LACONIA — For the second time in its nearly 20-year history, The Laconia Daily Sun is looking for a new home. The move is spurred by the decision of Mike Baron to sell the building at 1127 Union Avenue, which the newspaper has called home since September, 2011.
Baron, who continues to operate a pool table manufacturing workshop in the building, said he is listing the property as he intends to “move toward retirement,” though he said he plans to continue operating his business, perhaps as a tenant of the building’s eventual new owner.
"We have been happy here on Union Avenue for the past eight years, but now with the pending sale of this building we need to find a new home," said Adam Hirshan, publisher of The Laconia Daily Sun. "We are looking to lease around 3,000 square feet with at least 20 parking spaces."
The Laconia Daily Sun was located at 65 Water Street when it printed its first edition on June 5, 2000. That office space was outgrown 11 years later, and the office moved to the front half of Baron’s building, which had previously been used as a showroom for his retail billiards business.
Baron, an accomplished billiards player, has been in the pool business since 1989, when he and his brother opened a pool hall in Belmont. A couple of years later they moved to a larger spot in downtown Laconia and started selling pool tables as well. Baron eventually sold the pool hall and focused on the retail and service business, growing it to the point where he had several crews working throughout New England.
His busiest year was 2006, when his company sold nearly 200 pool tables. But then the recession hit, and the billiards industry contracted by 71 percent. Baron’s Billiards shrank as well, and Baron repositioned himself as primarily a manufacturer of rustic-styled pool tables for the Olhausen brand.
Baron has kept himself busy in his woodshop, and even developed a couple of tables that Olhausen has offered in its catalogs. His latest is the “Bantam,” about the third of the size of a regular table and with only two pockets, which he has found is great for both veteran players looking for a fast, new way to play, and for young people who are new to the game.
Though he is relieving himself of property maintenance duties, Baron said he plans to continue operating his business for a couple of years at least.
“I can no longer keep up with the demands of the business and the building,” Baron said. “The grandchildren are getting older, life is flying by... It’s time to cash in the chips before the casino closes.”