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BigCeramicStore.com


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2 hours ago, CactusPots said:

Their website says closed for indefinite period.  My local supplier says they are out of business permanently.

I'm not surprised, they've had a pretty awful reputation online for the past few years.

https://www.bbb.org/us/nv/sparks/profile/ceramics-supplies/big-ceramic-store-1166-5004754/complaints

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A decade ago we bought a bunch of stuff from them and they were great, I heard they sold out to some non potter/artist company 4-5 years ago that was rolling up a bunch of drop ship website businesses and BCS used to keep a lot of stuff warehoused so it was probably a bad fit from the start. 

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  • neilestrick changed the title to BigCeramicStore.com

I spent some time doing rollups and to get it right the common denominator has to be a great process. People don't like change but they can adjust. We bought out a dozen small companies and many of them were run half a$$ed so we lost very few customers. We were an upgrade. Had a competitor that also bought out a few smaller outfits and they always bled customers after closing and we ended up with those customers too.

No matter what the business people mostly demand a well run process and they like to feel that they matter. The only other way to keep customers is sell or offer something that no one else does and that's hard to find these days in any market.

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Stephen

Whats your take on this rolled up business he bought and rolled and closed up.Now after really bad business (when you goggle this place the Better business bureau comes up with complaintants) the customers are pissed off and now the owner has nothing to show for the investment aqnd has lost the customer base??

Great business plan

 

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Well that is the problem when small businesses consolidate. If the new service sucks then they lose the customer base. If its mostly an asset sale then some don't care too much but if you paid based on future revenue from the customers then your probably screwed. When I bought other companies I escrowed a portion of the dough and a lot of the value paid for customers was phased in payments as we hit milestones so the outgoing owner(s) has an incentive to help us keep customers. Usually the market has been split up between a few large companies and then the 2nd tier might be a bunch of local shops. Its just about every trade, plumbing, painting, builders, HVAC and industry sectors. Most things are really local at the end of the day. 

I would think of pottery as a pretty small space and most online suppliers that have some traction seem to some geo area pottery suppliers that built up their online presence early on like Baileys, Clay King, Sheffield's etc . I have no idea how many others are just pure drop ship internet companies though. I know BCS had a warehouse in AZ because when we ordered they  offered local pickup and used to have some shots of their warehouse and it had things like pottery wheels, slab rollers and other larger studio equipment visible so they were not a pure drop ship company unless those were fake images on their website. I also remember that you had to go to the entry office and they would go out and get the stuff so I don't think they were really a retail store either. I had briefly considered picking some of the equipment up since I was flying in to Phoenix on business and thought about renting a truck, so they had some of it. 

I don't really know that's what happened though, it seems like I remember about 5-6 years ago getting some emails from the owners about the sale and then I heard from some place that the original owners got it back (maybe here)---but all of that is from this old mans 10-12 year old memory and hearsay. Might not be the story at all. How's that for hedging.  Maybe someone who actually knows the facts will see this thread and come in and tell us how all of this went down.

I do think its a shame because back when we dealt with them they were just fine and you hate to see a company that has it figured out go under. That means a lot of hard work wasted beyond a paycheck and I think all of us order a lot of our stuff online now so there is no reason they should not be doing well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

They still owe me a back ordered fettling knife they charged me for but never sent. I had to fight to get the portion of the order they did send and it took 7 weeks to get  but the class i ordered it for was an 8 week class And by the time the partial order got there we had ordered from elsewhere . That was maybe 4ish years ago and after that i told my students not to bother with them. One student forgot and had to fight for a refund when their order was not sent. I orderEd from them many times before that and didn't have an issue.

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  • 7 months later...

We moved to Reno in 2014 and sometime shortly before that they had been sold.  Before that they had a good reputation and, not realizing things had changed, I actually drove over there to make some purchases (I thought).  In the first place I had a devil of a time finding them at all even WITH my GPS, because they had virtually no signage posted and they were back in a warehouse/industrial complex.  And in the second place, when I DID finally find them and walked in the door, there was a counter and a glass door that clearly went into a showroom but it was locked.  After standing around for awhile because no one was there, I can't remember if I hollered or someone just happened by and saw me, but they immediately got very angry and aggressive and demanded to know what I was doing there.  Apparently the "new rule" was no pickups.  Only mail order.  I was shocked because that was not how they had presented on the website in the pretty recent past, plus - why be so aggressive with ANYONE who wandered in off the street?  I mean I'm a little old crippled lady.  5'2" before I got old, I must be even shorter than that now.  What did she think, I was going to leap over the counter and attack her with the sword so cannily and skillfully hidden in my Walmart aluminum cane?

So I never ever went back and obviously (as I told them on the way out), if I was going to have to MAIL ORDER pottery stuff anyway, I'd not be getting it from the place that just threw me out.  I'd continue shopping with Clay-King, Baileys, and the handful of other small concerns I've been dealing with off and on for the past 30 years.  In which company they used to be.

Since then I've heard the same sorts of stories from others in the community here local.  Used to be great.  Got sold.  Coasted on the technical info posted by the previous owner.  Routinely took your money and didn't deliver.  I'd come to the conclusion on my own that they were trying to drop ship which for things other than large items like kilns just doesn't work.  I think they sold off the inventory and then tried to slide by on shady practices, robbing Peter to pay Paul because they took most of the cash and assets out of the business right at the start and figured they could just drop ship everything else, but that does not work.  At all. 

I've seen similar shady dealings over the past 10 years or so with soaping and herbal product suppliers.  They bait you with great prices on dried herbs or essential oils etc but when you actually order and pay it is now a game of hurry up and wait (mostly wait).  Sometimes you never get the item at all, sometimes it shows up after weeks or months, and often if it DOES show up, it isn't anything near what you (thought) you ordered.  There are at least 3 of these of which I am currently aware, one is a scam company operating out of India - pure scam that one - one I'm not sure of the history, but one was a company like this, well known in soaping communities and owned by a soaper, but when she sold it the new owner did just what I expect they did at BCS, which was try to switch to a drop shipping model.  When a lot of the stuff you are trying to "drop ship" is coming from Africa, India, and other parts of Asia, that takes weeks or months.  Naturally people are unhappy.  Same story.  Won't answer phones.  The only way you'll get a refund is if your CC company is willing to intervene.  Items are often never sent.  Partial orders are sent and marked off as full orders.  The wrong items are sent.  FAKE items are sent.

Currently BCS claims to be closed due to Covid.  I do not expect them to ever open their doors again.  Businesses like BCS that do not have walk-in customers were NEVER required to close in this state so that statement is pure bull.  If there's anything in the tech data you want, go ahead and get it now.  It MIGHT be available on the Wayback Machine but it might not.  That's what happens when you indulge in the rapine and pillage of your own business.

Edited by Pyewackette
typos, as usual
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