Ban Closes Business
A simple game of pool will soon be harder to find. Phil Spudich, the owner of Rack n' Roll and Columbia Billiards, is shutting down both pool halls. He said the reason is simple-- Columbia's smoking ban.
"Our business has dropped dramatically since that came into effect, and we just don't like the way the government is working right now. We've been doing business our way, and legally, for the past 33 and a half years, and all of a sudden they change the rules, and we're gone," Spudich explains.
However, the pool halls have their share of faithful customers.
"I used to skip school and come here in junior high and I guess since I was 13 or 14," bartender Mark Barnes said.
"I was about 15 or 16 when I started coming down here to the billiards, despite my parents' wishes that I didn't hang out at the pool hall," customer Scott Carson said.
Some think the smoking ban should be reconsidered and the businesses stay.
"You should be able to smoke, it's just the ambiance of going to the pool hall, you know, drinking beer, shooting pool, and smoking cigarettes," Carson said.
Spudich said he started the business with $75 in his pocket and lived in an apartment in the back of the store.
"It was a labor of love, we didn't really make a lot of money, we just kinda struggled from one day to the next, but it was like having a party everyday in your house, but everyone who came through the door chipped in," Spudich said.
Spudich also owns a third pool hall in Springfield and said he is getting close to retiring.