now?? With Andy Zimmerman out, who filled his shoes??
Company Officers …
Not sure this is current …
Confluence and the WaterMark paddlesports division will continue to operate as
autonomous business units for the remainder of the 2005 selling season. Confluence fully
anticipates that industry veterans Kelley Woolsey, SVP Marketing & Sales, and Bob
McDonough, VP of Research & Development, will continue to lead the Confluence side of
the business, and Brian Fisch, VP of Sales, Ron Barlow, VP of Operations, and Tony Lee,
Director of Research & Development, will continue to lead the WaterMark side
does this mean wilderness systems gone
with the changing of the guard does that mean WS will start to break down. quality control will drop. ??? hope my Tempest doesnt come with holes.
it just means they will sell 514 versions of the pungo!!! L
Yeah i was off by 500… L
Who ever it is …
decided as their first ‘order of the day’ to stick it to all their small dealers and jack up order minimums (to qualify for terms) to the extent that they could no longer sell any Confluence owned boat lines. They are more than obviously trying to cater to the likes of big box stores, at the loss of shops, such as mine, who have sold some of their lines for over 25 years. If I’m wrong , than someone tell me why such a Corporate policy would EVER be instituted. Minimums were raised by 300% in one season, with an insinuation (by someone in their booth at O.R.) that they REALLY wanted to raise those minmums by 600%, and more than likely WILL raise these minimums to that level in the not so distant future. I find it hard to believe the new owners have any love for paddling beyond simply making $$$$$, at least thats what their current strategy indicates. It was the devotion of small businesses and their belief in these Confluence owned lines in the early days of the sport that made them who they are now, and I for one do not appreciate the current ‘don’t let the door kick you in the a** on the way out’ attitude.
welcome to the new reality
of the big corporate world. glass/kevlar boats made in china, holding corps owned by shareholders who want return on investment…even companies like Werner are buying into the Starbucks model of business and allowing shops on every street corner to sell their product, further diluting profits and margins (and destroying ways of life) for small shop owners. it really is a sad thing to see.
i now wonder how Johnson outdoors acquisition of Lendal will lower the standards of that product, much like Necky’s and Current Designs quality control decreased exponentially once their boats where no longer built at their original factories.
My modern infused “Johnson” Necky is superior to my many old Abbottsford Necky’s, though I have fond memories of those boats! I don’t think Lendal quality will suffer either. Time will tell.
I also think in terms of Wildy, their Tempest boats are better than anything prior, especially the 165.
I understand the emotion around bigger companies and China etc., but I think there’s some positives. Highly specialized products will probably always be the realm of the smaller builders, as the huge corps probably can’t afford to dabble with that edgy, small market stuff. On the other hand the big guys can meet the demand of the poly rec crowd, general touring crowd. So in some ways I think things are ripe for little companies like ONNO, QCC, etc., to come in and make a mark. Lets not forget that the owners of these formerly small outfits chose to sell their businesses and enjoy a nice retirement. Good on them! To me it’s a natural evolution within an industry and it will sort itself out. Big companies can, and do put out great products, as do little ones. Good day.
I really prefer plastic boats because they take the abuse I dish out, but rotomolding boats requires an investment that small companies just can’t afford.
Most are guilty
The problem is most of us, to a lesser or greater extent, are guilty of not supporting the little guy. All specialist shops, I know, (no matter what sport or specialty) suffer from people coming in, getting good advice, getting good demo or trial service, only for them to go home to shop for the best deal online. Some even have the cheek to come in, do the demo etc. then come back brandishing some printout offering some unrealistic discount price and ask the store to match it or loose the sale.
What that inconsiderate customer is actually saying is “I don’t care how much it cost you to provide the service I’ve benefited from, to hold your demo fleet, to pay decent wages to knowledgeable staff. I want the price of the low overhead big box that provides none of these. I’m selfish, I want the best of all worlds”
If people don’t support the smaller specialist stores, be this manufactures as well as customers, these good people will get squeezed out of the market.
Equal to supporting the good stores, those of us who are passionate about our sport need to support the specialist manufacturers. Those who are not chucking the towel in and going offshore for manufacture. Have any of the companies who have gone offshore reduced their retail prices to reflect the saving they have made, NO! Have they put their own dedicated staff, someone who takes ownership of the resulting output, In one of these far-east plants, I DOUBT IT!
These companies want the maximum benefit of cost saving without investing in the infrastructure to support this extended supply chain. Making top end composite kayaks is not like shelling peas. Rumour has it many Epic dealers are less than impressed with quality since the switch to Chinese manufacture.
Whist I have no doubt, correctly done most things can be manufactured in the far-east to any given level of quality. However the will and the investment needs to be there to do it right!
I know someone
There is a one man company here in the UK that built an oven in his garage, had his mould cast locally, finished it by hand and has been making it commercially for several years.
If the desire is there, small companies can do anything the big boys can do. The best thing is they are passionate about what they do and about the people that use their products.
Be under no illusions this passion is lost once the company gets to a size where the key people are not available to Joe Blogs who phones asking for advise. Phone NDK or Valley and you can get to speak directly to Nigel Denis or Peter Orton, now try this at some of there competitions!
Ah, the great American way of business
for the greedy.
Bitch, isn’t it. I had some clothing stores years ago and know well what you put up with. I salute the survival of those like you who have made a go of a small retail for so long.
Hey, Doing My Part…
my last boat is a Wold Epic. Wold is one person shop for surf kayaks. Got 3 Island Waveskis. Think Roy S. does it by himself or maybe with another person.
I keep toying with the idea of a Mariner Coaster or Elan... Should I or should I not put myself on that list... Problem is that I like my surf crafts much more than the short, long boats.
I seriously doubt I would buy another Confluence boat or any from the current conglomerates. There's nothing there of interest to me. I would try for a Mariner before even considering a long boat from any of the existing crop.
But the truth is that you need those companies or the market won't have boats and the market won't grow to want more specialized boats. It's that simple really.
Small shops aren’t always screwees
Sometimes they do it to themselves.
When I was first thinking about buying a T165, a small vendor (who sold WS but didn't have either T170 or T165 in stock) told me to go to REI and sit in whichever one they had and if I wanted it, come back to him and he would order a composite one for me.
I had specifically said I wanted to demo first if possible, and he never asked me if I wanted to buy a composite one. The implication was, "I can't be bothered with paying to ship a plastic kayak here. A composite one makes me more profit so is worth it."
I ended up ordering it from REI, who had a plastic one in a warehouse and would transport it to the local store at no extra charge. I gambled on not demoing it first, but at least they heard me say "plastic". If I had been willing to wait another month or so, I could have demo'd one first on their annual demo day.
The kayak arrived exactly on the promised date, and in excellent shape (I checked it over for dents and other problems before paying the balance due).
Just because they're big doesn't mean they're bad. I will probably buy a composite T165 sometime, and most likely from REI again.
I might like a management job
with a boat company. I’m not qualified for CEO or marketing. I’d be interested in manager responsible for quality and customer support. I’m not available right now (I have to say that. My boss could be reading this.), but you never know, as fast as things change today. I’d be passionate about the job. I’d even take a pay cut. Resume upon request.
but can you move/ live in SC?
if so…send resume.
I’ll move for…
a pay increase.
not much of an increase would get me
heading down there…
sad how little you make working for an environmental organization…but i have fun…
CWS is always looking for GOOD people. Send resume and tell 'em flatpick sent ya!