Episode 1

March 26, 2023


Ping Pong World Record & Gold Medalist - Homer Brown

Hosted by

Dr. Chase Horton
Ping Pong World Record & Gold Medalist - Homer Brown
Discover Birmingham
Ping Pong World Record & Gold Medalist - Homer Brown

Mar 26 2023 | 00:44:41


Show Notes

Chase Horton sits down with a guest who has reached the absolute pinnacle of his sport. Homer Brown holds the world record for most consecutive appearances in the Table Tennis US Open, he has won several Gold Medals in the Senior Olympics, he is a US National Table Tennis Coach, and he is the owner and founder of America's first table tennis store, BumperNets. He gives back to the community by teaching P.E. teachers how to teach table tennis in schools. Visit BumperNets in the Riverchase Galleria and at the link below.


Save 10% off First Month ---> BetterHelp Online Therapy




The Discover Birmingham Podcast is a production Dr. Chase Horton

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 But I did go ahead and save all my money, I think in the year of 1968 for a real expensive table tennis robot. Hey, and thanks for checking out the Discover Birmingham Podcast. Here we talk about events going on around our city. We highlight local businesses and we meet people who are doing things in our community. This is our first episode, and I'm thankful to have you here with me. Today's guest has accomplished more in the sport of table tennis than Arnold Schwartzenegger ever did in body building. This man holds the world record for the most consecutive appearances in the table. Tennis US Open, he's won multiple gold medals in the Senior Olympics. He's a US national coach, and he's the owner and founder of America's first table tennis store. It's in the river Chase Galleria, and it's called Bumper Nets. You might have been there. He's the Babe Ruth of ping pong, and I really enjoyed hearing his stories and drinking some coffee with my friend, my neighbor, Mr. Homer Brown. Speaker 1 00:01:30 I cry. Speaker 0 00:01:45 What are you drinking? This is coffee. Well, it's espresso. So when I went to Baba Java, I just ordered a regular shot of Espresso Uhhuh <affirmative>, and I came home and I poured some milk in it. So I just have a little bit there. I like espresso personally better than drip coffee. What about you do you have a go-to when you, when you go to a coffee shop? Usually do cafe latte most of the time if I go, but at home I'll do like, uh, dunking Donuts in the KC Cup just for quick, quick easy. Yeah. Starbucks. Yeah. Gets the job done. But I did try some Americano coffee down when I was down on 30 a at a coffee shop, and it was really good with cream and sugar. I think Americana is, um, it's also espresso, but I think they use water. Oh. Speaker 0 00:02:39 Instead of milk. It's the way I, it's the way I understand it. Someone's gonna be listening to this who's a coffee conno syrup and be like, this guy has no idea what he's talking about. But that's the way I understand it. Yeah. I'd rather have milk. Yeah. Same. Well, Homer, thanks for doing this, man. I appreciate you coming on. And, uh, this is episode one of the Discover Birmingham podcast. And I wanted to kick us off with you because, you know, you were, you were a gamer before video games were existed. You're kinda like the OG of gaming in a way. Tell us a little bit about your experience. So you, you own bumper nets, which was the first what Speaker 2 00:03:16 America's, uh, first table tennis store. Speaker 0 00:03:19 You started America's first table tennis store. Okay. What made you wanna start that? Speaker 2 00:03:25 Well, as you mentioned, uh, I've always been kind of a gamer, I guess when I was in my early ages and, uh, was I was always doing something, um, whether it was a kickball or, uh, croquet or tennis or ping pong in the neighborhood, basketball, whatever it was, I was doing something and, uh, fell in love with playing table tennis in my last year of high school. But then I got into it in college and really fell in love with it as far as the competition and the interaction I was having doing it. And, um, and Speaker 0 00:04:06 The way I understand, you got pretty good at it. Speaker 2 00:04:09 I did. And, uh, of course I asked someone, I said, how, how can I get better? And they said, well, why don't you start a team at, at my college? So we did and we played other colleges and um, uh, that went really well. And then, so I got into even stronger tournament competition through the USA Table Tennis Association. Played in tournaments. In fact, my first tournament was in Gadsden, Alabama. Is that right? Yeah. And, uh, just from then on I started going to tournaments and, and loved it and, uh, knew that it would be a sport that I could actually play for a long time into my nineties. Speaker 0 00:04:51 So you said your first big tournament was in Godsend. Yeah. Your first more serious one. Yeah. At what point did you realize that it was gonna become a big deal for you? You know, once before the gold medals, before the world championships, before national, when did you realize that you were really good and it was gonna be something you were gonna pursue? Speaker 2 00:05:13 Well, you know, I, I felt that I was, um, a real consistent player and didn't even need as much practice to still be good and, uh, kept going to tournaments. I was really a tournament player, not a person that liked to practice. I could tell