“We just want to make darts better,” said Gary Zies, co-owner of NLO.
Zies started NLO in Yuma three years ago, to strike out on his own as a vending supplier to bring jukeboxes, pool tables, ATMs, video games and of course darts to an underserved area of the Valley.
Part of the contract he worked out with Arachnid, one of the foremost dartboard manufacturers, was that he would wait two years to move into the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
Those two years were up in November, so Zies teamed-up with Tobin Crouch to re-imagine dart leagues for the Central Valley.
Crouch had more than two decades of experience running leagues for Troy Vending, the leading dart league operator in the valley.
Zies and Crouch wanted to pave the way for new players, and eventually bring a masters level game back downtown.
“I’m not trying to put down Troy Vending,” Zies said, “but they weren’t servicing beginners very well, and if you want to play masters level, you have to go to the west valley.”
Zies has his dartboards in three locations downtown so far: The Catalina, at 16th St. and Thomas Road, Daisy Dukes, near 56th St. and McDowell Road, and The Hideaway, at 32nd St. and Thomas Road, his flagship location.
NLO boards sit across from the entrance from Troy Vending boards at the Hideaway.
“Name another vending company that would be willing to go head-to-head in one location with a larger vendor,” Zies said.
Since bringing NLO to the Valley, some have criticized Zies for not being NDA sanctioned, and not being able to service his machines promptly.
“All of that is unfounded,” he said, “we’re working on the NDA sactioning, and the beginning players we’re working with now don’t need sanctioning until September. Also, I’ve got brand new machines, they don’t need service…and if they did, I’d be right out there. Arachnid sent me to school to learn how to build one of these dart boards, I’m on call anytime to come fix them.”
NLO has two leagues for players with a 2.0 rating or lower. They’re on Tuesday and Wednesday at The Hideaway. There is a 4.0-5.0 and under league on Sunday and Monday. All leagues are two man teams, and are short sets—4 games 501, and 4 games Cricket.
“I am out every league night to help beginners with things like strategy and rules. I want new people to enjoy this game. I want to make darts fun again,” Zies said.
“Competition is good for darts in the valley, and I started this because I’m a dart player and I want to make darts better,” he said.
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