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Thread: My version of why WOODCRAFT stores will not survive.....

  1. #1
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    My version of why WOODCRAFT stores will not survive.....

    So this past weekend i took a trip to Letchworth State park just south of Rochester.

    Well part of the plan Linda and i have it to get into carving. The whittling was just a trial run to test the waters.

    So i had drawn up a list of goodies i wanted to buy and given we were in the area of the relevant store (Woodcraft ) and had a duty free allowance which helped with savings, we thought it would be cool to stop in and buy direct from the store the tools we wanted.

    Well.....I wanted a set of Pfeil chisels, this store had all the individual chisels but none of the sets.

    So i looked at the chisels then checked out the list of chisels in the set i wanted and then approached the guy that had initially helped us.
    I asked if they would supply me the individuals at a set price if i took the full set.

    Nope. I said but you can order the set and replace the ones i have purchased. Nope set comes with a tool roll. I said i dont mind forgoing not having the tool roll. Nope then went on to give me some nonsense story about how the price of the set versus the price of the individual tools is different for them blah blah blah.

    This is when i said ok thanks i will order them online. But i was mad. I am a big believer in supporting local stores and i see tourism as part of this process. This guy could have had a few hundred dollar sale that day instead he got nothing from me. I had other things on my list but i was so mad at the lack of flexibility that i just left.

    Now i fully realize the cost of stocking everything for a hobby thats a niche in the first place (woodworking) never mind a further niche within the niche (carving). But if i were into this situation i would keep the common sets and make the individual chisels special order given if someone wants a very specific sweep they were surely already committed to carving and it was not on a par with something that everyone is buying and expect them to have it in stock.

    I could have looked to go over the guys head which normally i would but with my wife in tow i was not going to freak her out by performing. She also could not believe the mentality.

    So for my part they just lost the sale and they deserve to end up closing their doors and when they do i will not shed a tear.

    Dad always said .........half a loaf is better than none and they need to learn that.
    cheers

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    ...But if i were into this situation i would keep the common sets and make the individual chisels special order given if someone wants a very specific sweep they were surely already committed to carving and it was not on a par with something that everyone is buying and expect them to have it in stock...
    I agree with your logic on this, Rob. Maybe even keep a few of the common individual chisels in stock along with a few kits.

    It's a shame when a store (or its employees) become so robotic that they can't accommodate a request like yours (to sell you individual tools for the price of a set, then replenish the tools by ordering a set). I suspect they couldn't wrap their minds around the SKU jockeying they'd need to do to make it work on the computer.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  3. #3
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    I've found in Woodcraft stores, it can also depend on who you are speaking to. Some are more customer oriented than others. The few stores I've been in the sales people have been mostly retired guys supplementing their own woodworking hobbies. Some should be there, some should stay at home in their shop. Last time I was in one, there two guys standing by the cash register, picking their noses and one that was running his legs off trying to help people. Even though I only get to one once in a great while, none near me, it angered me and I walked out without buying anything.
    "We the People ......"

  4. #4
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    Wow, must be the culture of that chain, seems like I've had the same experience with mine, which I'll avoid if at all possible. The one we have used to be a mom/pop shop and had great service. They even had the woodworking club you could pay into to use the tools in the back shop at your leisure. Once they converted to woodcraft, many of the bins went empty, the shop closed down, and service went to zilch.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  5. #5
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    Bummer Rob. However, I hope (for Woodcraft's sake) you just caught one less than stellar employee on a bad day. Just speaking from my own experience with the Woodcraft here in Boise, you could search a long time and in many places and not find a more cooperative and accommodating retailer. They've bent over backwards for me on several occasions. Three weeks after I purchased my drill press table it went on sale at a different supplier. I casually mentioned this to the manager noting my usual poor timing. He said, well, you're right, that's bad timing. Then he went over to the register and gave me a gift card for the difference! Hard to beat service like that.

