Fargo Billiards is closing?

AF pool guy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Just saw this on the Facebooks. Even though I’ve never been there, this is a shame.


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Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I think it was the nicest pool hall/restaurant in the country. Very sorry to hear this.
 

9ball5032

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Wow, I just looked at their menu. Impressive. I wish I could have played there.
 

justnum

Principal Investigator of Magic Trick Shots
Silver Member
Any photographs? I am interesting in documenting all pool halls closing and turning it into a documentary on billiard industry.

If pool halls can't stay open, their memory can live on in film.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
An interesting experiment, almost certainly doomed to failure.

I have watched Fargo from a distance, felt sure it would fail unless there was an inflow of cash I couldn't see. It wasn't really a pool hall from what I could gather any more than The Hustler was a pool movie.

A company had a yearly assembly of it's widespread employees. One of the things it had every year was a team building event. They played golf or bowled, something that even the moderately fit could do at some level. One option would be pool at a place like Fargo if Fargo could successfully market itself to the corporate world. However, the corporation liked to rotate what activity they did with upper level people strongly favoring golf. Had pool been in the rotation that would have still only equaled one day every four or five years. Takes a lot of corporations to show a profit if they visit one day every four or five years.

I read of other issues too, food was up and down. Service likewise. However I think the real issue was that the business model was flawed. A real shame, it did seem to be the premier pool site in the US.

No doubt Covid drove the final nails in the coffin but I think it only sped up a lingering death. There were quite a few less than happy customers that went a few times and gave up on Fargo. When I had businesses I figured one unhappy customer made as much noise as twenty happy customers. Just my estimate it is true but I figured that I had to have twenty happy customers, not just satisfied but happy, to break even on one unhappy customer. I figured I had to satisfy about 98 or 99 out of a hundred or I was losing ground. Judging from the internet, Fargo hasn't delivered nearly that level of customer satisfaction. People passing through town seemed likely to visit once and be massively impressed. People trying to be regulars were turned off by poor service, indifferent food that they considered overpriced for what it was, and even the vast emptiness of the place.

My view of things, bearing in mind that my view is based purely on what I read on the internet. Never been there. I did wish them success but it seemed that the business model was flawed and the place suffered from lack of management.

Small business is a tough gig with over eight out of ten failing in the first five years according to old government figures. Most fail because they are under capitalized. Basically if you need to go into business, you shouldn't!

I have been speculating that Covid will remap the American business landscape anyway. Stand alone businesses will be far harder hit than major chains, and major chains have been given the most support.
A good chance that your favorite pool hall and your favorite place to eat will go under while the chain businesses are supported and survive.

I think Fargo was doomed anyway but nobody could predict a pandemic would hit in our lifetimes. Even seemed likely that the world had grown past the danger of pandemics. I thought we had grown past the danger of major holy wars too. Seems like while the surface has changed, the essential things haven't really changed in thousands of years, perhaps made worse by world population density.

Fargo had some issues judging by my internet reading, it also was a bit of flotsam in the overall demolishment of the small business world assuming the info is true.

Hu
 

pvc lou

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
An interesting experiment, almost certainly doomed to failure.

I have watched Fargo from a distance, felt sure it would fail unless there was an inflow of cash I couldn't see. It wasn't really a pool hall from what I could gather any more than The Hustler was a pool movie.

A company had a yearly assembly of it's widespread employees. One of the things it had every year was a team building event. They played golf or bowled, something that even the moderately fit could do at some level. One option would be pool at a place like Fargo if Fargo could successfully market itself to the corporate world. However, the corporation liked to rotate what activity they did with upper level people strongly favoring golf. Had pool been in the rotation that would have still only equaled one day every four or five years. Takes a lot of corporations to show a profit if they visit one day every four or five years.

I read of other issues too, food was up and down. Service likewise. However I think the real issue was that the business model was flawed. A real shame, it did seem to be the premier pool site in the US.

