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Southern Billiards… Cool Cues

Southern Billiards… Cool Cues
By Beth Volpert-Johansen

Scott Carpenter and his son, Bryan, love to come to work every day. Inside the doors of Southern Billiards awaits a combination of artistry, skill, craftsmanship, and family.

Over the past 30 years, Scott has figured out how to combine work and play into a business that has attracted the skills of his son who is helping dad take it to the next level.

“We have had stores over the years in different locations, but it was my wife, Cindy’s idea to open up here in Loganville,” says Scott. “She has always been amazingly supportive and this idea turned out to be her best.” 

Southern Billiards is undergoing a great many changes inside and out. The father-son team has been remodeling the interior of their shop to showcase the many cues available that vary in price and quality from beginner to serious competitor. Walking from case-to-case, one can begin to see the artistry in a cue that bolsters the skills of the handler. Inlaid materials from ivory to rosewood make a cue’s action distinct in the hands of a player. “I equate it to this,” says Scott. “If you have a cue that will make all the shots, and you miss, it was you that missed, not the cue; it’s that important.” 

Both Scott and Bryan fall directly into the serious competitor category with trophies from many of the top billiards competitions displayed on a vintage 1902 Tiger Oak Pool Table stacked atop a 1905 Brunswick Arcade 10’ Snooker Table which was originally located at Big Town Billiards in Atlanta. The Brunswick Arcade is accented in ebony, ivory, mahogany, and rosewood making it a beautiful stage for displaying the many trophies won by Scott and Bryan over the years. 

Scott working a cue on the lathe in his shopLeft: Scott working a cue on the lathe in his shop.

The two are members of the American Poolplayers Association (APA) which hosts tournaments worldwide. Each week, Scott and Bryan welcome local APA members to their store on two separate nights for Tuesday 8-Ball and Thursday 9-Ball amateur league games. “As far as I know, we are the only father-son team at the “7” handicap level (locally) in the APA,” says Scott. “We have won our way to the Las Vegas Tournaments at least 10 times.” The Las Vegas APA tournaments last for 8 days with pool play running 24 hours a day. “If you love to shoot pool, that is the place to be,” says Scott. “You play, rest up when you can and play some more; you can win enough prize money to pay for your trip.” 

When they are not playing the game, the pair are selling the game to a whole new generation of players. By providing lessons and a place for the whole family to play outside of competition, Southern Billiards is committed to the future of the sport. “I played at home as a kid,” says Scott. “There is nothing like shooting the ball into the pocket.” The family tradition remained strong with both of Cindy and Scott’s children, Bryan and Crystal,  playing the game. “I love pool–always have,” says Bryan. “I have always loved business too; it is important to know your business well to be successful.” 

Success in the billiards business means keeping up with the times. Bryan has built an online presence that has translated into dozens of orders each day for items as small as cue chalk to entire tables. Scott spends a great deal of time “tuning up” cues on the lathe in his workshop. When he handles a particularly beautiful cue, one can see in his eyes his appreciation for the craftsmanship. “When my son turned 18, he began as a “4” APA handicap,” says Scott. “I told him that if he could get to a “5” that year I would give him my Thomas Wayne pool cue–the man only makes 10 hand-built perfect cues each year.” Bryan took the challenge and got to a “5” handicap in 5 short weeks. Dad gladly handed over the cue and the pair began a new chapter in the family business. It was a sure shot. 

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