    I hope yours was an isolated incident, but if it is indicative of the service at that store I can agree that they might not last long.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

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  6. #6
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    Sadly, not an exception, but a corporate mentality. Some years ago, I looked into the franchise with a friend and a group of investors. We were looking at ~$750,000 upfront to open the doors. Not a matter to take lightly. The corporate mentality was excessively rigid and our investors backed off. There was no room for local interests, no flexibility in inventory, no control over much of anything. The store computers are tied to corporate and all real decisions get made there. Our investors showed us that we would be glorified employees, without the benefit of being employees, and having to fork over three quarters of a million dollars for the privilege. One of the reasons to build a business is to have an asset to someday sell. That was another item that would have been nearly impossible under their terms. There is more, but there is no reason to continue. My investors were smart business people that I knew and respected. They deduced that more than half of the franchises would either fail or be turned back over to corporate. As I have watched, very peripherally, that is exactly what has happened and perhaps will continue to do so. Not only do I not shop at Woodcraft, I never even look to see if they have what I might need. My personal experience and opinion. Take it or leave it. Your mileage may vary. FWIW, Rockler is not much different, except they are corporate stores with a few 'franchises' in existing businesses, i.e., Woodworker's Emporium in Las Vegas. There is a bit more flexibility depending on the local manager. Best one was in San Diego. Others I have been in didn't rate my return. I don't shop them either unless they have an exclusive item, i.e., the table saw clamps mentioned in another thread a few days ago. I confess to being an Amazon shopper. It's easier.
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  7. #7
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    I too agree that this is not an exception but, rather the rule. Woodcraft has all the telltale signs of a franchise business model that is focused on corporate profits versus franchisee success. My first exposure to Woodcraft was in central CA; a 'corporate store'. Back in the early 2000's this store was great; everyone was happy, the shelves were always stocked, the customer came first, etc. If something wasn't right, they made it right. They would even order things and let you pick them up in the store sans shipping.

    I had the chance to revisit this store a few years ago. It had become a franchise. The stock was low, shelf space was bare, staff were grouchy, etc. I mentioned to one of the guys I recognized as to how things had changed. Bemoaning his choice to quit Woodcraft-proper and go to work for the owner, tales of short orders and slowness to backfill popular items were forthcoming. Now, obviously a franchisee doesn't have the capital to tie up in stocking the store that corporate headquarters does. As described to me, this was not the problem. What seemed to be mismanagement was stated to be difficulties and inflexibilities in ordering. The owner couldn't stock in a manner that targeted "his" customer base as opposed to what Woodcraft tells you to stock.

    I am sure this is only part of the story but, when you are a store that is generally more expensive than other sources, I expect exemplary service to come with that increased cost. I am still on the mailing list and try to shop with them. Poor price position and high shipping costs usually send me elsewhere. It pains me a bit to buy 'made in America' products from Canada since they will hit my door for less money, with better service and a stronger customer service ethic than a store right down the street. Woodcraft may not fail real soon but, they failed me years ago.
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  8. #8
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    Oh boy not what i had anticipated to hear. Lets hope the Woodcraft guys read web posts. If ever they needed to see on this would be it. Sad really.

    For what its worth i have yet to come across a company as committed to customer service as Lee Valley is. They take the gold prize for customer service and its regardless of the product they sell they just do and know how to do it.
    cheers

  9. #9
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    I'm not familiar with all the reasons, but I do know Woodcraft 'used' to have a store in Reno.

    That void has been filled by some folks. I think they even managed to purchase the fixtures from the woodcraft store that closed.

    To go in, it looks very similar. Maybe a little smaller selection of some items, but I'm really hoping these guys make it work.

    Good reminder to go visit them and pick up some items.
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  10. #10
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    Might be worth it do give them "FeedBack". They give the opportunity:

    http://www.woodcraft.com/CustomerSer...rFeedback.aspx

    I was writing feedback and was going to add that maybe someone at corporate should read this thread, but thought maybe I don't have the right to expose you all..
    "We the People ......"

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