I donít believe there is a soul involved in the hobby Industry who hasnít thought about the tumultuous year weíve experienced.
Until next month,
Although almost every dealer Iíve had the opportunity to speak with has seen his business grow in the past 12 months there have also been major setbacks that caused a lot of people to finally realize that some serious mistakes have been made.
I shake my head as it has become the culture of our society, but nobody is willing to admit there were errors in judgment. Obviously Hobbico (and many businesses outside of the hobby industry) didnít go from the leader in the hobby industry to filing for chapter-11 bankruptcy because errors werenít made.
Iíve openly stated for several years that the need for centralized distribution, something that was desperately needed 50 years ago no longer exists. The advent of computerized ordering makes it just as simple for a dealer to go directly to a manufacturerís website as it does to go to a distributorís website. The past days of spending half your time on the telephone placing orders and engaging in friendly chit-chat with individual manufacturers had to be eliminated and this brought about the birth of centralized distribution, but times have changed. As major distributors slowly eliminate all products except for proprietary brands from their inventories we should see recovery begin. Iíll be the first to admit, if Iím looking for a product and I see the words ďorder pendingĒ it now sends up a red flag and itís time to move on, either to a different distributor, or directly to the manufacturer if it has a website that allows for customer direct ordering.
As many know, itís not just the hobby industry that has been on a roller coaster ride. My three favorite pastimes, hobbies, motorcycling and target shooting, have all faced turmoil. Having already spoken about the hobby industry in the previous paragraphs the two others have pretty much traveled the same path. A major distributor of motorcycle accessories, Motorsports Aftermarket Group, made the announcement it was undergoing ďdebt recapitalization,Ē which is simply another way of stating it too has filed for chapter-11 protection.
When Remington announced it had filed for chapter-11 bankruptcy protection due to $700 million of acquired debt it threw me for a loop. I did not see this coming. If there had been rumors I didnít hear them. Before we relocated I had ordered a precision target rifle that was never shipped. I didnít think much of it other than cancelling the order and requesting a refund of my deposit. Perhaps looking back I should have seen a little trouble brewing, but I didnít. I just figured Iíd check on and off for availability and when the company issued a production run Iíd order another at that time.
Weíve all heard the clichť that to move forward we first have to look to the past to know where weíve been, yet Iím not so certain that under the present day circumstances this applies. We also know that before an alcoholic (or any addict) can recover the first thing he must do is admit a problem exists. I honestly believe this thought process would go a long way in the recovery of the hobby, motorcycle and firearms industries. Mistakes were made, so what, people and committees as well make mistakes, it is part of the process of life.
As a matter of course in all three industries those in charge looked to the past to see what worked, then based on past history made judgment errors on what the future was going to bring. The first step to recovery of any type is to admit mistakes were made and then stop making the same mistakes over and over again.