I started Sneaky Pete Mafia on March 4th 2012.
My family and I were homeless and my wife was eight months pregnant with our daughter, Willow. We were trying to move in to a larger place but needed to give a 30 day notice beforehand. We felt we found the perfect place and were moving up in the world. After we finished filling out the paperwork we thought we were all set when we were told that we had to deposit four times the rent before moving in.
I didn’t know anyone that made that kind of money.
We went back with the idea that we could take back our 30 day notice but we were told that they had already rented the place out and we only had 72 hours to vacate or they would press charges. We found what we could afford at the time—a drug-infested hotel—where we remained for many months. This was where Willow was born. Since we needed to pay the rent, I began playing pool for money—not hustling, but straight up playing. At the time I had a nice collection of cues and a good case.
I played in tournaments for any money that I could get and did well for a time. This was great, but the pool ran dry fast and I couldn’t find a game anywhere. Not knowing what to do, I ended up selling everything I had to a dear friend who gave me well above market price for what I had and really helped us out for a bit.
The rent was high. It was $285 a week for one room with a shower, microwave and a sink that was always clogged. Well, as a pool player I was going nuts without my cues and I really hated bar cues. Since I had a FaceBook account, I decided to start trying to help. I created the group with the intent of helping others and trying to spread the word about the sport. I really had no idea how big it was at the time. I had never heard of any of the great players then like I know now.
Time goes on and we had hard times.
We had to sleep in our car which was a Black Ford Focus hatchback that we still have to this day. But we started moving up in the world and the group grew.
Today we not only have a group, but a fan page, website, magazine, blog and an LLC business License and Apparel line on the way with Universe Clothing & Accessories. We hope to offer much more to the industry as we are working so hard to grow.
My point is that Sneaky Pete Mafia started off as an idea.
Then it became a dream.
Now it is a business.
On a personal note, I have never ran a business before in my life. I have always worked for others. I really am doing all of this from scratch and seeing what needs need to be filled in the industry and turn this into an active, successful, functional business.
Yet here we are.
This is why I try and give back.
Photo: John Fischer/Flickr Editor: Dana Gornall