Downtown pool hall shutting down permanently

Jim Gottier’s pool hall in the John Marshall building downtown has closed. (BizSense file photo)

Another downtown business has closed for good after a deal that would’ve put it under new ownership got soured by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Greenleaf’s Pool Room at 100 N. Sixth St. on the ground floor of the Hotel John Marshall building has shut down and will not reopen.

Jim Gottier, who opened the pool hall in 2014 with his wife Andrea Ball, said the business has been losing money for three years. That prompted him to consider closing earlier this winter, before an offer came in.

Owner Jim Gottier (BizSense file photo)

“We were going to close (Greenleaf’s) about three months ago, but a customer and friend offered to buy it,” Gottier said.

But before the deal could close last week with the undisclosed buyer, the virus scare took hold.

“The day before they were supposed to sign, the coronavirus hit and that put the kibosh on that. … Since the deal fell through, I couldn’t financially justify it anymore.”

It’s a similar fate as a deal that fell through for nearby restaurant Citizen, prompting it to close permanently this week.

Gottier said some of Greenleaf’s prior financial troubles arose when other entertainment options, such as The Circuit Arcade Bar, Tang & Biscuit and Bingo Beer Co., began to pop up around the city.

But Gottier said he has no ill will towards the competition that arrived and doesn’t blame them.

“Pool, structurally, is a very hard business because you need so much square footage to have these big tables and you can’t charge a lot to play on them, so there’s not much revenue from each table,” he said.

“And there’s the fact that pool in general is dying out in America. I knew that but thought I could make a nice, old-school oasis for it.”

Greenleaf’s pool tables are now for sale for $1,500 apiece. (BizSense file photo)

With business winding down, Greenleaf’s pool tables are now for sale for $1,500 apiece. Gottier said they have 12 of 15 tables remaining, and that the pool hall’s decorations and furniture are also for sale.

“Andrea and I have been very emotionally full to the reactions people have had to Greenleaf’s closing. It’s so great that parts of Greenleaf’s will be scattered around Richmond. The pool hall meant something to people,” he said.

Greenleaf’s closure doesn’t mean an end to Ball and Gottier’s presence downtown. They also own Hotel Greene, a minigolf venue in the same building as Greenleaf’s. Gottier said Hotel Greene is temporarily closed amid the pandemic, but that it’s doing well and will reopen once it’s safe to do so.

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Patti Wright
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Patti Wright

I so admire your creativity and vision…your beautifully renovated spaces have contributed such value to my neighborhood, long before anyone else would commit to it’s revitalization. I wish you well…you will be missed.

Brett Hunnicutt
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Brett Hunnicutt

Thank you for providing this wonderful establishment over the years. It was so well done. Lots of times I would just come for the food and drink, which is probably not something that can be said of most pool halls. I am sorry that things did not work out.