that, that I had the passion to win. And, uh, a lot of, you know, playing sports, it's that mental aspect. They say that 80% of its mental and, uh, so wanting to win, uh, is, is important. And, uh, I could tell that I had that. So, uh, proceeded to, you know, go to tournaments and get better. Actually got nationally ranked top 40 back in 1971 right after, I'd just been playing for a little while. So I knew that was really good. So I had that, uh, opportunity to get better. Speaker 0 00:06:07 How long were you playing before you got nationally ranked? Speaker 2 00:06:11 Probably as far as, uh, competition, probably about a year and a half. Speaker 0 00:06:15 Seriously. Yeah. That escalated quickly. Speaker 2 00:06:18 Yeah, it did. Speaker 0 00:06:20 But so you got nationally ranked. How does that work? Is it the top 10 get invited to the national tournament, or how, how does that work? Speaker 2 00:06:27 Well, back then, at that time, they just ranked the top 40 men players. And, uh, I think at that time I got what the Honorable mention, which is around 38 39 in men's singles after a big tournament in Atlanta, which was the, uh, US open. And, uh, it was done by a team of folks that would rank the players. Speaker 0 00:06:50 So your first US Open tournament was in Atlanta, Speaker 2 00:06:54 Actually, my first one was, uh, in San Francisco. I drove all the way out to, uh, San Francisco and my white Mustang with a buddy of mine to play in my first tournament drove from St. Louis. And that was such a big, uh, experience, well, not only to travel, but to play in that tournament and see all these top players. Speaker 0 00:07:13 You and your buddy are road tripping to San Francisco and you know, you're gonna play in your first US Open. Are are you nervous? Are you excited? Has it really, really even sunk in that you're about to play in in such a big tournament? Speaker 2 00:07:28 I think with the, it being on a long trip and all that, that probably took some of the nervousness as way Speaker 0 00:07:35 Outside of when you're playing, uh, in a national tournament like that, who are you playing against for practice? Did did some of your friends play? Do you get in clubs around the area? Like where are you practicing your skills Speaker 2 00:07:48 Back then? Uh, I had, uh, some friends that played in Chattanooga, and then of course at school I had, I tried to get the best players that I could, uh, to practice with. But I did go ahead and save all my money, I think in the year of 1968 for a real expensive table tennis robot, a ste a robot out of made outta Sweden. So it was pretty expensive. But, um, at that time I think it was around $650, which was a lot of money. And I got that. So I would, I took that to college and would play against that, that, that helped me. Speaker 0 00:08:33 So was this robot essentially your roommate Speaker 2 00:08:36 <laugh>? Yeah, probably. So That's, Speaker 0 00:08:38 That's awesome. So, so you were playing against a robot and was this thing, was it clumsy or, or did they really have it down like, this thing was really good to play against? Speaker 2 00:08:47 Yeah, at that time it was considered the best and it, it was fast and it could do a lot, lot of different things, top span, back spin set up or serves to you and, uh, it, it would really give you a workout. So yeah, that was my buddy. Speaker 0 00:09:03 Yeah. <laugh>. Did you did uh, give it a name? Speaker 2 00:09:07 Uh, I can't remember that. Uh, if I did or not. Uh, I guess it was my buddy. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:09:12 <laugh>. That's great. All right. So you've been in, tell me if I'm wrong here, but don't you have the world, the Guinness Book of World Records for appearing in the most US opens? Is that what it is? Speaker 2 00:09:26 I don't know if it's in the, the Guinness Bur of records, but I know the U S A T T has got it marked where I've been to 52 in a row. Speaker 0 00:09:35 So you have the world record for being in the most consecutive US Open table tennis tournaments. Speaker 2 00:09:41 Yes, that's correct. Speaker 0 00:09:42 And then though you won a gold medal or more doing what? Speaker 2 00:09:46 Well, the gold medals recently, uh, that I'm most proud of would be probably in the Senior Olympics cuz I won the singles doubles and mixed doubles, uh, at that particular time. So that was really something special to get to gold in all three of them. Speaker 0 00:10:02 You haven't only played in the US though, you've played all over the place. You played in China, right? Speaker 2 00:10:07 Yes. I had an opportunity to, uh, go to China for the, uh, 35th year reunion of the US and China because of, uh, when our US team had visited China and got invited over to China in 1971. Speaker 0 00:10:22 Yeah, let's dive into that cuz you, you told me that story, but I think that'd be a really good story to share with people about how the table tennis match up between us and China kind of opened the door to reestablish a trade relationship between US and China, right? Speaker 2 00:10:39 Yeah, basically, yeah, that, uh, there had been no American in China for like, I think they said 25 years that I know of the US team was going to the World Championships, uh, that year. And I was planning on going, uh, cuz at that particular time my doubles partner was John Tanner Hill, who recently passed away and, uh, we're playing doubles. We played doubles