by Terry Watson | March 8th, 2012
Shetema McElrath

Shetema McElrath (Photo by Howard Gaither)

She professes her faith in God and acknowledges His presence in her life. While she dreams and aspires to be successful, she also relies on the encouragement of her husband and family. She says that her husband motivates her to accomplish her goals, holding her hand every step of the way. Her kids are her cheerleaders, helping keep her spirit up when things don’t go well. She says they inspire her to go out and work even harder. Shetema McElrath of Greensboro is an inspired, hard-working business woman with a dream that she is fulfilling. She is the proud owner of Competitions Billiards and Bar, a fairly new and thriving business in the Triad.

McElrath is a graduate of James B. Dudley High School. She attended Guilford Technical Community College and worked in the medical industry for more than 14 years with United Health Care and Lab Corporation. Appreciative of her employment opportunities, she never gave up on a vision to start a business that would impact the community in a positive way to bring people together. Her vision became a reality in August of 2011 when she opened the doors of Competitions Billiards and Bar.

When customers enter her facility, she says they can expect a laid back environment that is safe while offering a great opportunity to connect and meet new friends. McElrath’s establishment also allows her customers to enjoy sporting events, pool tournaments and the opportunity to participate in pool leagues. Her business slogan “Where Everyone’s A Champion”, speaks for itself about her customer service and she is truly delivering on that motto.

When asked why she chose to open a pool hall, McElrath says “I have supported many establishments over the past few years and they have been shut down because of various issues. I just wanted to provide my community a place where they could play pool,watch sporting events and have a great time without worrying about anything.” She also thought about her family and friends who love to play pool recreationally and in a league format. “I thought having my own billiards facility would be perfect because it would allow them a nice environment to come and play pool and unwind after a long day,” she says.

However, with success there will always be challenges that business owners will face. McElrath faced challenges at the beginning when it came down to starting the business, experiencing many rejections, and investing money in different areas of the business and not seeing any progress. “I started my business with out any loans. I started out thinking I would need a certain amount to start up when at the end I had used just about my entire savings which became very stressful. I never knew it would be so hard to promote my business and to get people to support my plan,” she states.

Nonetheless through perseverance and faith, she is always overcoming obstacles and continuing to focus on the success of her business. “One of my favorite quotes I tell myself: Reach for your highest goals and only then you can achieve your dreams”, says Shetema McElrath.
McElrath says what she loves most about being a business owner is being her own boss. “Its hard being the boss at times but I feel good about it because I am accomplishing something for myself and for my family as well,” McElrath explains. “Also having that interaction with different people. I love meeting new people. In my industry, sometimes you are a listening ear to patrons. I love the feeling that I can do something meaningful with my life by lifting others.”

McElrath remains focused on bringing more people in from the community. Customers are able to reserve space to host birthday parties and special events. Also, non-profit organizations looking to host events to kick off their fund-raising efforts are always welcomed. In addition to hosting events, she is looking into scheduling upcoming karaoke night, open mic night and poetry night.

McElrath advice to future business owners is to always have a business plan, make sure you have your legal work in order, do your research when it comes to contractors and make sure you have a 5 to 10 year plan that will keep you focus. Another great way to stay focused within your business is to keep positive people around throughout the entire process that can build relationships that will support your business efforts.

In the future, McElrath sees her business still thriving in the Greensboro community and becoming one of the best well known billiards and bars. She also plans to open another billiards by 2017, and continuing her focus of growing and expanding.

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