A snooker cue maker who sold cues to Ronnie O’Sullivan has revealed the devastating effect of Covid-19 on his business.
Somkiat Kulawattanaporn – nicknamed O’Min – is one of the most well-known suppliers in Asia and counts top players Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White among those who have ordered his handmade cues from his workshop Minburi, Thailand.
A photo of The Rocket visiting his shop even takes pride of place on a wall of photographs including Thailand’s princess Sirindhorn and local snooker pro James Wattana.
Snooker pros and amateurs from across Asia would place orders for handmade equipment from the renowned workshop that had been creating signature cues for more than three decades.
However, Somkiat said clients have dried up since the start of the pandemic early last year. Revenue is down to just a fraction of what it was and he had ‘close to no’ orders from abroad for cues.
He said: ‘My business was making cues and the clients came from other countries to order and buy the products. They normally made orders then travelled to Thailand when the cues were finished.
‘I met these types of clients all year round but now, I rarely see them due to the economic problems. In early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic broke out and there was no revenue from international tourism, no orders from foreigners.
Somkiat added that he received almost no international requests and was left to survive on an income that is less than 20 per cent of what it was the year before the pandemic.
He said: ‘It’s because snooker clubs have been closed and the players have nowhere to play, so we couldn’t sell many cues.’
However, the prestigious snooker cue maker hopes that ‘people will come back to snooker as they did before the pandemic.’
He said: ‘Snooker is not a sport that requires you to play outside and suffer the heat. It’s an indoor sport. If anyone wants a cue or orders it as a gift, please contact us at O’Min Cues.’