in, won us open together and uh, obs gotta go over with the US team had already purchased a ticket to go and, but at that particular time it was, it was gonna be in the world championships in Japan. Nagoya. I was excited about going, uh, to see the US team play and see my doubles partner play and uh, unfortunately I didn't get to go cuz I just bought, I had a golf dealership and they said, you better stay here with it. Speaker 2 00:11:28 It might not be here the time you get back cuz it was gonna probably be a 10 day trip. So I didn't go. But then at that particular time at the World Championships, our US team got invited to China to uh, tour it and to, it was kind of a, I guess a way to get the US back and having a good relationship with America. It kind of opened the door. So, uh, a couple of those players, I think one of 'em got on the wrong bus and made friendship with their team players and that kind of set it off where, uh, the best player in the world recommended back then to the leader of China, which I think was Ma Mayo was his name. And uh, they recommended to invite the team over, which they did. So the reason I got to go on the 30 50 reunion in 2006 was because the president of our U S A T T, uh, had knew I missed out on going on that trip. She said, I'd like you to go with our, our US team, all the living members to go back for the 35th year reunion. So I got to actually go with them and my, my friends and I was with John Tan Hill and the other players and the coach at that time, Jack Howard, who's recently passed away too. Speaker 0 00:12:47 And they were pretty good hosts for you guys, right? They were they rolling on the red carpet? Speaker 2 00:12:51 Oh yeah, they did. It was unbelievable. I mean, we arrived in Beijing and got greeted with flowers and it was, we had a special bus that they were touring us around on. It was really amazing. Go to the, some of the best restaurants and it was really something cause I'd like to eat and we'd pull up some of the restaurants and whole staff would be out waiting on us to greet us. You know, I'll never forget we went to the, uh, best player that was giving us the tour, probably the best player ever. And uh, he took us to his school where he went and trained to be as good as he was. And, uh, I'll never forget that in the parking lot they had 1500 students all in attention in their big parking lot waiting for our bus. Wow. So that was, that was amazing. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:13:43 Well ping pong is a huge deal in China. It's their national sport, right? Yeah, yeah. So when the US team went over to play China, were you guys considered the underdogs? Because, you know, it, it's not as popular of a sport here in America, so I wouldn't think that it has the funding. It probably doesn't have the uh, the backing that it does in China being the national sport. So would you have guys have been considered the underdogs when you went? Speaker 2 00:14:10 Well that particular time what they did actually was, uh, did exhibition matches to uh, share with the Chinese people. They toured 'em around. When they did visit, they visited a great wall, which I got to do on the, the 30 50 reunion trip. Of course. That was really something I did get to play, uh, a couple matches in one of the stops, even though I wasn't on the US team, I was invited to uh, play a match. I just barely lost that had a five game match and it was kind of interesting. It was a Sunday morning that we were going to school. Cause I was told that that time time that they go to school seven days a week. So <laugh> it was kind of interesting that we were going to school to do the exhibition on a Sunday. It was also kind of unique because we were running behind, the bus driver was running behind. So they allowed the bus because the traffic to go on the opposite side of the interstate to get to this school in time for our big exhibition cuz they had TV and everything there. Man. Speaker 0 00:15:18 Y'all had police escorts and Speaker 2 00:15:19 Everything? Yeah, everywhere we went. Yeah. In fact, one of the sponsors of our trip for the US team had a clothings business over there and he asked us to, uh, wear some of his outfits for a, uh, a show to show off his wear. So, um, we, uh, agreed to do that. So it was kind of like a big thing like you'd see in New York City, but all of China was looking at Uhhuh <affirmative>. Uh, so we got to go down the runway with the, the most beautiful ladies in China at that time. Nice. So <laugh> got some good pictures of that I can show you. Yeah, Speaker 0 00:15:59 I'll love to Speaker 2 00:15:59 See those. In fact, I got a whole album my wife put together for me on the China trip. But, uh, lots of, uh, you know, going down that runway and then there was, I mean, so many cameras and pictures and stuff like that. After that we'd go somewhere and taxi cab driver say, you're, you're uh, you were on that TV program, you're famous, you Speaker 0 00:16:20 Know, oh, they recognized you guys. So Speaker 2 00:16:22 That was kind of cool. But just traveling around is the, with the American team really something. Speaker 0 00:16:28 So you, there was a time before you turned your passion for table tennis into a career. Oh, by opening up your store, you were in other industries before the oil industry and, and other things. Yeah. And at what point did you realize, or did you decide, okay, ping pong