You Know You’re From...Nekoosa: Jacoby Custom Cues
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Billiards is ”one of the most popular recreational activities.”
In downtown Nekoosa, between a laundromat and a childcare center sits an international business.
”Yeah, I would say we’re a hidden gem in central Wisconsin,” Brandon Jacoby said with a smile.
Jacoby Custom Cues is among the industry leaders in pool cues.
“We produce about 3,000 cues per year,” said Jacoby, President and CEO. “The global market for pool cues is beyond 1,000,000 cues per month. So what we produce in this little shop is an inkling of the market.”
David Jacoby started the business in 1983, part time. In 1996 he quit his job at the paper mill...
“Everybody said, ‘Dave Jacoby, you’re nuts.’”
...and the business has transformed from a basement operation of two to an international success with more than two dozen full-time employees.
“Now people look at my dad and say it’s the best decision you’ve ever made,” Jacoby said laughing.
“It blew my mind how much went into making a cue,” said Tim Kobza.
Kobza is the Master Cue Builder. He’s been with the company for more than 16 years and wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.
“It’s not your average machining job,” he said. “You get to work with custom orders for people. A lot of creativity.”
“Dream job,” Chad Simone said without hesitation.
Simone is an avid pool player. With just 8 months under his belt he’s still learning the in’s and out’s of the business.
“Before I started working here I didn’t know, like, how big they were. How much was put out of here,” Simone said.
Jacoby Cues’ stability in a global market can be traced back to their stability at home. They don’t see too much turnover, a rarity in today’s economy.
“I think it’s because it’s fun. It’s really interesting when you can build something for scratch, see it transform from nothing to a finished product, and then you still get the experience of a customer saying ‘Wow, you did an amazing job on that,’” said Jacoby.
In the early 2000′s, their cues caught the attention of Jeanette Lee, better known as ‘Black Widow.’ A hall of famer who was once the number-1 female player in the world.
“She played with one and she really liked it,” recalled Jacoby. “So then after that, every company she transitioned to we had to build the cue for her but under the brand of the cue she was sponsored by.”
Other celebrities wanted their product, too. But it doesn’t matter who they’re building for, the time and effort is always the same.
“We’ve also just stayed focused on trying to create a better playing cue. Better quality cue,” Jacoby said. “Incorporating different design elements that are new to the industry and just trying to innovate all the time.”
“We make every aspect of the cue besides the leather tip and the rubber bumper,” said Kobza.
“Building, you know, nice pieces of artwork,” added Simone.
The 39 year history of Jacoby Custom Cues tells us the best is yet to come for this big-time small town company.
“Whatever I have to do to make sure that the customers are getting what they want,” said Jacoby. “Wherever that takes me, that’s where it takes me.”
Brandon has been awarded the ‘Cue of the Year’ on six different occasions. If you’d like to learn more about Jacoby Cues, click here.
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