Reynoldsburg billiards hall owner wants law scratched

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 Messenger photo by Stephanie Nesler
Zack Goldsmith takes his turn as his sons, Logan 7 and Devyn 12 admire his skill at The Spot in Reynoldsburg. Goldsmith and his co-owner, Mark Maszon, are asking City Council to repeal a 40-year-old law that prohibits alcohol sales in a business with more than one pool table, which they claim is hurting their revenue.

Although Reynoldsburg City Council is taking its time calling its shots  on an ordinance that would allow billiards rooms to sell alcohol, it’s business as usual at The Spot Family Fun and Billiards on Brice Road.  

A 1968 regulation states that the City of Reynoldsburg prohibits the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises of pool rooms containing more than one pool table.

At the Sept. 24 City Council meeting, Councilman Doug Joseph, chairman of the safety committee, moved for the deletion of sections of the pool hall regulations prohibiting alcohol sales and requiring that pool tables be in view from the street.

Joseph recommended that the customary three full readings of the ordinance be suspended and a vote be taken immediately. But Councilwoman Donna Shirey and Councilman Mel Clemens stated that a third reading of this ordinance should be enforced, requiring the nearly 40-year-old regulation to again, appear on the following week’s agenda.

 

Mark Maszon, co-owner of The Spot, believes the law is keeping his business from flourishing.

He maintains that The Spot Family Fun and Billiards is a family-friendly facility featuring Olhauser Billiards tables, which the owners say are the best in the business.  

 

"Our pool tables are the same one you see on ESPN," Maszon said. In addition to pool tables, The Spot also features ping-pong, foos-ball, shuffle board and darts.

The original intent was to create an alcohol-free pool hall, but unfortunately that business model is just not working, stated Maszon.

"We’ve purchased ad space in high school newspapers and contacted nearly 70 churches in hopes of starting an in-house league," he said. "We received no response.  We expected some resistance when we posed the addition of alcohol to our facility but nothing like what we have encountered."

 

Obviously, beer and shooting pool go together for many people, he has concluded.

"Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are interested in playing pool at The Spot if we had alcohol," said Maszon who sited that many competitive tournaments require that alcohol be available to those who participate.  

 

"We need to serve alcohol to at least be competitive," said Maszon.  "We run a responsible business and nothing would change with the addition of alcohol.  We have plenty of safety precautions in place.  The Spot is monitored by high- tech cameras which cover a 360-degree area."

Patron Glen Skeen, a father and Reynoldsburg resident, says that the addition of alcohol will bring a higher level of play into The Spot.  

 "I’m a competitive player and alcohol brings in higher-skilled players," said Skeen.

"It won’t be a bar atmosphere; patrons want to be sharp when they play pool. They want to win," said Maszon.

Co-owner Zack Goldsmith stated that revenue generated from alcohol sales would probably only be 30 to 35 percent of their entire revenue.  

 

If City Council fails to amend the current legislation The Spot owners say they may pursue other avenues.  Their question to City Council would then be what kind of alcohol permit is The Spot eligible to obtain.

The bottom line, said Maszon, is that if they are unable to obtain a license to serve alcohol, they will need to shut down, move and find investors.

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