Friday, April 6, 2018

A Special Kind of "Company For All Seasons"

We can truly call our company "a company for all seasons".  To be precise, such a title can only apply to companies in places that actually have four seasons!  Now we're not among the many "companies for all seasons" that landscape in the summertime and plow snow in the wintertime.  Nor are we supplying swimming pools in the summertime and fireplaces in the wintertime.  But we are still in fact "a company for all seasons" - just not the usual type.
               As a U.S. business in northeast region of the country, in which there are sharp and extreme changes to each season, we certainly qualify for such a title.  For those not familiar with this area, it's a region in which the temperatures can be in the single digits in the wintertime and be pushing triple digits in the summertime!  Even the predictability of those extreme  weather patterns have become somewhat puzzling in recent years.  Heck, it was 37 degrees (F.) this morning with a light mix of rain and snow falling, which would be fine if today wasn't April 6th!
               So that said, this post may only be of great interest to New Yorkers, New Jerseyites and New Englanders, along with much of the Eastern Seaboard.  This may also appeal to Upper Midwesterners, Pacific Northwesterners and Rocky Mountain folk.  The post may be of great 'irrelevance' to most of California, the Southwest, the Deep South and  Hawaii - but I digress.  
               As those who may be familiar with our company (or who have read previous posts in this blog), we are basically 'two-companies-in-one'.  But it didn't happen as a matter of concern for having a 'summer-ready' business in the summer and a 'winter-ready' business in the winter.  In fact, winter and summer aren't even our strongest times of year- spring and autumn are (and that happened progressively in a very personal way).
               As shown on our history page, we were originally a purveyor of hand-crafted pool-tables on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City.  But the founder's son personally loved bowling so much (at one time belonging to five leagues on a weekly basis), that he extended that passion into the company's business.  The sport's popularity was escalating on an unprecedented scale at the time in the 1940s and 1950s.  So it turned out to be quite a wise move and the growing pool-table shop on the Bowery also became the first call shop for bowling balls and supplies as well.  At one time, we had lines out the door and around the corner for the most popular bowling ball brand of that era (Manhattan Rubber), which were expertly fitted and drilled by none other than the founder's son himself!
               Now this was all well and good.  But as we discovered, there is an ebb and flow in the popularity of recreational sports, sports leagues are ultimately seasonal, and businesses (meaning: the people in business) pay bills year round.  Therefore, we needed 'something else'.  Bowling leagues, at that time of great popularity, were predominantly "trophy leagues" - meaning that winning teams were awarded trophies at the end of each season.  The founder's grandson picked up on that as an opportunity when it was time to expand our business and expand our reach in the greater New York metropolitan area.  In fact, he picked up on it and took it a few steps further.  It was nice to see people who bowl being recognized for a job well done and be able to capitalize on that.  But aren't all competitive sports conducted and concluded this way?  Also, don't all people have a need to be recognized for a job well done?
               Those questions would be answered definitively when our Yonkers store opened in 1959.  Subsequently, Loria would become the most popular supplier of bowling trophies in the New York metropolitan area.  This eventually leads to building an in-house production shop for the manufacturing of every type of award product conceivable.
               Two moves and fifty-nine years later, Loria continues in Yonkers, New York, as an established and well-recognized, fourth-generation family business.  Even though the original NYC location was eventually closed in 1998, we have retained the trade of our company's founding (pool tables, pool-table supplies and service).  We also expanded into previously uncharted territory with the introduction of recreational darts in the 1990s, as well as expanding our all-purpose recognition business - a division that has become an integral part of our company.  Since its introduction in the late 1950s, our recognition division has grown from supplying trophies to bowling leagues to literally providing "awards for all occasions" as well as innovative, in-house engraving services.
               Even though the bowling division was subsequently discontinued after roughly fifty years, due to drops in the sports popularity over the years, it deserves a nod of gratitude as it was that division which subsequently opened the door to our recognition business - a part of our company that has expanded exponentially over the years and remains perpetually as the steady, predominant staple in our company.
               What's more, and perhaps the most important point of this article, is that even though we are indeed a "company for all seasons", we do not selectively do one thing in one season and something else in another season.  We are here year-round serving the needs of our customers in both our original pool-table/pool-table service division and our expansive awards/engraving division.  As I mentioned earlier, we are still in fact "a company for all seasons" - just not the usual type.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Own An Important Piece of American Sports History!

