Sad post re Kaufmann Streamborn

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Don Barton, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. No stretch at all. Read the links to other threads. Dude was informed that his surety bond had lapsed -if I recall correctly- that was February, takes MORE deposit money anyway (illegally), then closes up shop, ain't picked up his mail since, and is likely long gone.

    That's 100% thief....thinking 1% otherwise is the stretch.
  2. R.I.P. Kaufmann's. So sad, I'm feeling so old. Seems like only yesterday we had Kaufmann's, Sweede's, Eastside Anglers and other fly shops to buy feathers, hooks, gear and other goodies at. Hope everyone can find a way to earn a living and do some fishing.

    Lance Kaufmann, the owner of the shop ran an ad for a 6 hour fly fishing lesson (normally $95 dollars), for $47 dollars, and sold 682 of them.
    That's over 32,000 dollars. Then, the shop closes abruptly thereafter, and still there is a smidgen of doubt that he was being anything but a thief?
    I liked Kaufmann's, I thought it was a classy store and I'll miss it. This economy sucks, and the distribution of wealth is crazy. Ken said it right though. People blame the internet for a lot of fallen businesses, but in reality all of those industries are still here, but under different business models.
  4. well buck, i really don't have any clue regarding lance's motives. what i did observe once lance took over sole responsibility for daily operations in the tigard store and then eventually bought out randall, was a 180 degree shift in corporate culture. the old guard filtered out the door, sometimes quietly and sometimes with a good deal of emotion which they would privately share. the shop went from a place that 'invited' you to pop in and say hi to one that looked at you with disdain if you didn't drop several hundred on every visit. i stopped patronizing the shop over a decade ago because of this change in culture.

    folks need to be aware, however, of just what they are observing before spending big bucks. the lack of high end inventory should have been a big clue to folks. shops that are well established can pick up the phone and get what you want by next day. shops that are not doing well will have to bucks up with any vendor before anything gets shipped.

    anyone out trip dollars, i am sorry for your loss, that would really piss me off as well.
  5. Well, I doubt Lance saw a penny of the Groupon $$. Here's a brief cut on how the program works:

    "The company offers one "Groupon" ("group coupon") per day in each of the markets it serves. The Groupon works as an assurance contract using ThePoint's platform: if a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available to all;[14] if the predetermined minimum is not met, no one gets the deal that day.[6] This reduces risk for retailers, who can treat the coupons as quantity discounts[6] as well as sales promotion tools. Groupon makes money by keeping approximately half the money the customer pays for the coupon.[6][15] So, for example, an $80 massage could be purchased by the consumer for $40 and then Groupon and the retailer would split the $40."


    As the Groupon's are 'free' it's doubtful anyone's really out any money unless the 'service was rendered.' That said I find it hard to buy into the idea that 600++ people would sign up for fly casting lessons. All that aside, going a full on Chapter 7 vs a Chapter 11 tells me they're not only under water, but also floating out with the tide.

  6. You pay upfront with groupons. As soon as the deal goes live, Groupon will charge your credit card. Then, usually the following day, your ceritificate of purchase is available to use and works just a like a gift certificate for the product or service.
  7. Where, in your Wikipedia copy/paste text, was there anything about them being free? Every one of those 682 people paid $47. In return, they received a voucher valid for a 6-hour fly fishing class at a shop that's now out of business. Even at 50%, that means Groupon send Kaufmann's a check for $16k. They sure as hell didn't get a lot of those lessons done in 6 weeks.
  8. Any flavor of bankruptcy is by definition a civil procedure. From the sound of it, there's pretty good basis for a criminal action against Lance as well. Filing for bankruptcy doesn't protect someone against a simultaneous criminal charge.

    Consider this: There's not a lot of difference between Bernie Madoff promising his customers a 10% return if they'd give him their money to 'invest' and Lance promising his Groupon customers a 6-hour flyfishing class if they gave him their $47. In neither case does it appear that the clients got what they were promised or what they paid for.

    If Lance doesn't have the money to pay back the Groupon customers due to bankruptcy, there's always jail time as a penalty.

  9. True that Kaufmann Streamborn's bankruptcy wouldn't protect Lance against criminal charges, but do you seriously think you have enough facts to determine whether he engaged in criminal behavior? I don't have a clue as to what the real facts are, but this could easily be chalked up to the kind of never-say-die optimism that many entrepreneurs have. He may have believed that he could turn the corner if he could just keep things going until they hit the peak of the flyfishing retailer's season. In other words, he may have arranged the Groupon deal with the honest belief he was going to satisfy all those folks who signed up for it. And why not? He takes a 50% haircut each lesson but has 682 potential new customers to upsell. Great marketing. You really think the guy is going to intentionally stiff 682 people for a measly $16,000? Very easy to explain this without there being any criminal fraud involved. Not trying to defend the guy, because I don't know him, but comparing him to Madoff is a joke. Both in legal terms and in the amount of dollars at stake there is a world of difference.