table tennis table sports or, or my passion, I want to go, I want to double down on this and open up the world's first table tennis store. Speaker 2 00:16:55 Even in high school I was selling butterfly equipment, rubbers and blades and stuff like that. So I always liked to sell. I was always kind of doing business deals, selling lightning bugs and <laugh>, uh, did, did a lot of things, did got in involved with Amway, but Speaker 0 00:17:13 It was a good markup on lightning bugs Speaker 2 00:17:15 I hear. Yeah, it was pretty good back then. Uh, I had the whole neighborhood collecting 'em for me so I could sell 'em to a company that won 'em for uh, a research, you know. But I got kitted a lot cuz I'd like to, to sell and take care of customers and everything and did everything from grass cut and, uh, you name it. But I sell equipment and I'd go to tournaments and sell blades and rubber and balls and things like that. So I'm still known as Butterfly's, longest running Butterfly dealer, the largest manufacturer of, of that equipment since 1965 in North America. So I'm kind of proud of that. So, um, I thought, who else should really open up America's first table tennis store? Somebody believes in the sport and that, uh, it's been good to me and I wanted to share it with other people. So it would be a central place that people could come and play, whether they come out as on a date or dad brings his son or daughter to play or come in as a family. Speaker 0 00:18:19 So Bumper Nets is the name of the store and it's in the river. Chase Galleria here in Hoover, Alabama. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So tell us a little bit about, about Bumper nets, what you guys are doing now. Speaker 2 00:18:27 Well, um, the way I got the name Bumper Nets, I, when I was traveling around in the oil industry, kept thinking one day I'm gonna not have to travel as much. I'm gonna wanna go to a mall where I don't have to worry about cold weather and I could just promote table tennis lessons and rackets and cell equipment and everything and get people hooked on table sports. And I said, I gotta come up with the name. So bumper came into effect with pool, bumper pool and nets for table tennis net. So I thought that's, that's a cool name. So I called it bumper nets and uhs catchy. I said, uh, that's a catchy name. So, uh, I can hear a kid now saying, uh, dad, let's go to bumper nets. Let's have some fun and play some table tennis. So, uh, I held onto that name for a long time until I finally had a chance to, uh, do it. Speaker 2 00:19:30 And uh, the reason I got to Birmingham is I'd been in the oil industry with Gulf Oil BP and moved like 10 times in uh, 24 years. And finally, um, I left BP and then, and then I had an opportunity to uh, uh, run an oil company, which I'd always wanted to do as coo and they were looking for a COO to turn the company around to uh, come to Birmingham to uh, take over the company. So it was a three year contract. And uh, after uh, I finished that contract, I decided to, uh, and see what, uh, a store might look at, look like. So I did an exhibition booth in the Brookwood Village Mall and uh, Speaker 0 00:20:18 R i Speaker 2 00:20:18 P Yeah, yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. And uh, and uh, the Galleria had heard that we were looking to maybe expand or do something. So we got into conversation to look at that and uh, they worked it out where we, we were able to start out, um, in a little spot in the food court. And that was March of 2001. And I was nervous, you talk about nervous cuz the gallery was full of people and people coming and going and we were gonna be put right in the food court and I could see that, you know, the signage bumper nets right there would be great, Speaker 0 00:20:57 Great visibility. Speaker 2 00:20:58 And the leasing person, assistant manager says, yeah, this would be a good place to start you and you can have your, call it a pro shop and we'll move you into a little bit bigger store after six months, which we did the six months in the bottom of the food court and moved upstairs next to the cookie store. Speaker 0 00:21:16 Oh yeah, Speaker 2 00:21:18 We are there six months. And they said, we're saving a store for you down on the other end by Sears and, uh, we're gonna start you out there. And uh, so we moved down there that after six more months in that store and we had a little bit of everything, a couple pinballs, we had two pool tables, two air hockeys. We were into all the different table sports a little bit. One arcade ping pong that time we had one ping pong table and one ping pong table and a robot out in front of the store. So we, we made it work and uh, the mall realized that we'd outgrown it after about five years. And then they asked us to, uh, take over the large NASCAR store that, uh, couldn't survive and it had its own outside entrance. And they said, we think you can take that and make that work, have more room for accessories and have more room for people to play, uh, all the different sports. So that's when we move to a bigger store. And Speaker 0 00:22:23 So you don't just sell the equipment there, people can come in and play? Speaker 2 00:22:26 Yep. They can actually come in and rent a table by time. Uh, and we do do a Friday night ping pong tournament every Friday night. Uh, six to six 30 is free practice, six 30 to eight we run a tournament. Speaker 0 00:22:39 Do