Diary of a Demented Store Owner

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

An Open Letter From Mikey In The First Person

I hadn’t planned to drone on about problems and changes in our industry as it might seem self-serving and of no interest to our blog followers.

But I started this blog not only to promote, but to provoke and give insight into the workings of a glass store owner. Hence the title 'Diary of a Demented Store Owner'.

Yes, we do tell you what’s new, give suggestions and promote stuff that’s appearing. We've even been accused of trying to inject a little humour into our industry now and then. But that’s something you might get elsewhere (excluding Mikey's bad sense of humour...Tina).

Something you can’t get anywhere else is how things are done, the behind-the-scene inner workings, the graft and corruption, the sex, drugs and women- namely, the trials and tribulations we as retailers face.

That’s maybe why this blog is a little different.

It hasn’t made us popular with some, but has hopefully caused some changes to occur for the betterment of our industry. I have stories- some I can share today, some best left for another day.

Here’s one for today...

You might have thought that I was here these past few weeks.

Sorry, but I wasn’t.

I was away, hard at work as the above picture clearly shows.

The great thing about writing a blog is that you can schedule entries to appear even when you aren’t here.

I wish I was here.

It has been a very ‘interesting’ time these past few weeks.

Upon my return I find myself reflecting on many of the ‘cornerstones’ of our business and reviewing the status of all our inventory, the importance of our suppliers and our product mix- all relevant and important to our continuing success.

Manufacturers have disappointed us.

So has our supplier.

The traditional manufacturer/distributor/retail supply chain no longer seems to be important to most players leaving the retailer to wonder why this distribution system continues to exist.

You see, a mainstream manufacturer sells only to a protected set of distributors. That’s okay. There is merit to this system. Or was.

That protected distributor in return receives best pricing so long as they promise to carry the manufacturer’s full line and carry a substantial quantity in inventory to adequately supply the retailer (and studios).

This is important, why?

Well, FIG as your retailer depends on the distributor (and the due diligence of the manufacturer) to make sure he upholds his end of the deal, does his job and actually has inventory for us to draw from.

As you know (ad nauseam), over the past four years we have had a progressively worsening time procuring supplies from these manufacturers’ distributor. Some to such an extent that once proud mainstream suppliers such as Spectrum are now viewed here in Canada as a minor boutique manufacturer that is unable to provide a consistent and reliable product.

While we have a lesser problem supplying Bullseye glass because we are a dealer and buy direct, there are sundry, and slow moving items that we won’t buy direct expecting our distributor in their role to provide this for us.

Not happening.

So, where am I going with all this?

I’m not sure.

It used to be that everyone in the supply chain knew their role.

It used to be that everyone followed the rules, provided product in a timely, accessible manner, at a reasonable cost. And for all that effort, of course, were entitled to and realized a reasonable profit.

Everything is changing. Loyalties are being tested and reevaluated. I think we must do so as well.

Keep tuned as I anticipate some big changes occurring at FIG.


Anonymous said...

Mike glad u r back and nice to see u still have the courage to be the only one speaking out. I am sick and tird off going to our CDN supplier and seeing so many empty shelves. I hope the guys that sell to OUR DISTRIBUTOR READ THIS!

Anonymous said...

!Holey Moley, I Loved it, not only do you explain the situation well, but you publicly flog two birds with one stone

Anonymous said...

you are so right. I am one of your competitors and I no longer bother to recommend Spectrum Glass for most installations just because I can't get it

Anonymous said...

I think you should expect some interesting phonecalls/emails

Anonymous said...

I've seen the change in supply availability and unfair and opportunistic pricing since we lost any competitiveness in the wholesale market and maybe the government should take a look?

Anonymous said...

you are so right. All retailers are sick and tired of having to tell our customers that we just can't get any inventory. It's unfortunate to think this way but I would like to see our present wholesaler go broke and have there shoes filled by a proper company like Ed Hoy, etc

Anonymous said...

Spectrum has always been a staple of ours. But not so much anymore. Will the situation improve? It might already be too late for Spectrum.

Anonymous said...

Today I went to my 'wholesale' supplier and found their shelves empty of anything and everything I needed.
I had money to spend but obviously not there so where did I go? Fantasy In Glass to find they had a BIGGER and BETTER inventory than the 'large' warehouse I went to.
And FIG always has service with a smile!
I just read your 'Blog' and obviously that explains the 'problem' with the 'wholesaler' I went to!
Thanks FIG!

Anonymous said...

Where has Spectrum been these last few years? Didn't they see that H stopped buying their glass?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I got a great idea, why don't you become a distributor! No competition Mike- the single malt scotch will flow so freely once again!

Anonymous said...

Right on! Bullesye makes a 6 mil clear? Never knew that. Well actually I do- there's lots of stuff I see on their site that I've never seen in person. Make's sense that u wouldn't carry it. I'm guessing you have to buy that stuff by the case?

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you back you arrogant big prick! And I mean that only with the greatest affection!

Anonymous said...

Back from vacation and u sure hit a nerve as u seem more than capable of doing!
Yes, I agree totally! We have been too sorely served for way too long. Thank you for having the courage to speak up for all us wimps
Of Course I'm Staying Anonymous

Anonymous said...

just got home, read your latest blog entry, Spectrum GlasS? I remember them. I think I'm still waiting for some Spwhite fusible after 6 months. Switched to Bullseye- not only do you have it, they make like 5 whites!
Mike, do what you want, but I can't forgive Spectrum for not making white fusible available
John S

Anonymous said...

Having used the same 'wholesaler' myself, the last year or so have been very trying. I don't always know in advance what colours I need, and I can't wait six months (yes, it's happened) to get them...neither can my customers! This is likely going to result in some sort of restructuring of how we all do business, or hopefully some serious competition for the big monopoly that is no longer living up to the needs of the small businesses that support it.
Keep up the great work Mike!

Anonymous said...

I've been a lurker here on your blog for the past 3 years and never wrote a comment until today. I fear for the glass community here in Canada with the disgusting service they're getting from their supplier. And should the manufacturers be let off the hook for not 'policing' their distributors? Spectrum in particular should be ashamed of how they allowed their Canadian distributor to get away with the horrible supply situation we have been living with!
Sign me Disgusted

Anonymous said...

Half a day and no comments. What the heck is going on. No one sufficiently pissed off to rake our distribution chain (excluding Mikey because we love him). over the coals? No one? Anyone? Thank Christ that we have you Honey because without you there would be no one fusing in these woods. Why you ask? Well, no one can get any Spectrum (they still are in business are they?), and you're the only source for a full line of Bullseye! Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

If you back down speaking on behalf of us we'll know that 'someone' has been unfair to you. If so, you must spill the beans...

Anonymous said...

Thinking of not carrying some glass lines Mike? I don't know if anyone would notice. You are by far the largest supplier in Canada, but even I've noticed that your racks are quite empty. It seems that the only glass available today is in your remnant racks.

Anonymous said...

It gets more and more frustrating as a studio owner/artist to take on commissions knowing that I can't expect anyone, including FIG to carry the full line of Bullseye that I need to complete a project and most small studios can't buy from H even if they actually had stuff in stock. So, down the food chain, I usually just feel pissed off and hungry. So, the last two orders I've done direct with Bullseye and felt disloyal to FIG and crossed my fingers with the border/duty issue and actually got what I need. I can see why Bullseye is going after the market directly with all their % off pricing but for those of us in Canada, the duty charges and interest rate make that a risky business. I still come to FIG as often as I can but jeez, it's a frustrating time in the glass world in Canada...