BumperNets is a retail store located in the Riverchase Galleria which bills itself as "America's first table tennis store." The owner is Homer Brown. In addition to table tennis, the store also carries pool tables, air hockey, foosball, similar games, and related supplies. Patrons can also rent tables and receive lessons at the store.
After retiring as Chief Operating Officer of Vulcan Oil in 1998, Homer Brown, who is a National Senior Games gold medalist in table tennis, had the idea for a retail store dedicated to table tennis. He first tested the waters with a booth at the 1998 Home and Garden Show at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. He was encouraged by the show-goers' response and Patricia Frisaro, marketing manager for Brookwood Village, approached him and suggested setting up a kiosk in the mall. Brown did so, which led to the opening of the full BumperNets store there in August 1999.
In March 2001, BumperNets moved to the Galleria, where its first location was a 650-square-foot space in the food court. A kiosk was maintained at Brookwood Village for an unknown amount of time after the move. Just eight months later, the store moved to a somewhat larger location on the second floor. It next relocated to a 2,200-square-foot space on the lower level near Sears, doubling the store's space. After remaining at that location for five years, it moved across the hall in October 2007 to a 6,200-square-foot spot that formerly housed a NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway arcade. In 2009, the store announced it would be leasing a 2,200-square-foot space across the hall from its current location as an expansion.
At one time, Brown was in talks with U.S.A. Table Tennis to possibly house the organization's Hall of Fame in the latest location. He has also looked into franchising BumperNets.
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- "BumperNets expanding to the Galleria." (March 7, 2001). Birmingham Business Journal. Accessed August 24, 2009.
- Norwood, Stacey. (March 26, 2003). "Former Birmingham CEO Trades in Old Life for Tabletop Dream." The Birmingham News.
- Cooper, Lauren B. (October 26, 2007). "Hoover's BumperNets grows again, aims for franchising." Birmingham Business Journal.
- Ellaby, Liz. (November 22, 2007). "Newest BumperNets store may also feature hall of fame." The Birmingham News.
- Cooper, Lauren B. (August 24, 2009). "BumperNets expands in the Galleria." Birmingham Business Journal. Accessed August 24, 2009.