We just got back from this years BCA trade show in Las Vegas Nevada and have all the inside info you could want on the industry. Attendance was down a little bit from last year but in this economic climate that is not suprising. The small timers and fly by night retailers are all pretty much out of the picture, so the show floor was populated by established and successful retail representatives (like us!) who where looking for the hot new items for this fall and deals on everything else. Here are the product highlights:
DMI, long know for thier non-slate economy priced pool tables debued a new "ACUSL8" Play surface material on their American Legands Pool Table line. This material is somewhere between slate and a ceramic and wieghs about half of traditional slate mined out of the ground. It ships in one piece and is designed for home owners to setup themselves. Look for these new tables on our web site later this year
Shuffleboard Tables were huge this year, with new offerings from companies like Brunswick, Olhausen, Hudson, Champion, Level Best, and more. Innovations inlcude a new two piece play surface system from Champion Shuffleboard, eliminating the need to ship boards over 16' in one piece. Not to be bested, Olhausen billiards had thier own version of a multi-piece play surface on display. Brunswick also showed two new shuffleboard tables with rock maple play surfaces not officially (but most likely) made by Champion. These tables in coordinating Brunswick Wood finishes can be seen in Robbies Billiards Showrooms later this year.
In the Bar Stool and Game Table front value and matching sets were the focus. Long time custom manufacturer's like California House and Darafeev were out in force with more economically priced offerings (well, considering that it is all hand built in the USA) and finish/fabric combinations taken from more mainstream furniture trends. Darafeev had a line of Epresso Finish game room furniture we are planning to bring in to our Frederick Showroom in late September to match the Brunswick Treviso (see it HERE) that was stunning to see in person.
On the Pool Cue end of things the trend is toward more technology and innovative designs/materials. McDermott Cue re-designed 90% of thier product line this year to include carbon fiber reinforced shafts, hi-end imported Japanese Tips, and more. Predator Cue and Poison were once again the hot item with bleeding edge designs and technology for 2011. Look for more modern designs in the future with less emphasis on linen wraps and standard maple shafts on cues over $200.
As the industry struggles with issues like Minimum Advertised Pricing, Distribution Channels, flagging demand for traditional slate pool tables and more, we find it important to support the industry by visiting the trade show every year. If you are curious about anything else on the horizon for the industry or just want my honest opinion of something you see on our web site or otherwise, shoot me an email at email@example.com Here is to a strong 2010 and remember to support your local specialty retailer!