No doubt Covid drove the final nails in the coffin but I think it only sped up a lingering death. There were quite a few less than happy customers that went a few times and gave up on Fargo. When I had businesses I figured one unhappy customer made as much noise as twenty happy customers. Just my estimate it is true but I figured that I had to have twenty happy customers, not just satisfied but happy, to break even on one unhappy customer. I figured I had to satisfy about 98 or 99 out of a hundred or I was losing ground. Judging from the internet, Fargo hasn't delivered nearly that level of customer satisfaction. People passing through town seemed likely to visit once and be massively impressed. People trying to be regulars were turned off by poor service, indifferent food that they considered overpriced for what it was, and even the vast emptiness of the place.

My view of things, bearing in mind that my view is based purely on what I read on the internet. Never been there. I did wish them success but it seemed that the business model was flawed and the place suffered from lack of management.

Small business is a tough gig with over eight out of ten failing in the first five years according to old government figures. Most fail because they are under capitalized. Basically if you need to go into business, you shouldn't!

I have been speculating that Covid will remap the American business landscape anyway. Stand alone businesses will be far harder hit than major chains, and major chains have been given the most support.
A good chance that your favorite pool hall and your favorite place to eat will go under while the chain businesses are supported and survive.

I think Fargo was doomed anyway but nobody could predict a pandemic would hit in our lifetimes. Even seemed likely that the world had grown past the danger of pandemics. I thought we had grown past the danger of major holy wars too. Seems like while the surface has changed, the essential things haven't really changed in thousands of years, perhaps made worse by world population density.

Fargo had some issues judging by my internet reading, it also was a bit of flotsam in the overall demolishment of the small business world assuming the info is true.

Hu
Interesting take on it, Hu.

Question: Why do you think Carom Café on Long Island, NY has survived all these years? What I understand is that their main room is all billiard tables and that real estate (rent/taxes) is high in those parts.

-Lou
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
Interesting take on it, Hu.

Question: Why do you think Carom Café on Long Island, NY has survived all these years? What I understand is that their main room is all billiard tables and that real estate (rent/taxes) is high in those parts.

-Lou

Lou, bear in mind that I know absolutely nothing about Carom Cafe. I have watched Fargo since it opened. My guess is Carom took care of the major expenses when things were different. It may be fully paid for and taxes being the major hit. Sometimes appraisers sleep on old businesses not raising taxes for decades too. An owner/operator with low needs and expectations may be another factor. A difference of one or two employees can make or break a business. If Fargo was leasing tables that was a big nut to fight right there every month. The carom tables were no doubt bought and paid for long ago.

Carom almost certainly has a very devoted customer base. A niche thing, with few places to enjoy it. A room full of Carom tables would be much more pleasant to play at than a room with one Carom table usually next to the door or in a high traffic area. While there aren't many carom players in the overall scheme of things, there aren't many carom rooms either.

My guess, if the Carom Cafe opened today, it couldn't survive with the overhead it would be bucking. Low overhead, low expectations from the owners, and clientele that have been coming there forever probably keep it open. It still may not survive. A lot of pool halls are marginal businesses and will die due to Covid. They can't take the unexpected losses. The Carom Cafe may be in the same boat. Many many small businesses are failing now and will in the next year or two as they give up the struggle created by the pandemic.

Hu
 

pvc lou

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Lou, bear in mind that I know absolutely nothing about Carom Cafe. I have watched Fargo since it opened. My guess is Carom took care of the major expenses when things were different. It may be fully paid for and taxes being the major hit. Sometimes appraisers sleep on old businesses not raising taxes for decades too. An owner/operator with low needs and expectations may be another factor. A difference of one or two employees can make or break a business. If Fargo was leasing tables that was a big nut to fight right there every month. The carom tables were no doubt bought and paid for long ago.

Carom almost certainly has a very devoted customer base. A niche thing, with few places to enjoy it. A room full of Carom tables would be much more pleasant to play at than a room with one Carom table usually next to the door or in a high traffic area. While there aren't many carom players in the overall scheme of things, there aren't many carom rooms either.

My guess, if the Carom Cafe opened today, it couldn't survive with the overhead it would be bucking. Low overhead, low expectations from the owners, and clientele that have been coming there forever probably keep it open. It still may not survive. A lot of pool halls are marginal businesses and will die due to Covid. They can't take the unexpected losses. The Carom Cafe may be in the same boat. Many many small businesses are failing now and will in the next year or two as they give up the struggle created by the pandemic.