you have to sign up or can you just come? Speaker 2 00:22:41 You can, you can call in sign up. Um, we can only handle about 16 people on a Friday night, so we kind of max out on that usually. But they, we, we offer that to our customers. And you Speaker 0 00:22:54 Have a league? Speaker 2 00:22:54 We have leagues and uh, also we offer lessons. Uh, I've got a head coach who's a national coach and I'm also a national coach myself. Uh, my head coach Keith Evans, is uh, been a na Jamaican national champion and he also took Texas Westland to, uh, number one in the United States, uh, as a school, small school over all colleges universities. He did that for about 10 years in a row. I was able to pick him up as our national coach about three years ago. Speaker 0 00:23:26 Right Now you were telling me that you're preparing to make another appearance in the US Open. Right? Speaker 2 00:23:33 Actually, uh, I didn't make the US open, uh, uh, opportunity this past December because of the weather and everything. So my, my record got stopped at 52. Speaker 0 00:23:44 But you made it, you just couldn't go. Speaker 2 00:23:46 I couldn't go. Speaker 0 00:23:47 Yeah. They would've loved to have you. Speaker 2 00:23:48 Yeah, they were, everybody was wondering where I was. Yeah, they were kind of concerned. Uh, but uh, anyhow, 52 in a row's pretty good. I felt so, but uh, I'm looking to, uh, I qualified for the, uh, 75 and over singles per, uh, the Olympics. Uh, so that division would be the division I would play in this summer. So I'm looking to try to go and win that, uh, singles event. Speaker 0 00:24:20 So you're gonna be on the low end of that 75 8 range? Yep. Speaker 2 00:24:23 Kinda like when I just turned 50 cuz that was the, the lowest end in the National Senior Olympics. So if I can make that, I'd like to, uh, win that. So I gotta kind of get with and start practicing instead of doing so much, uh, retail Olympics. Speaker 0 00:24:39 Well, uh, you know, I mentioned to you my wife, she thinks she can take you. Hmm. She thinks she can. She, I think the word she says, she said I can smoke Homer Oh. On the ping pong table. So, we'll Speaker 2 00:24:50 This might be a good time to try me. Speaker 0 00:24:52 I don't <laugh> I don't know if she's played since uh, beer pong in college Uhhuh, but she has, you know, a lot of confidence. So Uhhuh we'll come over and see what she can do. Yeah, Speaker 2 00:25:01 We gotta try Speaker 0 00:25:01 That. Yeah, I might put some money on that one. Speaker 2 00:25:03 Yeah. <laugh>, we need a, a new woman champion in LA, Alabama, so we gotta get her, uh, her Speaker 0 00:25:11 Into it. Why not Katie? Speaker 2 00:25:12 I think she's a she likes to play tennis too, doesn't she? Speaker 0 00:25:15 She likes to play a little tennis. Yeah, she's, she's an athlete. She played basketball in high school, so she is athletic. I don't know how she is with a paddle, but we'll see. Yeah, Speaker 2 00:25:24 That reminds me, I, when I was in college, uh, I was always, always trying to promote table tennis. You know, we'd, uh, do anything I could do to promote it, but I saw it off my wood tennis racket. Did a play in the, uh, the tournament for, uh, our pe in small colleges and, uh, I'd played table tennis on the tennis card. I had it sawed off tennis Speaker 0 00:25:48 Racks. So you saw it off the handle so it felt more like Speaker 2 00:25:50 A paddle? Yes, I just barely put the ball and play and then run to the baseline. Just keep bringing things back. Speaker 0 00:25:55 I think that's called pickleball now. Speaker 2 00:25:57 Yeah, it's kind of like Speaker 0 00:25:58 It. Yeah. Yeah. I got my paddles from, from bu Burnetts. Speaker 2 00:26:01 Oh yeah. Yeah. We, we saw a lot of pickle balls on Amazon and through our store. Speaker 0 00:26:05 So you were talking about when you moved to Birmingham was for to, was to be the COO of Vulcan Oil. Yes sir. So, you know, this podcast is about Birmingham, it's called Discover Birmingham. So what, uh, what were your thoughts on Birmingham before you actually moved here? You know, you had you visited before? Speaker 2 00:26:23 Yes, I'd been, you know, driven through. And Speaker 0 00:26:25 So what were you and Judy thinking? Were you kind of a little, a little hesitant or skeptical about, you know, you might have heard some things about Birmingham? Like what, what were you thinking versus how did you actually feel about it once you moved here? Speaker 2 00:26:38 Well I, I thought that uh, Birmingham could be a good town to move to cuz I, I heard a lot of good things about 'em pretty town. I, uh, told my wife that uh, I was tired of the cold weather and mo and moving so many times cuz when you move 10 times in 24 years, that's a lot. And I thought I'd really want to control my life a little bit and go back to the south where it's warm. Cause I don't like cold weather. So I said, let's give this a try, you know, I like Birmingham and it's, it was a pretty town. And Speaker 0 00:27:10 And you've been here for how long now? Speaker 2 00:27:12 Since, uh, August of 96. So I've been here a long time. So Speaker 0 00:27:17 I've been saving this hard-hitting question for, uh, you know, before. So the people could get to know you first and, uh, kind of form an opinion before they find out this important piece of information. Alabama or Auburn? Speaker 2 00:27:34 Well, uh, you know, it's, it's an interesting question because my daughter went to Alabama and my son went to Auburn and they, they both liked their universities. They had big Alabama and Auburn fans. And so that, that's a tough question, but I will say this, that we sell all the, both of the products mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but, uh, I do a lot of things for Alabama. We take care of their, uh, table sports and, uh, work closely with their, uh, teams over there and, uh, done some things with their Alabama football team with hand eye and we've got them playing in the past and Speaker 0 00:28:14 That's a very diplomatic answer. Yeah. But you know, when you're here, you got, you gotta pick one. