Pat Coppock (left) and her daughter, owner Sheri Dadian, have been running Diamond Billiards since 2018. Dadian, wife of founder Dan Dadian, said she is grateful for all the long patrons for creating so many memories at the pool hall over the years. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
A Fresno entertainment and nightlife staple is shutting its doors after decades in business.
Diamond Billiards at 6460 N. Blackstone Ave. near Sierra Avenue has closed down permanently.
Owner Sheri Dadian announced on Oct. 30 that the bar would be closing for good the next day. Then came a half-priced sale for everything in the pool hall — from pool tables to restaurant appliances to pictures and signs adorning the walls.
Dadian said that the business is closing since the landlord is terminating the lease for non payment of rent during the months it was forced to shut down because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said that she expected more leniency from the property owners after being in business there for so many years and always paying her rent on time. Dadian told them that she would not have an income to pay rent if the state is forcing them to shut down.
Once the state re-opened on June 15 of this year, Dadian started paying rent again.
She paid for half the month of June and full rent for July, August, September and October, and then she was notified she was being kicked out of the space.
“Now we’re out,” Dadian said. “They want to sue me for $160,000 dollars in back rent. If the property owner needs the money, go to the state, go to the government and get it, I don’t have it. I’ve always paid my rent. How am I going to pay back $160,000. I’m pretty sure they’re going to sue me for that.”
Dadian said she received a 30-day notice on Oct. 15 that they’d have to be out by Nov. 15.
During the pandemic, Dadian said she paid $20,000 for electrical wiring in the ceiling, new LED ceiling lights, flood lights, paint jobs and a new floor out of their own pocket. She said the property owners said it was her responsibility to repair the air conditioning even though the unit is on top of the roof.
Diamond Billiards did receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan, but because it was shut down and there were no employees, that money had to be paid back with a $200 interest charge.
“Now I’m out of business, my business is out of business, and I am unemployed,” Dadian said.
Fitting for the holiday, Dadian said she decided to close on Oct. 31 for a “scary Halloween.”
There were seven employees before the start of the pandemic, but none of them returned for work when Diamond Billiards opened back up.
News of the liquidation sale is mostly being spread through word of mouth because the closing was so sudden.
Dadian understands as a business owner what property owners and landlords are going through, but they need to accommodate more for trusted tenants, she thinks.
“If you have a good paying tenant, keep them,” Dadian said. “As a business owner, and I’ve been a landlord too, if you got somebody that pays rent, and improves the facility, keep them.”
Diamond Billiards was first opened by Dan Dadian, Sheri’s late husband, in the 1970s near Shields and Chestnut avenues. They bought another pool hall on Ashlan Avenue near Highway 99 in 1993, one in Hanford and one in Reno.
The Blackstone Avenue location opened in 2004.
When Dan was opening up his early businesses, pool halls had a reputation of being smoke-filled rooms with drab décor and unsavory characters.
Dan wanted to make sure his pool halls provided a comfortable and appealing environment where the game could be seen as a casual form of entertainment.
In 2008, Dan got sick. He told Shari that she could choose what pool hall location to keep open and run. She chose the Blackstone location. Dadian said it was a great business and always performed well.
Dan passed away in 2012.
She said that besides losing her business, a great environment in Fresno will be lost. Dadian mentioned her regular customers, all the first dates and memories created at the pool hall, and the pool tournaments that brought world class players together under one roof.
“Everybody that we had here was like family,” Dadian said. “When Covid hit, you couldn’t get together and hug. When the state said we could open at 100%, I hugged every single person that came through the door. I think that’s what I will miss from my customers. We care about these people. We love these people.”