Woodworkers Warehouse closings...the actual story...

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Hi all,
Just thought I could end some of this speculation going on about WWW. The following is not official information from WWW....just the story as I know it. I am the Assistant Manager of one of the stores. Here is what happened...
The parent company of WWW was formerly Trendlines. Most everyone knows this. Since woodworking was mainly a winter type business, Trendlines wanted to branch out into something that could generate sales in the summertime. For this reason, Trendlines bought the Golf Day company. In addititon, Trendlines also owned the Post Tool chain of tool stores. As most folks know, both Golf Day and Post Tools went under. WWW did not.
As a result, the WWW stores chain ended up shouldering the burden of paying back the money from the bankruptcy caused by those 2 other chains. WWW itself was doing just fine prior to that debacle. At some point, the Trendlines name was gone and the corporation became simply, Woodworkers Warehouse. The Trendlines name was gone.
Over the past few years, WWW has repaid many millions of dollars of the amount owed and had only 2 million to go. This year, the company would have turned a small profit actually until the latest debacle struck.
You see, without naming same, a certain bank was providing the financing for store operations. This bank was recently bought out and taken over by another, bigger bank. WWW had a committment from the smaller bank for continued financing, but the takeover bank would not honor that agreement. So now, WWW was courting several other financial institutions for the needed financing. However, it took too long and WWW ended up in default because of the lack of financing. This meant they had to file for chapter 11, reorganization.
In court it was decided that WWW had to put the inventory up for auction to repay creditors. Great American was the high bidder and they now own all the inventory in all 94 WWW stores.
There is now a going out of business sale going on at all 94 WWW stores. Everything in the stores is now being sold at 10% off. The current sale flyer's ending date is the 10th of December. Prices in this flyer are being honored. And if an item is on sale, the 10% will be taken off the sale price. There will be no further rain checks, special orders, store-to store transfers, or anything like that.
All WWW stores will remain open until all the inventory in that store is sold. Stuff that doesn't sell right away will probably be further reduced in the near future. Estimates range anywhere from 6 - 8 weeks for the completion of this process. But if there's something you want to obtain, ya better get it while the getting is good. It now becomes a crap shoot. You'll have to decide whether or not to buy it now at 10% off or wait till your item gets reduced even further. The catch is...the item you want may be gone if you wait too long. Not a sales pitch...just a fact of these going out of business sales.
Cash or major credit card only. No checks.
WWW does not owe Delta 20 million dollars as someone else said. But without solid financing in place, and the default because of that lack of financing, WWW was forced into this action.
And finally, I am pretty sad about this. I really enjoyed my job at WWW. While I obviously cannot speak for any of the other stores, ours was a pretty damn good one. Those of us who work there were all woodworkers and we had a wealth of knowledge. We had just started woodworking classes back in August which I was teaching and this was going very well. In fact, we were very close to finishing a pretty well-equipped woodworking shop right in the store for teaching the classes. I realize that some folks have had problems with other WWW stores with unknowledgable staff, no stock, etc. But ours was very well run and we bent over backwards to get what the customer wanted.
Now there will be 600 or so people out of work,...me included. :o(
Terry
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99main.com says...

Terry,
    Very sorry to hear of your impending unemployment. From the sounds of it, you are the kind of motivated employee that employers would be glad to have on board. Good luck to you as you find your next position.
    Also, thanks for your information.
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Terry Summer writes:

Sorry about that, but join the crowd.
Did any of you guys working that particular store think about getting financing and setting up on your own, renaming the location once WWW is gone, and doing your own thing? From what you say, the talent for woodworking and retail sales is there. Obviously, you'd need some buyers (good product managers in this field are hard to come by, but there should be some available with WWW out of business), and you'd need some financing, but that's what banks are for. A semi-decent business plan should be relatively simple to work up. Get an agreement among those of you who want an ownership position, take the business plan to a GOOD bank, and forget working for someone else.
AFAICT, woodworking retailing is a good spot to be and will remain so for at least a decade. I know of one former product manager who did the above and who is now doing quite well, from all I hear.
If I were a bit younger, I'd take a shot at it myself.
What I'd really like to be young enough to do is talk Rob Lee out of Lee Valley's first U.S. franchise. I guess it would be LV's first franchise, period. I know exactly where I'd put it, and I can already come up with half a dozen names for assistant managers.
Charlie Self
"I have one yardstick by which I test every major problem-and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?" Dwight D. Eisenhower
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O

Hi Charlie,
Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, we have indeed thought of just such a thing. But the amount needed for what we talked about....opening a Woodcraft franchise....is way beyond our means.
But maybe..... you never know, right? :o)
Terry
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Terry Summer notes:

Yeah. I can promise you, I was NOT writinf of a Woodcraft franchise. I was thinking more of an independent operation, one you guys planned out and financed (through a bank) yourselves. I think, depending on your area, there are federal and state and county grants to help out in depressed areas, too. Your idea of a depressed area may not agree with the fed or state governments, of course, but if they'll float a low interest loan....
Bringing jobs to almost any area, or keeping them from leaving, seems to be a good way to draw government cash. Business welfare, but what the hell.
Charlie Self
"I have one yardstick by which I test every major problem-and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?" Dwight D. Eisenhower
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Yikes! I felt that nerve get hit all the way here in Stone Mountain, Georgia! <grin> Gotta love those independant stores!

