Made in the South for fun anywhere

Eat. Play. Set.

Chris McKay is carrying on a family tradition. Growing up in New Jersey, he worked after school at his dad’s metal shop. Later, he learned from dad how to build pool and shuffleboard tables. After his father died in 2011, McKay and his family moved the business of making game tables to Peachtree City.

As co-owners of Venture, Chris and his wife, Lizz, wanted to build beautiful wooden game tables that would become family heirlooms. The fun, game-playing couple also saw a practical need for a multifunctional piece that could double as a handsome dining or conference table once playtime was over.

Last April, Venture introduced the hand-crafted Winston pingpong table in maple. The made-to-order table is also now available in walnut. With its clean lines, the designer-style tables range from $3,500 to $4,500 and include four paddles, a retractable net and six pingpong balls.

If pingpong is not your game, what about shuffleboard? The company’s 12-foot Grand Deluxe Sport shuffleboard tables ($2,495) are customer favorites across the country. Easy to install, the company’s shuffleboard tables range from $2,000 to more than $12,000, depending on the length and customization. Check out the full line at And let the games begin.

Crank it up

Music lover and former brass player Ryan Boase isn’t one to blow his own horn. But he should.

Inspired by the quality of the speaker on his high-tech iPhone and the vintage sound of “old school” phonographs, Boase started ReAcoustic in Greenville, S.C.

The company creates hand-crafted speaker docks, using salvaged wood and unplayable instruments. Popular as gifts, the retro-looking, acoustic docks are as functional as they are sculptural.

While one customer requested a dock made from a sousaphone, Boase generally uses old trumpets, trombones and French horns for docks. Antique gramophones and phonographs too. He mounts the instrument parts on a wood base, which features a slot for your iPhone or iPad. An acoustic channel runs from the iPhone’s speaker to the base of the horn to amplify the sound out into your living room or office. No batteries or cords required.

Last month, ReAcoustic launched a line of Bluetooth speakers, making them compatible with other smartphones, tablets and iPods. The acoustic speakers range from $200 to $1,000, but most are about $450 at

For jigsaw junkies

No doubt your children have enjoyed the playful picture books by acclaimed author and illustrator Alex Beard. The animals in his colorful children’s books, such as “Crocodile Tears,” reflect his travels to Africa and his love of the wild.

But in addition to his books and original artwork, the New Orleans-based artist has created clever and challenging puzzles with unique-shaped pieces.

Using his artwork, Beard offers four wooden jigsaw puzzles ($110 each), geared to ages 8 and up. Each puzzle has between 492 and 522 pieces. He also offers a 300-piece cardboard puzzle. The peacock puzzle ($20.99) comes in a decorative tin box.

Find puzzles at or at his studio in the French Quarter, 712 Royal St., in New Orleans.

Best of the South

Do you have favorite finds from around the South that you give as gifts, buy for your home or rave about to friends? If so, please share them with us. Send your suggestions to: Please include your name and contact number. Also find more Southern-made products, featured in the AJC, at Southernfinds on Facebook or on twitter@southernfinds1.