Rack 'em up!

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Family friendly pool hall opens in Centertown

By Mike Forster

  If your idea of a poolhall includes the smell of stale beer and old smokes, this isn’t your place.

If pool halls conjure up the images of crusty salts with potty mouths, you’d best look elsewhere.

There’s a sign that greets visitors when they enter Shooters pool hall on West Main Street, in Centertown Bedford.  It reads:

“No smoking.  No drinking.  No profanity.  We have invested a lot of time and money to give you a place to enjoy yourself - Please respect our investment and others.”

From the looks of the 11 (yes, 11!) tables and the spotless interior, it is obvious that owners Bob and Jann Sloper have, indeed, invested a lot of time and money in the place, which opened Aug. 6.

“Every table has was taken apart, cleaned, re-leveled and covered,” said Bob Sloper.  “We used Simonis cloth:  the best (to resurface the tables).”

Additionally, they put in new flooring, ceiling fans, pool table lights, a lunch counter and restroom facilities.

The Slopers moved here from Western New York State seven months ago and quickly discovered something that offset the town’s charm.  “There’s nothing to do in Bedford,” noted Sloper.

So, he and his wife went to work helping to build something.  Fortunately, they didn’t have to look far.  

Owners of Floors and More, the Slopers found themselves neighbors to the old Shooters, a place that was more in line with the stereotypical pool hall, according to Sloper.

When the opportunity came to acquire the property, Sloper pounced.

He and his wife have been pouncing ever since.

The most important thing for the Slopers is that their establishment be family-friendly.  “That’s the highlight for me,” said Bob Sloper.  “Watching families interact, laughing and having fun.”

They’ve also made it affordable.  A player can get a large table for $3 an hour.  If there are four players on the table, the total tab is ten bucks for an hour’s play.  There are smaller tables that cost but fifty-cents a game.

In order to keep the peace, the Slopers have instituted a “three strikes and you’re out” policy, which they have crafted in conjunction with the Bedford Police Department.  They’ve also sent out letters to local churches, inviting them to consider starting a church league.  Additionally, they are hoping to start a kids league on Saturday mornings.

There is even talk of hosting a triathlon, to be played on the pool tables, dart boards and pinball games at Shooters.

“We’re working to overcome the stigma of the pool room,” stated Sloper.

“We really believe in Bedford,” said Jann Sloper.  “I think it’s a beautiful community and can be a thriving community.  We all just need to do it all together.  We still believe in small-town America.”

Shooters is open Monday through Wednesday, 5-10 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 5 to midnight; Saturday, 2 to midnight and Sunday, 2 to 10 p.m.

Eight-ball tournaments are hosted each Sunday, at 3 p.m.  All are invited to participate in these tourneys.