    On another note, I don't know what the situation was like in Tigard but I stopped going to the Seattle store completely at least a year ago when the shelves started looking shockingly bare. I dropped a lot of coin at Kaufmann's over the years but had curtailed my business with them years ago. I can't say I was ever treated badly by anyone there but there were plenty of times after guys like Blair, Leland and Gary were all gone when I'd walk in the shop and barely get the time of day from anyone. That was especially true of the Bellevue store in the last few years before its demise. (If you weren't a personal fishing buddy of those guys you might as well have been invisible.) So some time ago I started going to other shops, primarily Creekside in Seattle, for no other reason than that every time I walk in that shop Keith or the other guys who work there actually engage with me. I don't think the formula for developing customer loyalty in this business is all that complicated. The shops that are staffed by folks who are friendly and willing to engage from the first time you walk in the door are going to get that loyalty. The ones that staff their shops with people who are not willing or able to engage are not going to get that loyalty (although I understand there are some customers that get some sort of masochistic pleasure out of being mistreated by certain flyshop proprietors).
  10. I haven't been harmed and so I don't have a dog in this fight. Thus it doesn't matter how many facts I do or don't have. (I do miss the Bellevue store mightily though and didn't patronize the Seattle location because of the hassle factor in getting there and the lack of parking. Kevin was a stand up guy and several times took orders for me by phone and sent them by mail.)

    However, it's pretty easy to see how Groupon and it's customers HAVE been harmed.

    First, they should have a pretty good basis for a criminal complaint demonstrating fraud and theft. Secondly, Groupon probably has a basis for a civil complaint as well based on breach of contract and failure to perform. (Yes, with Kaufmann's in bankruptcy, any chance of collecting on a damage award is practically nil since secured creditors are first in line for any proceeds from the liquidation of assets.)

    But since 682 of Groupon's customers feel they've been ripped off, it's in the company's best interests to proceed with legal action in order to promote trust and good faith to prospective customers who may be hesitant to patronize Groupon as a result of the Kaufmann's incident.

    If Groupon sat idly by and didn't stand up for their customers who collectively lost $16K or more, how likely would any of those customers be to buy from them again? Therein is the basis for demonstrating harm.

    If you or I were one of those folks, I'd be plenty pissed. After all, $47 could have bought a 1.5 liter bottle of Maker's Mark for Chrissakes!

  11. a) groupon will be returning every penny to those that did not have an opportunity to take a class

    b) groupon distributes funds in 3 installments over a period of 3 months or so. i am guessing they do this because this probably isnt the first time an outfit has gone out of business after launching one of these deals. i guess you could say they should do a credit check but many of these business are small and/or service oriented that have little to no credit history.
  12. So changing the topic a bit: On the east side of Seattle, are we now down to just Creekside and Orvis for local shops?
  13. Yes. If you're spey'd you also have River Run Anglers in Fall City.
    Two great shops but no Dicks.
  14. I was thinking a few days ago what made Kaufmann's such a fly fishing icon in the PNW. I'm not positive about how it was in other parts of the country, but it seems like Kaufmann's was the first NW fly shop that could fully outfit an angler. Shops like Patrick's, in the days of Roy Patrick, sold flies and fly tying materials, and a few fly lines, but very little fishing tackle. Warshal's was probably as close to a complete outfitter as there was. But for the most part a person wanting to fly fish got his flies and fly tying materials at one store, rod at another, a Hardy reel maybe from Eddie Bauer, a Wheatley fly box from Frederick & Nelson (yeah, they had a small amount of fishing gear), back to Patrick's or Seattle Sporting Goods for a fly line, backing, and leader, and down to Warshal's for a set of waders.

    Kaufmann's was the first full service shop that I knew of where you could walk in, drop your Visa Gold card on the counter, and get completely outfitted: a 5 wt rod for trout, an 8 for salmon and steelhead, high quality reels and extra spools for both, lines, leaders, flies, boxes, all accessories to go in the vest they sold you, fishing hat, sunglasses, waders, wading staff, and a float tube for still waters. One stop fly-shopping, load it all in the car and be a fully out-fitted fly fisherman. Oh, and sign up for fly tying, fly casting, and fly fishing lessons and classes so you could actually put all that new gear to use, and then book you for exotic and cool fly fishing trips to take all your new gear to. If any other shop in the region came even close to offering all that, I didn't know about it. Now all that is pretty much standard for fly shops throughout the US. Was Kaufmann's the first to offer the complete fly fishing package?

  15. Lance Kaufmann sold us a fly-fishing trip early this year (Jan/Feb) to Christmas Island this summer. It was paid in full prior to the bankruptcy announcement and now we are told that our trip is not valid and there will be no refunds. Air Pacific has no record of our trip and neither do any of the lodges in Christmas Island.

    We are out the full cost of the trip (thousands each - not to mention the non-refundable airfares we have already purchased). I have read of others on the boards here who are also out a lot of money either through trips, lessons, or groupon / gift certificates.

    While we will likely never see a cent of our hard earned money I encourage others to tell their stories here and to write to the attorney general. The truth needs to come out about what really went on.
  16. I've been thinking off and on about your reply since I first read it and you're so right on. They were the first full-service fly shop. Thanks for pointing that out.

  17. I grew up about 5 miles from the Tigard store. My Grandpa used to take me there to hang out and learn the ropes. It will surely be missed. I actually took tying lessons from Randall when I was 11- and my picture and our class was featured in the paper. Of course- my mom saved it in my baby book. Hope maybe someone can buy it and resurrect it.

  18. Help find lance and put him where he belongs.

    let's get our priorities clear here - that groupon scam, which apparently was $47 bux a head, and a mere $32K, I'm guessing is peanuts compared to megalops times who knows how many others. Even if it is a couple dozen, that's big money per head, and overall.

    The key question here is: has anyone seen lance? in order for anybody to do anything, the responsible parties need to be found, and served papers (civil and criminal warrants).

    That trip money wasn't a loan for his business - - - it was stolen. Crime should not pay.
  19. Help find lance and put him where he belongs.

    Nor was it intended to help out with his mortgage, car payments or groceries - which I'm betting it probably did.


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