JOOLA was founded by Karl Frey, the former owner of the department store group, Fr. Th. Jooss, located in Landau, Germany. The sports department of Jooss was involved in the production of the first table tennis tables in 1952. By 1954, table tennis production became an independent department within the group. In the 1950’s, it was common to combine the names of companies and cities, which is how the JOOLA brand name came to be – a combination of Jooss and Landau.
After an explosion in popularity, JOOLA re-established itself as an independent company and relocated to Godramstein in 1963. The company experienced exponential growth and quickly reached production capacity in its new location, despite taking over additional buildings. In 1973, JOOLA opened its Siebeldingen campus, which features an 1800 m² production facility, 1200 m² of warehousing space, and 700 m² of office space. The Siebeldingen campus is still being used today as the home of JOOLA’s German office.
In 1979, Michael Bachtler, managing director of JOOLA since 1968, took over the company as CEO. After 50 successful years of overseeing company growth and major milestones such as becoming the official table sponsor for the 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Summer Games, Bachtler announced in 2018, his plans for retirement.
Following Bachtler’s announcement, JOOLA was acquired by North American game room company, Sport Squad, Inc. in 2019, under the leadership of Richard Lee, President of the company. JOOLA and Sport Squad, Inc. have been partners since 2006, when Sport Squad, Inc. became the North American distributor for the JOOLA brand.
Lee has appointed Rade Markovic, a 12-year veteran of JOOLA, and David Loeffler, as co-managing directors alongside Michael Bachtler, who will still assist the next 2-3 years to continue the JOOLA brand into the future.