Bay City co. builds pool tables fit for The King

BAY CITY, Mich. –

Elvis may have left the building long ago, but a Bay City company plans to put him back in rec rooms across the country.

Game-table maker Shelti Inc. is producing a line of Elvis-themed pool tables with the blessing of Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc.

The tables feature wrap-around graphics of The King performing in his “White Jumpsuit” Las Vegas show days. The images also show casinos and the Las Vegas welcome sign.

The unusual new product has led to a few Elvis quips around the office, according to Annette Jeske, customer service representative for Shelti. Such as whether or not to use the company intercom to announce “Elvis has left the building” – a catch phrase once used at the end of Elvis concerts – every time a table ships, she said.

Jeske said Shelti plans to make 500 of the limited-edition tables under contract with Lordsvale Sales USA, a New Jersey company.

Lordsvale President Freddy Bailey said his company chose Shelti to make the tables because of the company’s reputation for quality. Bailey said he remembers Shelti when it operated as the former Valley Recreation Products in Bay City.

“For me, it was a natural thing to come to Bay City, a city that has been associated with the coin-operated pool industry since the creation of the American coin-operated pool table in the mid-1950s,” Bailey said in an e-mail.

Shelti was founded in 2001 at the same site in Bay City after the closure of Valley Recreation.

About two dozen Elvis tables have rolled off the production line at Shelti since late November, and the remainder likely will be finished in 2009, Jeske said. The tables are for home use and don’t require coins to operate.

Each table features burgundy felt on the playing surface and anchors a larger Elvis pool-table package. The set includes a Tiffany style lamp with Elvis images and his name in large letters, an Elvis pool cue rack with cues and a serial number with name plate for the purchaser.

The package will retail for $5,995, and Shelti is offering a discount to local buyers this month, Jeske said.

Jeske said Shelti has made pool tables featuring sports team logos in the past, but the Elvis model is the first time it has made a table based on a person.

Elvis himself was a pool player, and his Graceland mansion features a billiards room that still contains his personal table. Now, Shelti hopes others will want to rack ‘em up with The King.

“We know there’s a niche for it, because Elvis is the No. 1 money making dead person,” she said. “His audience is age 8 to 80.”

Elvis died in 1977 at the age of 42. His estate earned $52 million in the past year, tops among dead celebrities, according to Forbes.com.

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