Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cue-game business takes winning break

THE Redlands business community was a little puzzled a few years ago when a highly successful company supplying tables and accessories for the gentle sports of billiards, snooker and pool disappeared from its high-profile location.
Master cabinetmaker Rod Jeffries and wife Christine had come from Tasmania in the mid-1990s, set up a formidable presence for Unique Billiards on Redland Bay Road, Capalaba, won the Redlands Small Business Award in 2000 and kept expanding.
Then the signs came down and Unique Billiards retreated from the commercial heartland to Mt Cotton Road, Sheldon, making many wonder if something had gone wrong.

JUST over four years later, the bewildered can be assured the move actually meant things were going right – so right, in fact, that Christine says the firm has "never looked back".
"We were getting bigger and bigger but cheap imported tables and accessories from China were starting to flood the market," she says.
"We decided what we really wanted to do was make top-of-the-range high-quality tables. The staff here are like family really – we would rather have them than buy a container load from China.
"So we moved from high volume sales to personalised design and service."
With Christine as designer-decorator and Rod’s skills from nearly four decades in his trade, Unique Billiards has sold tables between Newcastle and Emerald.
It is now meeting a surge in demand with sales doubling in the past six months, Christine says. Prices range from $2000 to $16,000.

CHRISTINE says Unique Billiards has made some magnificent tables, including one in New Guinea rosewood and with handcarved legs for a room in the same timber. The client was a Redlands timber merchant.
Although the tables often feature exotic and special timbers such as Tasmanian oak and blackwood Christine says buyers’ tastes are changing.
"We are now also producing contemporary designs in stainless steel and chrome, and with maybe purple cloth instead of the traditional green," she says.
Unique Billiards imports cloth from England and slate from Italy. Ex-Taswegians now in the Redlands may remember television advertisements featuring Rod as "Hoss Cartwright" and offering a bonanza from his Devonport business, Bedroom City.
Christine says her husband now prefers to keep a lower profile and a hands-on approach with the firm’s five other trade specialists.

THANKS for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.

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