Hu
I can dig it. We'll see, I suppose.
 

Scott Lee

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
An interesting experiment, almost certainly doomed to failure.

I have watched Fargo from a distance, felt sure it would fail unless there was an inflow of cash I couldn't see. It wasn't really a pool hall from what I could gather any more than The Hustler was a pool movie.

A company had a yearly assembly of it's widespread employees. One of the things it had every year was a team building event. They played golf or bowled, something that even the moderately fit could do at some level. One option would be pool at a place like Fargo if Fargo could successfully market itself to the corporate world. However, the corporation liked to rotate what activity they did with upper level people strongly favoring golf. Had pool been in the rotation that would have still only equaled one day every four or five years. Takes a lot of corporations to show a profit if they visit one day every four or five years.

I read of other issues too, food was up and down. Service likewise. However I think the real issue was that the business model was flawed. A real shame, it did seem to be the premier pool site in the US.

No doubt Covid drove the final nails in the coffin but I think it only sped up a lingering death. There were quite a few less than happy customers that went a few times and gave up on Fargo. When I had businesses I figured one unhappy customer made as much noise as twenty happy customers. Just my estimate it is true but I figured that I had to have twenty happy customers, not just satisfied but happy, to break even on one unhappy customer. I figured I had to satisfy about 98 or 99 out of a hundred or I was losing ground. Judging from the internet, Fargo hasn't delivered nearly that level of customer satisfaction. People passing through town seemed likely to visit once and be massively impressed. People trying to be regulars were turned off by poor service, indifferent food that they considered overpriced for what it was, and even the vast emptiness of the place.

My view of things, bearing in mind that my view is based purely on what I read on the internet. Never been there. I did wish them success but it seemed that the business model was flawed and the place suffered from lack of management.

Small business is a tough gig with over eight out of ten failing in the first five years according to old government figures. Most fail because they are under capitalized. Basically if you need to go into business, you shouldn't!

I have been speculating that Covid will remap the American business landscape anyway. Stand alone businesses will be far harder hit than major chains, and major chains have been given the most support.
A good chance that your favorite pool hall and your favorite place to eat will go under while the chain businesses are supported and survive.

I think Fargo was doomed anyway but nobody could predict a pandemic would hit in our lifetimes. Even seemed likely that the world had grown past the danger of pandemics. I thought we had grown past the danger of major holy wars too. Seems like while the surface has changed, the essential things haven't really changed in thousands of years, perhaps made worse by world population density.

Fargo had some issues judging by my internet reading, it also was a bit of flotsam in the overall demolishment of the small business world assuming the info is true.

Hu
Wow Hu...I have a completely opposite view of you, and I know Mike Page well, and have been cognizant of his business plan from the beginning. He has always been a hands-on owner, and has had competent management with Rory and crew. Having been there many times (although not at all in the last 3-4 years) the food was excellent, both in quality, price and quantity (Mike had a chef on staff). I'd have to read the reviews you read to see if it's one or two disgruntled customers...but I would find if very difficult to believe everything you posted here. No doubt the last 8 months have been brutal for all room owners nationwide, and if that is what killed Fargo then it is a loss for all of us. I have championed Fargo Billiards since it's inception, and like Bob Jewett, I considered it the top room in the USA, for many reasons.

Scott Lee
2019 PBIA Instructor of the Year
Director, SPF National Pool School Tour
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The entire metro-area around Fargo is only about 250,000 people. I'm actually kinda surprised they lasted this long. I know places far bigger that can't keep rooms going. I'm sure C-19 was the final nail and its too bad. Whatta a nice spot to play.
 

goettlicher

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
An interesting experiment, almost certainly doomed to failure.

I have watched Fargo from a distance, felt sure it would fail unless there was an inflow of cash I couldn't see. It wasn't really a pool hall from what I could gather any more than The Hustler was a pool movie.