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:28:20 <laugh>. So yeah, Alabama's definitely, uh, been my team and we've enjoyed working with him. And, uh, in fact, Nick Saban's son and loves pinball and he comes into bumper nets to play. And, uh, Nate Oz, uh, has been to bumper nets and, uh, we've worked with him and, uh, we're so excited about what he's done with the, uh, basketball team. Speaker 0 00:28:42 Do you guys have any, uh, go-to restaurants to eat at, in or in the Hoover area? Speaker 2 00:28:47 Well, yes. Uh, I like to go to O Sushi in Hoover, real good sushi and, uh, got a great staff there and good owners. They do a good job there. Speaker 0 00:28:59 I've heard good things about it. I haven't tried that yet. I've, I like, uh, as far as sushi goes, my favorite in town I think is Jenk. Yes. In Homewood. Really good. Yeah. But I haven't tried O Sushi Speaker 2 00:29:09 Yet. Yeah, I like Jenai. That's good. It's a little bit further away and everything, which is tough. But, uh, the, uh, owner are good friends of mine, uh, got no sushi and uh, it's close. And, uh, Speaker 0 00:29:24 Do they take Moxie? Speaker 2 00:29:26 No, Speaker 0 00:29:27 There there is a mox there is a sushi restaurant on Moxie though, I think. I can't remember who it is. Speaker 2 00:29:32 Well, well they actually, they did take Moxie. Uh, there's a, I was the only one they were taking Moxie from. Speaker 0 00:29:38 A lot of people do ask, you know, do you take Moxie? Yes. But some people just have not heard of it. I think it's such that's how you and I met really is through Moxies. Yes. And how would you describe it? It's, I would say it's kind of like a network of business owners who agree to, to kind of trade with each other. Yes. And they use, you see, you get in the network, you can, you use Moxie points or Moxie dollars to kind of trade back and forth. So for instance, you came to see me as a chiropractor mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And you paid with Moxie. Speaker 2 00:30:07 Yes. Speaker 0 00:30:08 So that doesn't mean that I can only trade back to you. It means that I can go trade with a dentist or I can go trade at Soho Social, you know, I can come, um, Speaker 2 00:30:16 Come to bumper Nets and Speaker 0 00:30:18 Actually I can go to bumper Speaker 2 00:30:18 Nets, play games, or rent a ping pong table Speaker 0 00:30:21 Or Yeah. Like I bought pickleball mm-hmm. <affirmative> paddles from you with Moxie dollars. So I think Moxie is such a cool idea. I just don't think that enough people know about it yet. How would, how would you describe Speaker 2 00:30:31 It? Yeah, I think you described it pretty good. Moxie is a, a good program. They've got a good leader. Nathan and his wife, uh, have done a lot with that, uh, business here locally. And, uh, it's kind of a special group because you've got, say, over 300 businesses that, uh, can promote and help each other. Speaker 0 00:30:53 All right. I'm just gonna take a quick time out from this episode to remind you all that. This is our first episode and we are trying to build this podcast. So please hit that subscribe button and also hit that little bell shaped button right next to it so that you'll get a notification every time we launch a new episode, which we plan on doing weekly. And after you've subscribed, what would it hurt to share this episode with a friend? Thanks again for tuning in to the Discover Birmingham podcast. Now back to the episode. So we both live in, in the River Chase neighborhood, so there are a few good options around the area. Do you guys ever eat at Dale's? Speaker 2 00:31:41 Yes, I have eaten there. Yes. Speaker 0 00:31:42 That's, that's our go-to when we'll always get it to go. Um, Dale's is really good southern cooking. Yeah. And when you, we probably get it maybe once a month, so not that frequently, but in spite of that, whenever we call the guy Dave that works to the front mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yes. He knows our voice. He, he's so good. He's so personable guy. He he knows you. Yeah. And, uh, whenever you go and he greets you, he's a, he's a good, uh, I guess he's the manager, but he's, he's really good at it and they have good food. So Dale's his favorite. Another one, uh, Trey Luna. You've been to Trey Luna? Speaker 2 00:32:18 I've been there, yes. I'm, I'm looking forward to giving it a try. Yeah, that's one of my favorite things to do is eat. Speaker 0 00:32:24 So are you, um, as far as eating, are you more of a sweet or a savory type person? Speaker 2 00:32:30 Savory, I like the, you like savories appetizers and I like about everything really. Uh, but, uh, sushi's probably one of my favorite. Speaker 0 00:32:39 It's a go-to Speaker 2 00:32:40 Gross. A