Sad post re Kaufmann Streamborn

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

  1. Lugan

    Lugan Joe Streamer

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    My oh my, that Westfly thread is very interesting and worth reading end to end. If even half true, the Kaufmann legacy will be quite tainted. I hope it's not true...but it sure looks bad. It gives me vertigo.
     
  2. Kevin J. Burnham

    Kevin J. Burnham Active Member

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    There was a time !!
     
  3. o mykiss

    o mykiss Active Member

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    Kaufmann's has or soon will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. That means they will, under the supervision of a bankruptcy court, liquidate their assets and pay creditors (including people who paid for but didn't receive goods or services) with whatever proceeds they may receive from selling their assets. If Kaufmann's had a bank loan, it was probably a secured loan, so the bank gets paid in full before unsecured creditors (like those who paid for but didn't receive goods or services) see one thin dime. And employees get paid before unsecured creditors too. My guess is that if you're one of those people who paid for but didn't receive goods or services, you will be out of luck. I hope I'm wrong, but the odds of an unsecured creditor in a small retailer Chapter 7 proceeding receiving more than a few cents on the dollar are not great. All creditors (including customers who paid for but didn't receive goods or services) are supposed to be notified as part of the bankruptcy proceeding so they can submit their claims as part of the process. That is the only way you'll get anything back, unless you paid for it by credit card and can get your credit card company to unwind the transaction. Talk of class action lawsuits is pure folly. I mean, have fun litigating against a small company going through a Chapter 7 proceeding (not to mention finding a good lawyer willing to take on a class action lawsuit that's probably on its face worth less than 100k).
     
  4. gt

    gt Active Member

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    i think it is important to remember that the folks moving in to sieze the kaufman assests were not about to broadcast their intentions a day, week or month in advance. the consumer was not aware and probably lance was also in the dark regarding the actions to be taken against his business. so while folks are out trip deposits, i think it a stretch to blame it all on lance as if he plotted to 'steal' your dollars by accepting deposits.

    i do agree the original discussion was shut down too quickly and perhaps the insight from many of you would have helped folks decide to wait and see before they wrote those checks. FYI, i know, personally, this has already started in november of last year but too many 'vocal' posters would have just tried to piss on my shoes had i posted what i already knew, such is life.
     
  5. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    GT, I think my reading comprehension is good enough. I know there are many that got soaked by Kaufmann's who kept taking money up to the bitter end. That is a horrible business tactic. I'm an ass for losing sight of that in my irritation to what you posted early. I hope that there is a way for those that got taken to get their money back.
     
  6. snarlac

    snarlac Member

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    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.
     
  7. gt

    gt Active Member

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  8. flyfisher228

    flyfisher228 Member

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    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.
     
  9. Buck

    Buck "Ride'n Dirty."

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    LET ME SEE IF I HAVE THIS RIGHT.

    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?
    Wow.
    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.
     
  10. gt

    gt Active Member

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    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.
     
  11. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

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    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."

    Etc.

    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.

    fae
     
  12. Kaari White

    Kaari White Active Member

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    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.
     
  13. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    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.
     
  14. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    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.

    K
     
  15. o mykiss

    o mykiss Active Member

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    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).