The Date:  Tuesday, February 14, 1978
The Place:  The Starlight Room at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC
The Event:  "The Challenge of the Legends"
The Headliners:  Willie Mosconi vs. Minnesota Fats
The Host:  Howard Cosell (pronounced "HOWWWID CO-SELL!")
       This special moment in time took place on national television one weeknight, on a special edition of Wide World of Sports on ABC-TV.  This very special event drew a 'who's who' of pool playing masters that evening.  In addition to Willie Mosconi and Minnesota Fats, there was Irving Crane, Allen Hopkins and Steve Mizerak (among others).  The event was promoted as "The Match of the Century, Heavyweight Championship of Pool" and billed as "The Great Pool Shoot-Out". Besides a colorful and highly skilled cast of characters, there was a special pool table being utilized as the centerpiece of the tournament.  It was a limited edition, custom-made pool table called "The Hudson".  
       "The Hudson" was manufactured by Brunswick sometime between 1900 and 1916, was patented for its design in 1911, and was installed for this iconic event by another New York City pool icon - V. Loria & Sons.  This company was founded in 1912 was originally located on the Lower East Side at 207 Bowery*.  The first store moved a couple of times on the Bowery and remained in business for approximately the next 85 years.  Four generations have succeeded the founding of V. Loria & Sons and the company is now centered at our sole location in Yonkers, New York (just a few miles north of the Bronx).  
       Although 40 years have passed since "The Challenge of the Legends", there will never be another event quite like it.  Surely there are many masters of the game that have come on the scene since this auspicious event in the history of pool & billiards.  
But what made this event so special and so unique was the headlining match-up between two very different personalities in the sport of American pool & billiards - one a sharp-tongued, larger-than-life figure in the game (upon whose life the iconic film "The Hustler" was made) and the other a quiet and reserved grand-master of the game, who's machine-like precision is still looked upon as the benchmark for pool players today.  The commentator Howard Cosell, who needs no introduction, voiced over the competition as he had so many legendary sporting match-ups before and since - from Muhammad Ali's boxing matches to being one of the seminal voices of Monday Night Football.  
       This unique collision of personalities in that space and time will never be duplicated.  While the main players and cast of characters have passed on since then, the table upon which all this history took place is still around and resides in its original tournament condition** for sale here at Loria.  Next month will mark the 40th anniversary since "The Challenge of the Legends" in 1978, and that very table, "The Hudson" (by Brunswick), is accruing more collector's value than ever before!
       So if you are interested in owning a genuine piece of American sports history, look no further than 1876 Central Park Avenue in Yonkers, New York.

Click here for a clip of this iconic event in the history of American pool & billiards: "The Challenge of the Legends"

Click here for more information on "The Challenge of the Legends" broadcast on ABC-TV in 1978.
*The first store location was at 207 Bowery, but moved down the block to 176 Bowery in the 1920s, and eventually next-door to 178 Bowery in the 1970s.

**All components, including the original finish of "The Hudson" pool table are exactly the same as during "The Challenge of the Legends" tournament and have been preserved since then, with the exception of the leather pocket covers (which were replaced with exact replicas of the original).

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Do You Like Dominoes? Then You'll Like Us!

Archaelogically found domino tile made
of bone and wood, circa 19th century.
       *Tile games have been found in China as early as 1120 A.D.  Some historical accounts have traced evidence of the existence of the pieces, way back to a soldier-hero named Hung Ming (181-234 A.D.).  Other historians believe that Keung T'ai Kung, in the twelfth century B.C., had created them.  Modern dominoes first appeared in Italy during the 18th century.  But how Chinese dominoes developed into the modern game that is still so popular in the West, is largely unknown.  Even so, it is widely theorized that Italian missionaries in China may have brought the game to Europe.
Archaelogically found domino tile
made of slate, circa 18th-19th century.
        Although the precise details surrounding the invention and origin of "dominoes" have been subject to much conjecture, the game itself has become one of the most popular and versatile gaming implements ever devised by man, and has been played by kings, presidents and commoners. 
       Now you don't have to be part of any particular social strata to take advantage of the great variety of domino sets offered by Loria in Yonkers, New York.  
"Marblized" gold resin composition
dominoes, currently available at Loria.
We have been offering a substantive selection of dominoes for everyone from the casual player to the genuine enthusiast for almost twenty years.  We offer exciting color-combinations in solids, patterns and two-tones - all in the regulation thickness.  
       
Check us out online on our secure e-commerce website or visit our convenient showroom on Central Park Avenue in Yonkers, New York.


*The research information in the first two paragraphs of this post is from Pagat.com and Wikipedia.com.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Loria: Your Best Source for the Best Playing Cards!

