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By BRAD CROWE – Herald Staff
Exciting changes are underway at GC Pawn and Billiards in Leakesville, where new owners T.J. Dueitt
and Jenah Holland are working to create new ways to entertain guests of all ages in a family-friendly environment.
After learning the business was at risk of having its doors closed for good due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dueitt and Holland decided to take on the new business venture with a few fresh ideas in mind to bring new life into the building.
A large part of the couple’s vision is to maximize their use of space, with plans to relocate the pawn business to a different building in order to add more pool tables, more seating and a game room for younger guests. Parents of eight, Dueitt and Holland know all too well how important it is to provide clean fun for local youth.
“Leakesville has had several game rooms over the years, and we always had game rooms available when we were growing up,” Dueitt said. “We have eight kids — seven who are still at home — and kids really just need something to do.”
The game room will feature PlayStation consoles with a variety of single-player and multiplayer video games. There will also be designated areas in the room for other activities such as darts, ping pong and an additional pool table for youth or beginners who might feel uncomfortable playing in the main hall with more experienced players.
Twelve more pool tables will be added in the back of the building to accommodate larger crowds during weekly tournaments. Youth tournaments are held each Thursday, followed by tournaments for adults on Friday and Saturday. Each is formatted in a way that offers all participants a fair shot to win prizes, regardless of skill level, creating a less intimidating environment for novice-level players.
“Anybody can win, and just about every week it’s been someone on two or three handicap level who has won.” Dueitt said.
As for those with little or no experience who would simply like to learn how to play, Dueitt and Holland encourage them to stop by and give it a shot. Many are surprised to find out how quickly they can learn, as well as how much fun can be had in the process.
“It’s something you have to want to do, and you have to put in the effort, of course,” Dueitt explained, “but I know a guy who has been playing here for about a year and a half who can beat me now, and I’ve been shooting pool since I was 7 or 8 years old.”
No timetable has been set for the completion of the new projects that are underway, but Dueitt and Holland remain hard at work, eager to share a new experience with the community that they believe will be well worth the wait.
“It’s all a work in progress,” Duiett said. “But we’re excited about the plans we have and look forward to seeing it all come to life. We think it’ll be a lot of fun for the whole community.”