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Starting a business in the best of circumstances is difficult, but Sara Armijo said trying to launch Lazy Dog Billiards Club (LDBC) during the COVID-19 pandemic has been among the most challenging endeavors either she or her co-owner husband, Alan, can remember undertaking.
“We started this business in July of 2018 with the prospects to open in June of 2019,” she said. “However, there were two national government shutdowns that delayed our [Small Business Administration] funding, local turnover in the city that delayed decisions on plan reviews and permits, and delays on the business-classification designations. We were very excited to finally get things moving at the beginning of 2020 and we’re on target to open in June.”
Armijo said that if all goes according to plan, there will be a few soft openings to test all the areas of the operation and then a full grand opening with a triple ribbon cutting, with the Greater Las Cruces, Hispanic and Green chambers of commerce.
Armijo said LDBC have a full-serve liquor license for spirits, beer and wine, as well as a menu that will consist of pizza, pretzels, wings and salads.
The building is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of East Amador Avenue and South Campo Street. It will have 12 pool tables, each with high-grade, tournament-quality playing cloth. The building she said, is just shy of 6,000 square feet in area, and will also have dartboards.
“The tables are Diamond Pro-Ams, which are among the highest quality tables for competitive billiards in the world,” Armijo said. “Last year, we purchased [them] from one of the founding fathers of Billiards Congress of America, Mark Griffin, in Las Vegas, NV. We were lucky to score 12 Diamond box lights to match the Diamond tables.”
She said service for the tables will be a combination of local vendors who specialize in Diamond products, as well as in-house upkeep.
Armijo said LDBC will be open to leagues for both 8-ball and 9-ball players, in both men’s and women’s formats. In addition, tournaments will be scheduled weekly. When leagues and tournaments are not in session, table rentals will be $9 per hour. Dart board rentals will be $5 per hour, with an additional rental fee for equipment, if players opt not to bring their own.
All rental fees will be halved, she said, for people who buy memberships in the club and keep them current. Other membership perks include food and beverage discounts and a reduction in league fees.
LDBC’s dartboards will be Winmau Pro SFB Bristles, Armijo said, adding, “We intend to offer dart rentals, and hope to host a dart league during the week. We have been asked about a shuffleboard table and, as of now, it is not something we’re planning to do.”
Because of COVID-19, Armijo said the club will not initially open or run at full capacity.
“We’ll follow all of the rules that are in effect at that time as far as sanitization, social distancing and other protocols set forth by the state,” she said. “In addition, there will be further steps taken to assure our clients that they are safe, including disposable menus, a person at all times dedicated to constant sanitization, contact-free payment, etc.”
Armijo said that although the process has been arduous, and the opening conditions will be challenging, both she and her husband are excited about bringing pocket billiards back to Las Cruces, which lost both of its pool halls in recent years with the closings of My Brother’s Place and Q-Time.
“We’re very excited to bring a professional-level pool hall to Las Cruces,” she said. “Our goal is not only to service those who are experienced pool and dart players, but to also develop new players with available classes and a fun environment. We are also planning on having family-friendly hours during the days on weekends, when children will be allowed, and alcohol will not be served.”