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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 4, April 2011, Posted On: 4/1/2011

Champion Shuffleboard Acquires Arizona's Connelly Billiards

Nick Montano
Kelye Stites, Kelly Stites, Connelly Billiards, Southwest Billiard Manufacturing, Craig Connelly, Valley, Dynamo, Tornado, pool table, billiards, foosball, air hockey, table soccer, shuffleboard, coin-op games, classic arcade game, home recreational products, commercial pool table, billiard table manufacturer, billiard sales, pool table sales

RICHLAND HILLS, TX -- Table game honcho Kelye Stites is adding another manufacturing interest to his Dallas/Ft. Worth-based holdings. The owner of Champion Shuffleboard, Valley, Dynamo and Tornado recreational products has acquired Connelly Billiards from Arizona's Southwest Billiard Manufacturing. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded by Craig Connelly in 1980, Connelly Billiards Manufacturing Inc. is regarded as a premier manufacturer of quality and custom billiard tables for the home market. The line will complement and bolster Champion and Valley-Dynamo's custom product offerings for home gamerooms (see VT, Jan.). Late last year, the companies revealed plans to energize their sales with the addition of furniture-crafted versions of classic games for carriage-trade locations and the home recreation market.

After three difficult years industrywide, Stites says his companies' sales began showing improvement eight months ago. He expects the recovery trend to continue and says the timing is perfect for investing in a new product line. Connelly's Tucson, AZ, production will likely move to Texas.

"We can now offer our customers a superior, furniture-grade billiard table, and we will also gain the experience of Connelly's craftsmanship and finishes to improve and expand all of our product lines," Stites said. His home recreational lines will be marketed through the Champion Shuffleboard division, which reportedly might offer Valley home tables to select dealers. Valley has been the leading coin-op pool table for more than 50 years.

The original Valley Co. was established in 1947 and pioneered the development of coin-op pool tables. It acquired Tornado, a trendsetter in forming the U.S. table soccer market, in 1999, and later that year merged with Dynamo, one of the originators of the frictionless "air hockey" game. Brunswick Corp. purchased the organization in 2003 and sold it to Stites in 2009. Both Champion shuffleboards and Valley-Dynamo tables are manufactured in Richland Hills, TX.

Stites is looking to apply the technical experience of Champion and Valley-Dynamo to the production of upscale pool tables, shuffle alleys and foosball games. Plans call for styling the new lines in choice hardwoods complemented by the high-quality finishes for which Champion has become famous.

Connelly's product line includes 30 billiard table models in six sizes. When this variety is added to the design and configuration ranges in the Champion and Valley-Dynamo lines, Stites explained, greater possibilities for fully customized and matching gamerooms can be achieved.

Visit championshuffleboard.com and valley-dynamo.com.

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