good steak tooth's. Good. Always good. Oh Speaker 0 00:32:42 Yeah. Oh yeah. I would, you know, I have more of a sweet tooth, I would say. I have a whole mouth of sweet teeth. So, you know, you're working in the Galleria and whenever you walk in, what do you smell? Cindy's the whole, the whole Galleria smells like Cindy's cinnamon rolls and that, that's a weakness of mine. Uh, in fact, I think I've told you before that, uh, Katie, my wife, so she and I both worked at the same kiosk in the Galleria before we ever knew each other. And we worked there at the same time. It was called the Buckle booth. Oh, wow. We were selling belt buckles in the gallery when I was probably 20, so she would've been maybe 18 or 17, and only one person worked at a time. So we never worked with each other, but we worked there at the same time. Speaker 0 00:33:29 So we, we could have met, you know, what, 15, 20 years before we did, but we, we just didn't. Wow. Instead we met at a, uh, our friend Lindsay Nodo put on this, uh, charity dating auction for I think it was the Leukemia Foundation a few years ago. And, uh, she recruited me and, uh, maybe four or five other guys, and then there were five girls as well. So she recruited all of us to, to be in it, to be auctioned off with a dating package. So you might you get a date with us or date with me and maybe go to a Baron's game or something like that. And it was just to raise money, so it was an auction. So you're standing on stage as a single on stage, and there's a whole crowd of people at Cahaba Brewery bidding on this date with you. So, um, I know it was brutal <laugh>. It's, it's, uh, it, it would've been, you know, my worst nightmare. But I was like, all right, I'll do it. Some of my buddies were doing it, so, so I was in it and then Katie was another one of the singles in it, so she went first. And, um, I'll never let it live. I'll never let her live it down because she ended up going for 500 bucks. Speaker 2 00:34:48 Wow. Speaker 0 00:34:49 And I ended up going for a thousand. Oh my. So I reminder of that frequently. Wow. But I met, but that's how we met. I met her there and um, and I said, I get, you know, I got to go on a date with you and many more. I didn't even have to pay for it Speaker 2 00:35:02 <laugh>, Speaker 0 00:35:03 Just so Yeah. It could have been at the vocal booth in the Galleria. Speaker 2 00:35:08 Well, I think it's a good, uh, program. I'm surprised we don't have more of those, uh, kind of, uh, dating things to raise Char for charities. Yeah, no, that's a great idea. Speaker 0 00:35:18 It's a good idea. It's a fun, fun idea. Speaker 2 00:35:19 Put my son in that program. Yeah. Need to find him a good woman. Speaker 0 00:35:23 Is that right? Yeah. Speaker 2 00:35:24 He's probably one of the most sing uh, eligible singles in town. Speaker 0 00:35:27 Is that right? Yeah. And how, how old is he? Speaker 2 00:35:29 Uh, he's 42 and he's been our national champion for table tennis, was our state champion many times. But he was the youngest ever to win the, the 10 and under championship at eight. Speaker 0 00:35:38 So you got him started early. He kinda like a, like a Tiger Woods dynamic, Speaker 2 00:35:44 Actually got him started at 14 months and three years old. Uh, he was balling the ball on a, on a pallet wood pallet. And at five years old, uh, well actually I told him if he kept the ball in play, vo wise, 400, uh, 500 times in a row, if he could do that, he could play in his first tournament. And he did that at four years old. So he actually played in his real first tournament in Nashville, Tennessee at four. Speaker 0 00:36:10 How are the ladies not, not attacking this guy? Speaker 2 00:36:13 Well, you know, he's a busy guy. He's in, he goes from one office to another. He kind of supervises bumper nets. Uh, so he's in and does, uh, takes care of our eBay business and Amazon business and uh, Speaker 0 00:36:26 Maybe he could try his luck in China. Speaker 2 00:36:29 <laugh>. Yeah, there's a lot of ladies that like ping pong over there, that's for sure. Speaker 0 00:36:35 Sure. I'm sure. And sushi. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:36:36 Yeah. Speaker 0 00:36:36 No, I'm sorry, that's Japan. <laugh>. Yeah, Speaker 2 00:36:38 Japan. Yeah. Yeah. I get those Speaker 0 00:36:39 Mixed up. Just kidding guys. Do y'all play against each other much now? Speaker 2 00:36:44 Occasionally we'll Speaker 0 00:36:44 Play in, um, balls to the wall, fight to the death match. Who would come out on top? Speaker 2 00:36:51 Uh, I'd give him a good run, but, uh, he's got very good serves, probably unknown, serves that you don't even know what's on the ball, uh, that he's developed. Uh, that with some of the rubbers that you can put on your blade, as we call it custom blade, um, you can put some really good spin and, uh, it's hard to return. So I could miss several serves before I can even get into a volley against him. That's how strong he is. And of course he's with a loop you can get about 10,000 RPMs with a good Speaker 0 00:37:26 Rubber. No kidding. Yeah. I think I read on Wikipedia that you invented a serve, right? What the, the Homer Brown Knee special? Yeah. Speaker 2 00:37:35 I don't have a lot of unique serves, but that's, that's one I'm kind of known for. Is the Homer Brownie special, Speaker 0 00:37:41 Did you teach that one to your son or did you save that one for Speaker 2 00:37:43 You? Uh, I