Chinese printed playing card,
dated c. 1400 A.D.
       Most historical accounts attribute the invention of playing-cards to the Chinese, under the Tang Dynasty,  around 900 A.D.  The game's popularity became widespread throughout the ensuing centuries in China and made its way to Europe by way of Egypt - most likely through the trade-routes that were established between the Far East, the Middle East and the West.
       In the eleven centuries that have passed since the royal courts of Chang'an (present-day Xi'an), playing cards have been used for just about all recreational occasions the world over, in which dozens (if not hundreds) of games have been invented using the same 52-card deck. Moreover, the popularity of playing-cards has never really waned since their creation.  

       For almost twenty years, Loria has been the "go to" place for plastic-coated playing cards.  Why is that important to know?  Because if you are serious about your card games, or you are only interested in the the finest quality playing cards at competitive prices, look no further.  We don't carry anything less than the "card player's card".  Our playing cards are 100% plastic-coated, available in poker-size and bridge size, with both regular-size  indexes and jumbo-size indexes available in either card-size.
       Our brands include DaVinci (in various editions) and Marion Pro.  So if you want the best playing card the next time that you're holding a "royal flush", look no further than Loria - either online or at our showroom on Central Avenue in Yonkers, New York.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Commercial Grade Game Tables Always "On the Level" Here at Loria!

IBC "Oakwood"

Great American "Monarch"
(coin-operated)
Great American "Power Hockey"
(coin-operated)

Great American "Pro Series" foosball
(coin-operated)
          Although our history of pool-table sales over the years (as well as sales of other types of game tables) have been predominantly for home use, we have always (and continue to) offer the best line of commercial-grade game tables that we can possibly offer.  
The IBC "Starlite" with 
custom "diamond-plate" laminate
          But commercial-grade tables are not only appropriate for "commercial", coin-operated use (i.e. bars, pool-halls, etc.), but also for any venue requiring game-tables that can withstand "heavy traffic" and only necessitate basic maintenance.  
Garlando "Olympic" outdoor foosball
(coin-operated)
Some examples of those "venues" that may call for commercial-grade quality game tables (other than bars and pool-halls) are colleges, hotels, community recreation centers, veterans hospitals and assisted living homes.  

          That's why our lines of commercial-grade game-tables are among the best that the industry can offer.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Traditional "Gaming" Is STILL Alive & Well at Loria! (pt. 2)



       Because of the microchip, the internet and the satellite, we are enjoying an efficiency in everyday life and business that is utterly mind-boggling. What cars, jet planes and space shuttles have done for "physical travel", the inventions out of MIT and Silicon Valley have done for "information travel" - whether that communication is in the form of a movie, a photo or a simple verbal message.
       On that point, I specifically address the "entertainment' aspect of technology in the present-day world.  Such satellite-based digital/wireless technology recently turned another momentous corner in 2016 with the release of Pokemon Go!, thus melding the real world with the virtual (at least to a certain extent anyway).   The game soundly combined the the technologies of GPS, CGI and wireless connectivity.  But because the players wander out into the "real world" to play this game, real-world public safety issues compelled that region of the virtual world to all but disappear.  
       But now, there are a multitude of virtual reality games in which millions of players can simultaneously compete with each other through a worldwide wireless network of connectivity - without wandering out into the real world. Even though the public safety issues inherent in a game like Pokemon Go! were eliminated, the latest games using worldwide particiapation tie still the player's senses entirely to the game - a game in which reality only exists, well...virtually.
       Even though the games are technological marvels (and they really are) what has this kind of "entertainment" does this do to a young person's perception of "reality"?  As I asked in a previous post, "Will the real 'real world' please step forward?".
       The point is:  You can only be "virtually" killed or injured in a digital video game.  A swipe of the index finger "accomplishes" things in the virtual world that otherwise take quite a bit more effort in the real world.  People are not required to be in the same room to compete with each other, which of course is one of the points of this game in the first place.  It's also one of the points of this article - but more as a 'cautionary tale'.  These virtual world acquaintances among players do not require any real world social skills.  It's like being isolated, yet in a large crowd.  That lack of true interaction among young people in their recreational time may create a population of adults that won't know how to effectively communicate "in person".  And that's the point.

       


or...

