Made in Raleigh: Rack ’em

Met Tech Billiards, Downtown Raleighphotograph by Geoff Wood

A stone’s throw from the Greek Revival capitol building in downtown Raleigh stands the oldest maker of pool tables in the state. Met-Tech, founded in 1943, specializes in custom pool tables made from oak, Siberian birch, mahogany, and other fine woods.

“We make pool tables, that’s what we do,” says chief executive officer Mike Mettrey. It isn’t what he started out doing. Mettrrey, 71, was an engineering professor at N.C. State in 1968 when he took over the billiard company his uncle had founded two decades earlier.

“I applied my engineering experience to manufacturing,” Mettrey says. It worked. Today Mettrey sells 700 to 1,000 tables a year to for an average price of $3,000 to as much as $10,000. He’ll make a table in any wood, with any finish, with any color felt, to suit any size and style of room. One recent request for a Williamsburg-style version was built to replicate an actual table built in the 18th Century with turned post legs and crocheted pockets.  Mettrey himself does much of the customizing, which takes place at his Wilmington Street location. He says that by far the most common shade of felt requested is green, despite a rainbow of options.