Craig Connelly

A Game Room is a Family Room

by Craig Connelly

Your Game Room is a Family and Friend Magnet!

Your Game Room will become your family and friends gathering place. Many parents grew up with a billiard table in their home when they were growing up. They want to replicate that experience for their kids. They recall great times when their friends would come over and hang out at their house. Many parents want to create a family game room so their kids spend more time at home versus in someone else’s home or on the street.

Shuffleboard Table

This custom shuffleboard table is on display at Craig Billiards

For young adults having a game room in their home is a great way to entertain friends versus going out to a bar or club. Their home becomes the go to place to watch a game, shoot some pool and socialize with their friends.

The same goes for retired folks, they want the game room for both family and friends.  Creating a family game room often means that the grandkids come over to hang out more often.   It really makes for a more fun place to gather, and gives you something to do besides just watching TV or playing on your computer.

The great thing about a contemporary game room is that now you can have so much more than a pool table!  A custom or semi-custom pool table can be paired with a ping-pong conversion top to do double duty.  Adding a shuffleboard table is also a great idea, and with today’s custom designs, these tables are a work of art that adds beauty and value to your home.  Custom design means that your new shuffleboard table can match the decor of your home, whether it be traditional, modern, loft-inspired or vintage.

Stop by CRAIG BILLIARDS to see our line of in-stock, ready to deliver pool tables and shuffleboard tables.  It’s time to start working on your gathering place!

Airpark News Article

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RECREATIONAL RELAXATION

Craig Billiards specializes in pool tables and furnishings to create game rooms for gatherings

Story and Photos by Ken Abramczyk


Craig Billiards displays this contemporary pool table featuring LED lights

Craig Billiards displays this contemporary pool table featuring LED lights

Craig Connelly calls himself the “billiards elder” of Arizona—and for good reason.

During his 40-year career, Connelly has sold and installed more than 50,000 pool tables in Arizona alone,  mostly through his company Connelly Billiards, which he owned and operated from 1980 to 2009.

Five months ago, he opened Craig Billiards in the Scottsdale Airpark to market and sell equipment for a sport that was played by 34.5 million U.S. participants in 2013, according to www.statista.com.

“What’s cool about (pool) is it’s a great family activity or social activity,” Connelly says. “You can have friends over and, instead of watching TV, you can shoot pool and interact and it requires hand-to-eye coordination.”

Back in business

Connelly kick started his new business after experiencing the highs and lows of manufacturing, selling and distributing billiards.

Connelly began his career manufacturing pool tables while he attended ASU in the late 1970s, applying his woodworking skills he learned in his youth and metalworking in high school. He was hired to help a pool table maker at his one-man shop at 48th Street and University Drive in Tempe.

The tables were built during the week. On Fridays, Connelly delivered them to customers. In 1980 he decided to forego two corporate job offers upon his ASU graduation to start Connelly Billiards in Tucson. The business eventually grew to more than 150 dealerships across North America and abroad. In 2008, Connelly started a factory in Nicaragua. As chairman of the Billiard Congress of America’s specifications committee, Connelly wrote a majority of the table specifications for the industry in the 1990s, he says.

Like other industries, pool tables sales tanked with the recession. The American and international markets were further decimated by the less expensive Asian pool tables hitting the American market that Connelly called inferior. “You don’t know if the wood was dried or what chemicals were used to dry the product,” Connelly says.

In 2009, Connelly sold Connelly Billiards’ Tucson operations and the company name to a conglomerate in Texas in 2009. That company moved the Tucson operations to Texas. Connelly tried to continue to manufacture tables in Nicaragua, but he lacked capital to expand it globally and that forced him to close the factory in 2014.

Tabletop fun

Connelly sells American-made pool tables, but he also stocks shuffleboard, air hockey and foosball tables, and game tables for card players. He even sells a pool table that converts to a dinner table by adding a tabletop, and carries outdoor billiard, shuffleboard and foosball tables.

