by Jason Bowman



It started over a decade ago when the “Striking Viking,” Hall of Famer and former magazine cover girl Ewa Laurance, and her husband Mitch, decided to become APA League Operators in South Carolina.  The duo purchased the Coastal Carolina APA and then brought in Ewa’s daughter Nikki (Graham) and son-in-law Toby to help run it.  The family business proved to be a major success, as the group has been recognized as the top APA League Operators of the Year on more than one occasion.

It continued a few years later when the one-and-only “Black Widow” Jeanette Lee transitioned from her role as APA spokeswoman to APA League Operator.  Lee, perhaps the most famous face to ever pick up a cue stick, decided she wanted to start planning for her post-playing career.  So she decided to relocate her family from their home in Indiana to Tampa, Fla., where Lee acquired the Tampa Bay APA from the long-time League Operator who was retiring.

Most recently, internet trick shot sensation, Florian “Venom” Kohler, and with his wife, Iana, have become APA League Operators in Las Vegas, where they’ve been living for the past several years after Florian moved to the United States from France.

So, what’s driving these high profile billiard celebrities to invest their futures with the APA?

That’s simple: Proven Success.

It’s no secret that since its inception more than 40 years ago, the American Poolplayers Association has been the premier amateur pool league across the globe.

And the numbers don’t lie.

Nearly 250,000 amateur poolplayers, ranging from those new to the sport to some of the best amateur players in the country, come together each week to compete in APA Leagues thanks to the patented Equalizer handicap system.  With The Equalizer system, everyone can play, and anyone can truly win.

And win, APA members do!

From trips to Las Vegas, and other destinations like Hawaii, to local cash and prize payouts awarded in their local APA Leagues, to the more than $2 Million dollars up for grabs each year at APA’s international championships – there’s something for everyone in APA and the industry’s most well-known players recognize that.

“I love being able to send my APA members to Vegas to compete in one of the APA championships!  I’ve seen just about every event in the pool industry, and there’s nothing like the tournament experiences APA brings to its members,” said Jeanette Lee.

It’s that formula for success which has led franchising publications such as Entrepreneur magazine and Forbes to consistently name APA as one of the top small business franchise opportunities.  It’s why APA continually ranks as one of the top franchise models by Franchise Business Review based on franchisee satisfaction survey.

For players like Ewa, Jeanette and Florian, all of whom manage their careers and personal brands as businesses, APA’s business model, and success, is simply too hard to ignore.

“I was inspired by many of the League Operators I got to know over the years, they really motivated me, and APA’s many business accolades helped solidify my decision to become a League Operator,” said Florian Kohler.

But, there’s also the satisfaction that comes from bringing something fun and enjoyable to people’s lives for these players, and League Operators in general.

“The more I did shows for APA players, the more I realized how great this organization was. At the end of the day being an APA League Operator is providing fun to your customers, just like I do with the trick shots, so it felt like a natural path to diversify my activities,” added Florian.

Fans of these players need not worry, all have continued to compete on the professional level, and Florian plans to do the same with his amazing trick shots.

“I do not plan on retiring anytime soon from the trick shots. The most exciting part to me is that I can actually keep doing what I am doing with the trick shots. I can promote pool and get new players interested in the game while providing a fun experience. I don’t think it can get much better than that when you love the game like I do,” said Florian.  

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