool table and a gorgeous modern dining table.  What sets the Fusion Table apart is to some degree it's exclusivity and "wow" factor.  High end apartment buildings and corporate headquarters while disguised as a conference table are the natural habitat for the Fusion.  When we demonstrate the Fusion Pool Table leg risers in our Maryland Showrooms it never fails to drop jaws in amazement.  Despite some complaints about the odd ball construction, this table is still engineered to last for decades with heavy duty steel and diamond honed slate.  Our final recommendation would be to use the Fusion primarily as a dining table and sometimes as a pool table to impress your friends, not the other way around.  With these stunning lines and modern materials you will spend more time admiring your Fusion Table than you will playing on it anyway!

Final Verdict:  B

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Billiard Industry Trade Show Insider Update

Posted on July 22, 2012 | 0 comments

 

 This week Big Al is at the BCA "Summit" industry trade show in Chicago and will be periodically updating his blog.  Stay tuned for real insider info on new products, equipment, and juicy rumors!

July 18th:  Trade show blog

Well it is Tuesday and I'm In Chicago at the annual Billiards and game room products show.  Interesting displays of new pool tables, shuffleboard and table tennis. Also some really cool new cue stick designs.  You should see some of these pros playing!  I'm going to get some words from Eva and hopefully a picture to post on our Facebook page...

July 19th:  Trade show blog

The highlight so far has been the BCA cocktail party, over 600 folks from the billiards industry spent hours sharing notes and ideas.  Home recreation and game room products are still in demand and evolving like any other product area.  Spent time visiting with 8 time world champion Nic Varner, his game is still amazing.  Watched Eva shot 9 ball off the nose of the Pres. of Brunswick billiards, Austin was a great sport.

July 20th: Trade Show Blog

Headed home today with a boat load of new product ideas and designs for the stores.  Great news is that dealer attendance was way up this year over the last couple of years at the show.  Most dealers in attendance see positive progress in their stores with more people showing interest in home entertainment.  Perhaps we have turned the corner as an industry?  Anyway, keep checking the blog for new product introductions over the next couple of months, we are very exited about the things you will see in our Maryland showrooms in the 3rd and 4th Quarter of 2012!

Summit 2012 Draws Solid Attendance in Chicagoland

Exhibits, Education and Social Events Highlight Event

Broomfield, Colo. - July 23, 2012 - The 2012 edition of the Billiard Congress of America's (BCA) Summit 2012, formerly the International Billiard & Home Recreation Expo, was held at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center and Hotel in Schaumburg, Ill., July 18 - 20, 2012.

 

Total buyer attendance for the three-day event was 965, a 36% increase over the 2011 show and the largest attendance since the event in 2008.

 

"Despite continued economic challenges, we are very pleased Summit 2012 generated a substantial increase in attendance," said Summit 2012 Chairman Skip Nemecek. "There was a real energy on the show floor, in the seminars and during the social events that was shared by both attendees and exhibitors resulting in an all-around compelling event."

 

With 293 booths and 98 exhibiting companies, the show floor was comprised of 35,000 net square feet of exhibit space, with an additional 10,000 net square feet of educational and training space. Of the 98 exhibiting companies, 21 were first-time exhibitors or returning to the event after an absence, including: Altivo Pedras, Ltda., American Classic, Inc., Ball Teck Korea, Boraam Industries, LLC, Carrom Company, Cosmos Industry Co., Ltd., Cyclop Phenolic Billiards, DFI Casual Dining & Barstools, ES Billiard Tip Mfg., H. Home, Harmon Designs, LLC, Incredible Technologies, Inc., Jiujiang Jiuxing Sports Co., Ltd., Montage Furniture Services, Nanjing Kanghom Sporting Goods Co., Ltd., Petro Enterprises, Primo Craft, Inc., Robertson Billiard Supplies, Inc., Tobias Designs, Triumph Sports USA, and Venture.

 

"The show this year was beyond our expectations," said exhibitor John Bertone of Kamui Tips. "We picked up many new customers and we were happy to see all of our old friends and peers. We look forward to coming back to Chicago next year, not only for the pizza, but also the social interaction this venue provides."

 

In addition to Summit 2012's show floor activity, the Business of Billiards Seminar Series offered six seminars designed to provide tangible, immediately implementable business improvement solutions.

 

"The education alone was worth my BCA dues," said retailer Michael Zimmerman of Zim's Rack. "Everything else that was included as part of Summit 2012 and the BCA member benefits are added benefits for our business."

 

The industry social, sponsored by the Billiard Congress of America, on Wednesday, July 18, attracted hundreds of show participants who enjoyed free cocktails and soda, while mixing and mingling with old friends, networking with industry leaders and watching a trick shot exhibition by BCA Hall of Famer Ewa Laurance.

 

"We can't wait to come back next year," said retailer Anthony Been of Bill's Recreation. "The variety of exhibitors was above our expectations and the opportunity to meet people during the industry social and on the exhibit floor was great. We also gathered more information from the seminars than ever before."    