A company had a yearly assembly of it's widespread employees. One of the things it had every year was a team building event. They played golf or bowled, something that even the moderately fit could do at some level. One option would be pool at a place like Fargo if Fargo could successfully market itself to the corporate world. However, the corporation liked to rotate what activity they did with upper level people strongly favoring golf. Had pool been in the rotation that would have still only equaled one day every four or five years. Takes a lot of corporations to show a profit if they visit one day every four or five years.

I read of other issues too, food was up and down. Service likewise. However I think the real issue was that the business model was flawed. A real shame, it did seem to be the premier pool site in the US.

No doubt Covid drove the final nails in the coffin but I think it only sped up a lingering death. There were quite a few less than happy customers that went a few times and gave up on Fargo. When I had businesses I figured one unhappy customer made as much noise as twenty happy customers. Just my estimate it is true but I figured that I had to have twenty happy customers, not just satisfied but happy, to break even on one unhappy customer. I figured I had to satisfy about 98 or 99 out of a hundred or I was losing ground. Judging from the internet, Fargo hasn't delivered nearly that level of customer satisfaction. People passing through town seemed likely to visit once and be massively impressed. People trying to be regulars were turned off by poor service, indifferent food that they considered overpriced for what it was, and even the vast emptiness of the place.

My view of things, bearing in mind that my view is based purely on what I read on the internet. Never been there. I did wish them success but it seemed that the business model was flawed and the place suffered from lack of management.

Small business is a tough gig with over eight out of ten failing in the first five years according to old government figures. Most fail because they are under capitalized. Basically if you need to go into business, you shouldn't!

I have been speculating that Covid will remap the American business landscape anyway. Stand alone businesses will be far harder hit than major chains, and major chains have been given the most support.
A good chance that your favorite pool hall and your favorite place to eat will go under while the chain businesses are supported and survive.

I think Fargo was doomed anyway but nobody could predict a pandemic would hit in our lifetimes. Even seemed likely that the world had grown past the danger of pandemics. I thought we had grown past the danger of major holy wars too. Seems like while the surface has changed, the essential things haven't really changed in thousands of years, perhaps made worse by world population density.

Fargo had some issues judging by my internet reading, it also was a bit of flotsam in the overall demolishment of the small business world assuming the info is true.

Hu
Hi Hu

Somewhat short eyesight here. By your claims you have never been there. I sure have, hundreds of times.
Fargo Billiards was always my top ranked Pool Room ever! Great employees, the finest of food and top notch management. Their entertainment schedule was almost breathtaking. So many things to do it was mind boggling.
None of us want to see our sport dwindle let alone just plain close down. Covid strikes again!
In hindsight, maybe I could have had more full pool schools there, attended so many great tournaments and just fill-a-seat.

America has lost an icon!

Randy Goettlicher
ACS/PBIA Master Instructor
 

pt109

WO double hemlock
Silver Member
To me, what makes or breaks a room is how much it costs to open the doors every day.
I told a friend I figured it cost him $1,350 a day in the early 90s...we went in the office and he perused the books..
...said I was very close. So if he was taking a G note a day in the summer months, get used to losing $.
The rooms that have been around for a long time have a good lease..and in the slow times, one or at the most two people can manage it.
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
as said its your business plan that makes or breaks you. some places make it in spite of running it poorly or not the most efficiently. that doesnt mean they are doing well or are run well.
if you arent making a profit that you can live with then you must change things immediately in business. most wait and hope and then its too late. if covid broke them its a shame but they had 8 months to fix their problems and make it so they can stay in business. and i bet till the day they close like most places will do just what they did in the past which didnt make enough money to survive or build up a cash reserve to weather any storm.
like hu i am just guessing. and wish more pool rooms can survive.
 

PVD16

New member
This was one of the best run pool rooms that I have seen. They catered to many more sport than pool. They had Volley Leagues, Corn Hole leagues, Pin Ball Tournaments, catered to the baseball teams and more. The food was outstanding when we made the 5 1/2 hour trip from Winnipeg Canada to some off the best run pool tournaments I have played in. But when the customer can no longer or choose not to attend these functions because of Covid for 8 months it is very hard to survive. There will be many more businesses that close before this is over. This has nothing to do with the business plan or model of this business. It was a viable business for 10 years just could not survive this unfortunate situation.
 
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