Family-owned International Billiards marks 80 years in Houston

The shop's mural by Tre Slaughter can be seen from Washington Avenue. (Photos by Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
The shop's mural by Tre Slaughter can be seen from Washington Avenue. (Photos by Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

The shop's mural by Tre Slaughter can be seen from Washington Avenue. (Photos by Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Pictured, from left, are Eliza Cox, Samuel James, Heather Heacock, Grady House, Kim Morrison Murdock and Hudson and Raeleigh—Heather’s children and Kim’s grandchildren—who mark the fifth generation of the International Billiards family.
Image description
Cue sticks in various sets, sizes and styles are available.
Image description
Decor options for “man caves” and other spaces are on hand, as are cue stands, wall racks and other fixtures.
Image description
The shop sells a variety of pool and shuffleboard tables and can coordinate designs to match room decor.
Over 80 years, International Billiards has proven to be resilient.

“We’ve been hit before, so the virus is just another storm we’ll weather through,” owner Kim Morrison Murdock said.

The virus has put a damper on walk-ins, but the store’s crew has adapted to offer sales and service by phone, text and a website chat feature. And with more people stuck at home, Murdock said, pool tables are getting new attention as parents look for ways to bring the family together.

“It keeps the kids in the house and entertained for hours,” she said.

International Billiards was founded in 1940 by Bill Morrison and moved from Houston’s east side to its current location in 1968, a former piano builder’s shop on Washington Avenue.


“We swear it used to be haunted,” Murdock said.

The business has transitioned from vending to importing coin-operated pool tables and amusement machines to manufacturing to the single store, enduring through oil busts, hurricanes and changing customer preferences.

Today, the store sells both American and imported pool tables, shuffleboards, foosball tables, table tennis and accessories, including lighting, cues, cue racks, bar stools and decor.

Local interior designers turn to the store to outfit club rooms and breakrooms for clients, Murdock said, and they have outfitted more than a few “man caves” and family game rooms. The shop also works with multifamily design firms both locally and nationally to equip apartment communities with entertainment amenities.

Professional delivery and installation services are available, which are a must since tables need special calibration to ensure they are perfectly level.

International Billiards can also move, reinstall, recover, and replace rail rubber on customers’ existing tables, which can become family keepsakes.

The store’s history is built on years-deep loyalty, Murdock said.

“Even our customers are multi-generational: As the kids grew up and they get a house, they want a pool table like they grew up with,” Murdock said.

Four generations of the family have worked in the store. Murdock’s father, Al Morrison, retired in 2016 but is still considered the patriarch of the company. Her sons TJ and Ryan have done stints there, and her daughter Heather now helps on the sales floor, with her children—Murdock’s grandchildren—crawling and playing in the showroom occasionally.

“I know we are never going to get rich doing this, but we take care of everybody, and it means a lot to keep the business going,” Murdock said.

International Billiards

2311 Washington Ave., Houston

713-869-3237

www.intlbilliards.com

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sun.
By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


MOST RECENT

Houston ISD
Houston ISD extends deadline for parents to opt out of in-person learning

Parents that do not respond will be automatically counted as an "in-person" choice in order to facilitate planning.

Fewer than 500 COVID-19 patients—478—are currently checked in at Texas Medical Center hospitals. (Community Impact staff)
Texas Medical Center COVID-19 hospitalizations drop 30% in three weeks

Fewer than 500 COVID-19 patients—478—are currently checked in at Texas Medical Center hospitals.

Memorial Elementary
Three Houston ISD schools earn Blue Ribbon honors

Memorial Elementary, the High School for Law and Justice and the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy are all first-time recipients and are among 26 schools nominated in Texas.

The board of directors for METRO has approved the $1.15 billion FY 2020-21 budget. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)
METRO board approves $1.15 billion budget for FY 2020-21 with 23% revenue loss

The approved budget is down nearly 14% overall from last year.

A 112-foot art installation is on display at College Memorial Park Cemetery. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Art installation honors Black soldiers killed after Houston Riot of 1917

The project is part of a grant program to commission public art in each of the city's 11 council districts.

Ballard Designs is opening its first Houston store in 2021. (Courtesy Ballard Designs)
Home interior design retailer Ballard Designs picks River Oaks for Houston expansion

Ballard Designs will open its first Houston location in the River Oaks Shopping Center.

Houston ISD
Houston ISD resumes normal operations Sept. 24

All HISD facilities and offices were closed Sept. 22-23 because of heavy rains throughout the Houston area.

Gov. Greg Abbott on July 27 issued an executive order extending the early voting period for the Nov. 3 election. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Lawsuit takes aim at start date for early voting as some Texas Republicans challenge Gov. Greg Abbott's order

A group of prominent Texas Republicans has embarked on a legal effort to undo the governor's executive order that extended the early voting period for the Nov. 3 election.

(Courtesy The Republic Grille/Liz Grimm Public Relations)
Republic Grille opens in Spring and more Houston-area news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news here.