Sponsors of Summit 2012 included: Ace Product Management Group, Inc., Atlas Billiard Supplies, Cue & Case Inc., Championship, LLC, Imperial International, Iwan Simonis, Kamui Tips, Tweeten Fibre Co., Siriani & Associates and Viking Cues.

 

During the event, the Billiard Congress of America also announced Summit 2013 will return to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center and Hotel from Wednesday, July 10 through Friday, July 12, 2013. More information on Summit 2013 will be available as it develops at www.bcasummit.com.

 

"Coming back to Chicago is a wonderful choice," said exhibitor David Start of California House. "The location is great, the venue is outstanding to work with and we look forward to returning to Chicago. As a matter of fact, we have already increased our booth size for next year."

 

About Billiard Congress of America 

 

Founded in 1948, the Billiard Congress of America is a non-profit trade organization dedicated to growing a united, prosperous and highly regarded billiard industry through BCA leadership. The BCA seeks to enhance the success of its members and promote the game of billiards though educational, marketing and promotional efforts, an annual industry trade show and other programs designed to encourage billiards as a lifestyle and make pool everybody's game. For more information, visit bca-pool.com or call 303-243-5070.


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Champion Shuffleboard Grand Champion Shuffleboard Table Review

Posted on June 26, 2012 | 0 comments

Today we are going to review one of the best selling shuffleboard tables in the World, the Grand Champion by Champion Shuffleboard Company.

As Champion Shuffleboard (formerly American Shuffleboard) dealers for almost two decades we have sold dozens of Grand Champion model Shuffleboard Tables.  For years this was the true benchmark for furniture style tournament shuffleboard in the home or business, but how does it stack up against modern table competition?  This table features a solid hardwood and veneer cabinet, customizable furniture finishes, and the trademark poured polymer finger joined maple play surface.  Size ranges from 12' all the way up to tournament 22' lengths.  The Play Surface carries a lifetime warranty against manufacturer's defects and the cradle/legs have a three year warranty.

Style

The Grand Champion is a step up from the more rudimentary Champion Shuffleboard Model in the style department.  The maple veneer and hardwood cradle and legs are available in any number of custom wood stains and wood species.  The most popular is a medium to dark mahogany on maple wood with natural maple accents, like the one shown here in one of our Maryland showrooms.  The design on this table is simple and classic, based on the antique tables from the early 20th century.  The Vintage Charleston model is a more expensive evolution of this style concept.  For years the Grand Champion was the nicest looking table on the market with this kind of build quality and it still holds up today.  The game has changed, however, with much nicer looking finished wood cabinets hitting the market at this Price Point.  Bottom line is if you want the traditional Champion Shuffleboard look that has come to define this manufacturer look no further than the Grand Champion.  If you want a shuffleboard table that matches your pool table or more updated style room this will stick out like a sore thumb.

Score:  B+    
 

Construction:

Champion Shuffleboard can be credited for inventing modern shuffleboard table engineering.  The 3/4" maple boards finger joined to create the play surface and the poured polymer 1/4" thick created the first maintenance free shuffleboard that never needs refinishing or sanding.  This is still true today, where most manufacturers are still perfecting the curve of the play surface, the spacing and "tune" of the climate adjusters, and even the moisture content of the the wood.  Champion figured this element out years ago, giving them a real edge on quality play surface construction.  They back up this engineering with a lifetime warranty on the wood and poured polymer where many other manufacturer's will only guarantee the polymer, hoping it will not crack over time.  The cradle, leg, and scorer construction are not as bullet proof as the play surfaces unfortunately.  We have had some issues over the years with veneer splitting or scorer mechanisms failing prematurely.  Most of these problems are quickly remedied but you get the impression the engineers at Champion are better handling commercial table construction than building fine furniture.  Fit, finish, and presentation of the cabinets remains a work in progress, but as one of the largest custom manufacturer's in the country you have to think it will only get better over time.  In the end, the play surface is what you are really paying for and Champion builds one of the best.

Score:  A-

Value:

The Grand Champion is an upper-mid priced shuffleboard table when compared to similar construction and style tables from other manufacturers.  This makes it a good value if American Made and having a premium warranty are high on your priority list.  If furniture style or price point are more important to you then better looking and certainly less expensive tables are available.  Everything is going to be a trade off, but it is hard to argue with twenty plus years of happy customers who still own Champion Shuffleboard tables worry free.  The best value in the Grand Champion size range is 16' and larger, perfect for a nice rec room or commercial space.  Better values in the smaller sizes are available as import boards (less expensive) or from other custom manufacturers (more style options).  The Grand Champion is certainly a long term investment and if you look at the purchase over decades instead of just years, this is a very good value.

