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Cary Thompson. ~Serena Black {Interview}

Seybert’s Billiard Supply is a great company to work for and I—Cary Thompson—am very happy to be a part of something that continues to grow. In a sense I feel as though I had a hand in the success, even if in little ways. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service, and one on one interaction with the customers.

In an e-commerce world it is easy to get caught up with the automatic emails that are generated and the automated phone systems with answering services. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to speak with “a real person” and not being able to. With Seybert’s Billiard Supply we are there for our customers either on the phone, email or with our social media sites. They are our number one priority.

When I am not working I enjoy fitness and sports. I shoot pool in APA every week as well as coach cheerleading and softball. I have always had a strong pull in writing and have had several articles published over the years in various outlets. I’ve been in the billiard industry for 10 years, and will continue to do what I love for as long as I possibly can.

Serena Black: How did Seybert’s begin? Who began this company and how long has it been around?

Cary Thompson: Seybert’s Billiard Supply started from the love of the game. Part owner, Jim Tong, has always had an interest in the sport and started by selling a few cues out of a side room in his tractor dealership. Sid Kreis, also part owner, shot pool with Jim on leagues. In 1998 the internet began to boom and Sid approached Jim with the idea of selling cues online. With Jim’s enthusiasm and OK, Sid started reading books and learned how to build the website. At the time, Jim was introduced to a new cue company, Predator Cues. They were just starting out and with Sid’s new knowledge of the world wide web, he listed them online and the site took off.

SB: How long have you worked for Seybert’s and what is your occupation/position? How did you become affiliated with the company?

CT: This is my 10th year with Seybert’s. I came from a corporate world and excelled in typing and data entry. They brought me on mainly to manage the internet orders that came in. That position continued to grow into other areas over the years. I do everything from sales and marketing, to invoicing, purchasing, customer service and so much more. Once they realized my strength in writing I started doing online press releases. Then social media came around and I began managing those outlets as well. It is imperative that we all step up to the plate and do whatever needs to be done. All of us have jobs to do in different areas but it is not unusual to lend a hand in other departments as needed.

SB: Did the company begin as a warehouse or originate online?

CT: The company began from selling cues out of Jim Tong’s dealership and then went online. Once the business grew and the site took off the location was moved down the road to another building. We have a storefront and the online site. Our location allows us room to expand as well.

SB: How do most customers place orders? How many customers do you see each year?

CT: Yes, most phone calls we receive are questions regarding products that result in either a phone-in order or an online order. I do not work in the showroom much. My position requires me to be near a computer and phone. However, we do get quite a few walk-ins. Our guys are trained in all areas to change tips, sell products, clean shafts and more.

SB: How many companies or brands does Seybert’s offer?

CT: We have over 3000 items on our site and stock most of the items listed. We sell Predator, Lucasi, Schon, McDermott, OB, Viking, Pechauer, Players, Scorpion, Cuetec and more.. too many to list!

SB: What would you say has been the top selling item from your company? Why do you think it is so successful?

CT: Our top selling item is a tough question, but the top selling brand is Predator. I believe it to be successful because of the technology involved that allows for accuracy, low deflection, solid hit and feel. Other brands that are also high on the list as top sellers such as Lucasi, OB, Pechauer, and McDermott.

SB: Has technology made an impact on your companies success? If yes, how so?

CT: Yes, technology has played a huge role in the success of Seybert’s. Seybert’s Billiard Supply was one of the very first online billiard stores, and continues to grow year after year. People are now ordering more online than ever before from tablets, smart phones, and computers. It is easy to sit back and place an order in the comfort of your own home.

SB: Where is your headquarter/business located? How far do people travel to work with you?

CT: Seyberts is located in Coldwater, MI. That is the only location. Our staff includes employees that are local to the area. The furthest drive is 30 miles.

SB: Is your company a worldwide distributor?

CT: Yes, is a world wide distributor. We sell both resale and wholesale all around the world. We have many international and domestic customers with businesses that order from us.

SB: What was the big break for Seybert’s? How far has the company come?

CT: The big breaks for Seybert’s have been several things over the years. First, it was the internet and the faith that Jim had in Sid to build it. Then, it was the introduction to the new cue line—Predator Cues. After that I would say the building of a new website about five to six years ago and continually staying in tune with the technology available. As I am sure you know, it changes all the time.

SB: Where do you see this company in ten to fifteen years? Given that the billiards industry is continuing to grow and the younger generation is becoming more involved, do you think Seybert’s will see a boom in business?

CT: I see myself still working for Seyberts doing what I love. I know this company is special and we are like a family. The business itself has grown every year I have been here, and I truly believe it will continue to do so. Billiards is becoming more popular and online shopping is at a high right now. Most people enjoy having the ability to shop with a click of a button.

SB: What tournaments, exhibitions, or players do you sponsor?

CT: Seybert’s will do many local sponsorships for tournaments and benefit auctions. We also sponsor the Jr. National Tournament, the Great Lakes Tournament, and local individuals and teams that make their way to Vegas.

Serena Black is a 16 year old up and coming pool player with the ambition to make an impact on this industry. She has received numerous awards in her three years of competitive billiards, and is eager to improve her game. She is trained by KJ Williams from the CueSport Academy, and is sponsored by Kamui Brand and Mezz Cues. Serena plans to attend Lindenwood University in the fall of 2016 to compete with their professional billiards team. You can follow her through her fan page on FaceBook. Photo: Provided by Cary Thompson Editor: Hannah Blue

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