By Stewart Grant
Canada is a crokinole country, that’s for certain. But Ted Fuller, owner of Crokinole Canada in St. Marys, has stretched his company’s reach all over the world thanks to his expertise with website design and e-commerce. For Fuller, crokinole has become big business.
Recently though, he has made inroads into manufacturing and distributing a tabletop game with significantly greater worldwide recognition: Carrom.
“I discovered carrom one day when doing a Google search on ‘crokinole’,” Fuller said. “Google came back and suggested, ‘people who search for crokinole also search for this game’, so I clicked on the link and started learning about it.”
While the game of Crokinole was founded in Canada (Sebastopol, near Tavistock), Carrom was invented in East India, over 150 years ago. According to the International Carrom Federation, the game is played by millions of people in Asia, particularly in countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. It is also popular in the Middle East and Europe, and is gaining traction in the United States.
Carrom, a game derived from billiards, also has elements of crokinole.
“It’s basically finger pool,” Fuller explained in a broad definition. “Though North Americans also like to play it with cues.”
The object of carrom is to pot all your carrom discs into any of the four corner pockets before your opponent does. This is done by flicking (or shooting) a striker disc towards the other discs. Aside from the two main colours, there is also a valuable red disk known as the queen. Sinking this disc is worth extra points if the player subsequently pots another of their pieces. The game can be played either as a two-person “singles” match or as a four-person “doubles” match.
“As I began to look into the game, I discovered that it was very difficult to find a supply of carrom boards in Canada, and even harder to find good boards.”
Crokinole players are drawn to Fuller’s store due to the high-quality board construction that he requires in his suppliers. With that same commitment to quality, he hopes to make Carrom Canada (www.carrom.ca) the desired destination for customers not just in Canada, but worldwide.
“I’m trying to bring this up to the level that an East Indian would really appreciate and say, ‘this is a good board.’ I’m trying to get the quality way up.”
Fuller offers boards of two sizes. The square-shaped playing surface of the tournament carrom board measures 29 inches across, while the smaller size measures 23 inches across. The tournament boards retail for $350-650 while the regular board sells for $250.
Carrom Canada (www.carrom.ca) and Crokinole Canada (www.crokinole.ca) are located at 5 Industrial Road, St. Marys, and open 9-5 Monday to Friday and by appointment on Saturdays.
By Stewart Grant