Score A-

Conclusion:

In the end you cannot go wrong with a Grand Champion Shuffleboard Table if you want a larger size and traditional look.  Another often overlooked aspect of larger shuffleboard tables is the scoring.  Champion makes the absolute best commercial score units on the market, so if you want to drop $1,500+ on a nice commercial scorer like the one in the picture at the top of this review, buy a Champion board.  We love the Champion play surface when setting these up because the thinner (3/4" maple boards in stead of 1" like most manufacturer's use) tend to "curve" better and stay more true without adjustment.  The climate adjusters are also factory installed before shipping so the boards come in semi-tuned and never warped. The cradle is a classic design but can be a little plain jane for this price point.  The plastic sleeve covering either end of the board is great for durability but looks kind of cheap compared to this tables big brother, the Grand Champion Limited Edition.  We also do not like that the cradle and wood components other than the play surface do not carry a lifetime warranty against splitting, cracking, ec.  We sell pool tables for a fraction of the cost of the Grand Champion that have a lifetime warranty on all wood components, why not this?  Complaints aside, this is a great board than anyone would be lucky to own.

Final Verdict:  A-

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Brunswick Tremont 8' Pool Table Review

Posted on June 06, 2012 | 1 comment

 

As a new feature in the Blog we are going to start reviewing some of the game room options shown in our store.  While it is difficult to be completely un-biased, we are going to look at individual items and do our best to compare them "apples to apples" with other similarly priced competitors.  The first pool table up for review is the best selling Brunswick Tremont 8' Pool Table, a long time favorite in Maryland, Virginia, and the rest of the country as well.  Here are some basic build specs on the table that play into our review:

-Three Piece 1" Framed Slate Play Surface, Brunswick Certified

-Hardwood and Hardwood Veneer Construction with Plywood and HDF support structure

-Lifetime Warranty on all wood components, slate, and cushion rubber through Brunswick Billiards

-Metal Bracket Style Corner and Cross Beam Construction, Faux leather pockets, around 715lb

Style:

The Tremont is a long time best seller because the style is so accessible and universal.  The arched cabinet leading into a ball and claw carved leg has dominated the pool table industry for almost 20 years.  Here is that unmistakable look of a fine furniture style pool table at a surprisingly low price point.  The shield style pocket is also a winner as the look is "cleaner" than the outdated tassel style fringe pockets and the leather shield is more durable.  Brunswick currently only offers the Tremont in the super popular Chestnut Finish and 8' home size.  Around 70% of all modern Brunswick Tables are purchased in the Chestnut finish so once again this looks like a much higher end pool table than it actually is.  There is not much carving or other detail work on the Tremont as those little touches increase the price quite a bit.  The Tremont does feature Diamond Plastic rail sights and a nice rail and blind profile that balances the overall look of the table.  For the money, the Tremont by Brunswick is a great looking table compared to just about anything on the market today.

Score:  A-

Construction:

The Tremont is the least expensive table in Brunswicks Contender line of Pool Tables and this means some sacrifices were made in the construction department.  The Brunswick Certified three piece matched slate is a shared component with every other Brunswick Table, so this is definitely a premium feature.  The rails are solid hardwood, although not a particularly high end wood as they appear very "filled" and artificial next to higher end tables with natural Maple, Cherry, or Oak rails.  The cushion rubber on the Tremont is Brunswick's Centennial Grade cushion.  This cushion is featured on many Contender grade tables and it is noticeably slower than the Super Speed Cushion on the  Brunswick Collection pool tables.  The metal bracket corner and cross beam construction is stable but not as solid as a true dove tailed or post style table would be.  Brunswick's biggest cost cutting measure is the wood veneer cabinet on the Tremont.  Veneer is much less expensive than solid wood, especially on these long side panels.  Customers interested in solid hardwood should look elsewhere.  Over all, the Tremont is stable and stays level, but too many compromised are made to the construction for this to be considered a "players" table.

Score:  B-

Value:

A big reason the Tremont remains a best selling Brunswick pool table is the price point.  With an online price of $1,749 buyers are presented with good value for under $2,000.  Many other major manufacturer's don't have ball and claw leg furniture tables under $2,500 (sorry I can't compare Brunswick to off brand manufacturers).  That being said you can get veneer pool tables for hundreds less and some hardwood tables start around the Tremont price point as well.  The Brunswick Lifetime Warranty is a unique feature at this price point.  The Tremont carries the same warranty as a Brunswick Isabella!  This means Brunswick dealers actually get paid to go back and fix a problem (if any ever crop up) and parts are easily sourced from the largest pool table manufacturer in the world at no cost whatsoever to you as the owner. This is the least expensive table you can buy that still carries what is arguably the best manufacturer warranty available.

Score:  B+

Conclusion:

The Tremont Pool Table by Brunswick offers a good value and excellent overall style but comes up a little short in construction and options.  Another little complaint we hear about the Tremont is the faux leather pockets.  They are noticeably cheaper looking than the real leather pockets Brunswick uses on the collection tables and even the leather shield pockets used by other import lines.  This is the perfect table for families or casual players looking for a solid table to invest in who are willing to compromise a bit on play and finish options.  Brunswick only makes the Tremont in an 8' home size with the Chestnut wood finish, ball and claw legs, and shield pockets.  If they offered a few more wood finishes, beefed up the construction, or put nicer cushions on the Tremont it would be a category killer, until then it remains one of the better values for recreational buyers.

Final Verdict:  B+

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