Card players and their friends can take their seats at the next gathering for a little poker or another favorite game

Card players and their friends can take their seats at the next gathering for a little poker or another favorite game

For those who want additional seating and bar ambience, he sells game room furniture, including bars, bar stools, pub tables and spectator chairs, including one with a compartment in an arm to store cigars and an ashtray.

Craig’s main line is pool tables, manufactured in Portland, Oregon, by Golden West Billiard Manufacturing. It features a designer series with styles varying from contemporary with its Reverse Rainbow incorporating LED lighting in its arch and base to the Heartland series with its craftsman style to match traditional woods in the home.

Even with all of his varied inventory in other games and furnishings, most customers look at the pool tables. Connelly says consumers should look at American-built tables with thick beams and thick corner blocks, “You are only going to buy one or two, so why not buy a table that is solid and well-built?” Connelly says. “They should look for solid wood and confirm that it is, and look for an American manufacturer.”

Connelly outlines a size chart on his company’s website so that customers can figure out what size works best in a particular room. Colors of the table’s cloth surface also can be matched up to other colors in the room.

As for the other game tables, shuffleboard is a hot item, as the board fits well in a tight space. “It only takes up an area about three feet from the wall,” Connelly says. The tables also can be used for bowling because special bowling pins are available to add a little variety to the table’s usage.

This spectator seat offers a cigar lover a place to store stogies and an ashtray

This spectator seat offers a cigar lover a place to store stogies and an ashtray

Now that the economy has rebounded, Connelly set up shop and hopes to begin manufacturing pool tables in an approximate 4,000-square-foot area behind his 2,500-square-foot showroom.

He remembers starting out in 1980, driving up and down the West Coast, learning as much as he could about manufacturing pool tables. “I just looked at the competition and think ‘that’s that, now how do we do it better?’”

That attention to detail and researching the competition began at a young age. “When I was 5, I started selling Kool-Aid. A kid down the street had a stand, so I bought some of his Kool-Aid. It was warm.

“I knew then I had to have a bigger sign and some ice cubes.”

 

Craig Billiards
15816 N. Greenway Hayden Loop, Suite 400
Scottsdale 85260
(480) 907-7600
www.craigbilliards.com

Room Dimensions for a Pool Table

Two of the main concerns and questions billiard/ pool table customers ask is if their available space is large enough for a pool table, and which size table is best for the room area.

Let me start with explaining how the 3 main sizes of pool tables are measured. Even though we call pool tables 7′ 8′ or 9′, the true measurement is from the nose of the cushion to the opposite cushion (both width and length).

Bar Size pool tables are measured 39″ x 78″ and are called 3 1/2 x 7′ (a 7 foot table)

Standard Size pool tables are measured 44″ x 88″ and are called 4 x 8′ (an 8 foot table)

Tournament Size pool tables are measured 50″ x 100″ and are called 4 1/2 x 9″ (a 9 foot table)

There are other sizes of billiard tables globally but these are the 3 main sizes for pool tables in the USA and Canada.

What Size Pool Table Do I Need?

There are minimum room dimensions that are recommended for a pool table.  These numbers are based on the standard cue length of 57″- 58″:

  • a 7′ pool table requires a minimum room size of 12′ 9″ x 16′
  • a 8’requires a minimum room size of 13’2″ x 16’10”
  • a 9’requires a minimum room size of 13’8″ x 17’10”

pool-table-room-size-chart

Choosing a pool cue size:

If you don’t have quite the necessary room size listed above, or you have a pole or obstruction in the room, you can always purchase a 36″ 42″ 48″ or 52″ cue stick. For example just subtract the 52″ cue from the 58″ cue and you need 6″ less in width and length of your room.
Stop by or call Craig Connelly at CRAIG BILLIARDS if you would like to discuss the required room size for a pool table further. We are happy to work with you to find the perfect furniture for your game room!