saved it for myself. Speaker 0 00:37:46 You gotta keep that in your pocket. Speaker 2 00:37:47 I think it'd be embarrassed if he did it. It'd Speaker 0 00:37:49 Be, do you think there will come a point where you decide to step away from the store or you think that'll be something you always, you always go into? Speaker 2 00:37:56 Well, it's, that's a good question. You know, my wife would love to see me retire. Uh, but, uh, I think, uh, maybe semi retiring, you know, you cut the hours from 75 80 a week to 35 or 40 might be more, uh, realistic. Um, so I can maybe do some traveling and enjoy life a little bit more. Sales tax, CPA work, insurance leases. I think that somewhat scares Adam all the way a little bit from, uh, taking over the company and running it. Uh, I can respect that, but Speaker 0 00:38:31 Sure. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:38:33 Uh, when you're going seven days a week and don't stop, it's, uh, it's a Speaker 0 00:38:38 Challenge because you never get into something to do the paperwork. That was a contributing factor to me. Shifting gears with, with my career, kind of pulling out of chiropractic and wanting to go into a different field. Um, I dunno if I mentioned, I'm, I've been taking a real estate course. No. Did I tell you about that? No, no. Great. I, you know, I did it because I have so much more free time now than I ever have. Yeah. Yeah. Actually I got on it through Moxie. Speaker 2 00:39:03 Okay. Speaker 0 00:39:03 A couple nights a week, a real estate course. And I've always been really interested in real estate and it's something I always thought I might want to do, but I was, you know, I'm looking at the markets and like now would be the worst time to get started with that. But I was like, I'll go ahead and just take the course, maybe get my license. So now that I'm learning all that material, it's got me really excited about it. So I think I'm gonna put a lot of time into that so people can find you on. Uh, so you have a, uh, a Bumper net's Facebook page with a pretty big following. What is, what's that page? Speaker 2 00:39:31 Yeah, that's bumper Net's, Facebook seven. Uh, and we can easily be found, we've got a little over 28,000 followers, uh, of bumper nets. Um, so it's a good, uh, social media since Sears had pulled out of the mall. Uh, we're actually called the Bumper Nets wing because we have three stores. We have our main store in Arcade where you can rent a pool table, ping pong table, play any kind of old or new arcade. But then also we have a bumper Nets for Kids Arcade, which everybody goes in there cuz we've got basketball, ski ball, Mario Cart. And then we got the bumper Nets arcade too, which has got the latest, uh, shooting games, driving games, tournament, air hockey, pinball of chorus, driving games. And what's unique about our business is that we take quarters or dollar bills that way, you know, what you spend, it's not a lot, a lot like some arcades whereby you have to buy a player's card, spend money for that, and then you don't really know what you're spending. So for the same arcade game that we have where you pay a dollar, you might be paying a dollar 80, uh, on your player's card. You just don't realize you're spending Speaker 0 00:40:43 It so you get more bang for your buck. Speaker 2 00:40:44 Yeah. The customers love to use quarters or dollar bills and that way Speaker 0 00:40:49 It's got a nostalgic Speaker 2 00:40:50 Yeah. They get a roll of quarters, it's just like the old times and put it in that pinball machine and we got the old pinball machines and they got the latest and as you mentioned, you can play it or buy it at bumper nets, whether you want it used or new and, and get any kinda accessor you want for your table sport of that you love. Speaker 0 00:41:10 And what are your hours? Speaker 2 00:41:12 Well, right now, Monday through Thursday we're 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM and then we're open to eight on Friday and Saturday nights Sunday, 11:00 AM to six. So you can get in early where it's quiet with your family and play some games early Sunday morning if you like. Speaker 0 00:41:29 Excellent. Well, Homer, uh, thanks again for doing this. I appreciate Speaker 2 00:41:32 You, you coming on. And is there anything else you want to add? Well, you know, we do have our own website. It's bumper nets.com and it does show lots of pinballs that are for sale or all the cues or rackets or rubber you might need for your paddle or whatever information you need to find out about our birthday parties. We do socials, we do team building as I mentioned. We'd give lessons. And then you also have billiards. Wait, is billiards the same thing as pools? Yeah, basically the same. To keep it simple, but, uh, we have the Brunswick brand, we're the Brunswick dealer for Alabama. We're the Stern dealer for the Stern pinball and, and Alabama. So we have a lot of the major brands that, uh, we sell lots of darts, uh, dart darts and accessories and dart boards. Probably one of the larger venues, uh, for darts in the country. And, uh, as far as Q sticks, you can spend $15 to, you know, $3,000 on a Q stick and, uh, we're there to help the customers. Uh, we enjoyed doing that, our staff. Excellent. Well, um, good talk and uh, it's been great. Yeah. Excellent. We'll have to do it again soon. Absolutely. I'm with you. Speaker 3 00:43:01 I can't let cry.

Other Episodes