       As we have become ever-increasingly caught up in the virtual world, we dwell in a world where we seem to be "here, but not here".  You know the scene, a group of four convene in a family restaurant and all four are entranced by whatever device they possess (well, the device that possesses them may be more like it).  They're connected to everything except each other.  This is a popular lament among those who predate the technology revolution.
       Suffice it to say that the real world has been permanently revolutionized by this kind of technology - no question about it - and it's not going anywhere but up.  The efficiency of everyday business tasks has exponentially soared. Personal convenience has been re-defined.  Remote communications around the globe have, in a sense, shrunk the world.  That's the natural progression of these things anyway - for better or worse.  
       But as mentioned in an earlier post, basic "human" things have gone down in the process.  Frequently, things like in-person conversations, basic social interaction skills, handwriting skills, actual 'person-to person' camaraderie among family and friends have taken a back-seat in everyday life if not altogether banished.  We're a very distracted society - no question about that either.
       For those in search of a returning to more "organic" ways of having forms of entertainment in the real world with real people in the same real room (the original "chat room" if you will), do not be discouraged!  Loria offers what we like to call "traditional gaming".  Yes, behind this genuine editorial is a sales-pitch for the type of gaming that encourages "real world" camaraderie and competition.
       So if you're tired of being led around by remote control in the world of digital gaming and wish to play games in the real world, do not despair.  Loria, as a stubborn purveyor of "traditional gaming" for more than one-hundred years, offers an extensive array of these games - from our wide variety of home and commercial slate-top pool-tables to table-tennis, foosball tables, air-hockey, shuffleboard and combination poker/dining tables and bars, with stools and chairs to match!  We have been the "go to" place for over two decades for league quality steel-tip darts, dartboards and dart accessories - as well as the "royal" game of chess (including an LED-lit version), an assortment of plastic-coated playing cards, dominoes and even bingo!  
       As a fourth generation family-business, we have a hard time surrendering what we deem important in entertainment - being in the real world with real people having fun together - unlike the virtual world of digital gaming, where too often we're "here, but not here".  I don't condemn the world of digital gaming.  I just know that it shouldn't dominate our lives when it comes to entertainment because then our real lives just become "virtual" as well.  Even in the world of entertainment, making pleasant memories with family and friends means being in the same room with them (at least for the most part). 
       For more information on our variety of "traditional gaming", please visit our showroom in Yonkers, New York and/or our website:  LoriaPoolTables.com

By Roger V. Loria, Jr.

Friday, October 28, 2016

More Than What Meets The Eye: Visit Our Showroom Today!

       "I've passed this place about a million times and this is the first time I've come in."  "Gee, this place is a lot bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside!"
       If I had a dime for every time I heard these sentiments from a  first-time customer, I'd be...well...let's just say I'd have quite a bit more saved for retirement!  I usually hear these quoted words (or words to that effect) once a week depending on the time of year (some times of the year are busier than others).  It's either the first quote, the second quote or both.  
       Nonetheless, however and whenever it's said, it just shows me a number of things of which I often need reminding.  Among the reminders are:  We've been here a long time on the well-trafficked road of Central Park Avenue (Rt. 100) in Yonkers, New York.  We've been noticed on this main commercial route much more than we realize.  The people who express these sentiments are never disappointed when they finally make their way into the store.
       Now our building isn't the eighth wonder of the world.  But apparently, the fifteen-foot vaulted ceiling in the front of the building is highly visible for pedestrians and passing motorists.  It makes a noticeable difference on the road to any passerby.     However, according to many surprised first-time visitors, they thought that was the entire store!  But it isn't.  What is apparently not visible from the road is the twenty-four foot wide showroom space inside the front of the building and the fourteen foot wide corridor of showroom space that leads to the expanded showroom space in the back of the building.
       In all of the aforementioned spaces, we've consistently kept an attractive display of goods, set up in a tasteful room decor, knowing that taking care of your showroom translates into a more attractive shopping experience for our customers.  This is basic stuff actually, "retail 101" if you will. However, it's not always practiced, even in some of the more prominent retail store chains in the area.  
       But we're not a chain.  We're a family-owned and operated business that was established 104 years ago (and counting) as a custom pool-table manufacturer on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  We've had a store in Yonkers for 59 years (and counting) and have been at this present location for the past 43 years (and counting).  Since 1998, this has been our sole location.  We're still a vendor of quality slate-top pool tables and other "traditional gaming".  But we've also become one of the best known awards suppliers in the tri-state area since opening the store in Yonkers 59 years ago.
       So if you're in the Yonkers area and you're in the market for what we offer - or if you're just curious about that building with the high, triangular-shaped roof and stucco siding at 1876 Central Park Avenue (that you've happened to pass by a million times) - take a moment to stop by and take a look inside.  You'll find that there's more than what meets the eye compared to what you've seen from outside.  You'll probably be a million times surprised as well!