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How are things in Stone Mountain?
I grew up there, but moved to NJ for work almost 13 years ago.
NJBrad
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Same old stuff. The rock is still here, but run by the same folks as Dollywood. More commercialized now. I am surprised they didn't put a reptile farm in there... The Game Ranch moved outside the park because of the politics...

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to compete. Within 40 miles of my area all around me there are at least 4 Home Depots, a couple of Lowes and 2 Woodcraft franchises.
Unless the store was a member of some kind of buying co-op, it would never have the buying power to get good enough wholesale prices to be able to match or at least come close to the competitors.
That is why we see the Woodcraft franchise as a good way to get multiple store pricing, but the almost a million dollar price tag is wayyyy high!
I dunno....I spose we could look into grants..... Terry
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Terry Summer writes:

Must be a heavily populated area to have 2 WCS stores. The Lowe's and HD places aren't really competition, except in the power tool arena, something with razor thin margins anyway.

Probably true, but...I don't know for sure.

Argh! Choke! You ain't kidding. But what does that include, outside of permissions and logos and buying power?
Charlie Self
"In the final choice a soldier's pack is not so heavy as a prisoner's chains." Dwight D. Eisenhower
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Not totally sure, since we haven't investigated very far. But I sure would hope it included the goods!
Terry
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Last I heard to get a single store McDonalds franchise (obviously in some real small market as all the rest are already taken) you must be able to show a $2.5 million net worth. Don't know what the fees and start-up costs are, but probably substantial even with the store and all operating equipment leased.
Dave Hall
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Terry Sumner wrote:

That really sucks. Ask me why Bankers and Stock Brokers are right up there with Personal Injury Lawyers on my list. I'm sorry about you getting caught in the lurch, From what I've seen, HD or Lowe's could use a good manager, think about it. If they had someone who knew the business you'd be doing all of us a good turn. Dave in Fairfax
--
reply-to doesn't work
use:
daveldr at att dot net
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Thought of that! I even have a Home Depot about 4 miles from my house! How convenient would that be huh? :o)
Only problem is...I talked to a number of management type guys from HD and they are even more hamstrung than we were at WWW. The national controls everything and the local managers don't have the power to do much of anything on their own....so my knowledge wouldn't do a whole lot of good except for maybe having someone in the tool dept who actually knows what the tools are and what they do! LOL
There is a fairly new Woodcraft store where I had might be able to go to work at, but it's 34 miles from my home and in another state. My only vehicle is a Ford F250 4WD that only gets around 12 mpg. So that alone would cost quite a bit just to get there and back every day. And I don't know for absolute sure, but I wouldn't think the pay for a sales associate there would be very high. Plus, it's across the state line into Rhode Island and I don't know just yet what that would mean as far as a state income tax goes. RI has one and CT has one. I wonder if I'd have to pay in both states or what!
Terry
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wrote:

Terry, your entire first paragraph is valid until you factor in how expensive it is to be unemployed. Unemployment sucks. Really sucks. If you can get the WC job, at least you'll have a job while you look for a job.
An employee of an "out-of-state" company pays only the tax levied by his state of residence.
Michael
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Michael Baglio

Yes. It does.
And yes, it is expensive. The $468 I get every two weeks falls way short of what I was earning.
I find Terries thoughts of the expense of 6 gallons of gas a day typical of those unfamiliar with the 'joys' of unemployment.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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On Mon, 08 Dec 2003 12:29:31 GMT, Michael Baglio

I've been unemployed for an extended time. Yeah, it sucks. No cable, no new clothes, no gifts, no donations, no new tools, no shopping, no wood shows, no medical insurance, etc etc. Greatful to have some food, although I've lost almost 40 pounds. Hello Bush?
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Phisherman responds:

Yeah, well...I can't blame Bush for mine, but...it does suck. The concept of restarting a business after over a year away is workable, I think, but it's taking longer than anticipated and is more difficult because of changes in the way things are done. Getting out was a serious mistake that has cost me some serious money and probably delayed retirement 5 years, at a minimum.
And the unemployment checks are due to stop after the next 1 week version in about 9 days. That's going to hurt even though the check was for less than half what I made.
Charlie Self
"In the final choice a soldier's pack is not so heavy as a prisoner's chains." Dwight D. Eisenhower
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"Michael Baglio @nc.rr.com>" <mbaglio<NOSPAM> wrote in message

Not always. I live in CT but work in MA. I have to pay the higher MA tax and get what is paid as a credit to my CT tax (meaning I pay nothing on wages here). Since I have other income at times, I have to pay CT tax on that amount.
AFAIK, you will not pay more than the higher of any single state that you live/work in. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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wrote:

Huh... I've lived/worked in three different situations crossing various state lines and always paid only the tax in my state of residence.
My experiences are limited to "states" however, not "commonwealths."
M--
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