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Thread: We are losing our nearest Woodcraft

  1. #1
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    Jan 2004
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    We are losing our nearest Woodcraft

    In January I was in Spokane to see my HA audiologist and stopped in at Woodcraft. I bought several of my larger tools there including my Jet drillpress, both my Jet air filters and my PM3520B which the owners delivered, even helping me get it into the shop. Nick told me he had experienced some health issues including a battle with cancer. When I was looking at some chisels, I noticed some of the stock was getting thin.

    In December I found and joined a local woodworking club. This past Wednesday night at the monthly meeting, one of the members mentioned that Woodcraft in Spokane was closing and the owners were trying to find a buyer. I wish he and his wife well! They are a nice couple.

    The nearest Woodcraft stores will now be in Boise, Portland or Seattle. The nearest store will be 265 miles away but all about 6 hour drives away. Several of the local hardwood suppliers are reducing stock or going out of business too.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 05-12-2019 at 4:15 PM.
    Ken

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Newburgh, Indiana
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    867
    I am seeing the same thing happening with motorcycle shops. Either going out of business or selling mostly side by side four wheelers. The younguns would rather play with their cyber pacifiers these days.
    Life's too short to use old sandpaper.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Greeley, CO
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    37
    Bicycle shops too. I buy everything I can from my local Woodcraft but I fear it's just a matter of time....

  4. #4
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    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
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    We lost ours ~ 2010 when the economy went south. I hated to see it go.
    Please help support the Creek.

    My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

    - Steven Wright

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    McKinney, TX
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    1,620
    Sorry to hear that. I can’t imagine how I’d deal with a 6 hour drive for lumber or tools
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    8,056
    Oh no! I most of the major tools for my shop from WoodCraft. (I prefer to support a local store if possible.) They were as helpful as your experience. The owner eventually sold out and the new owner is great but I've already bought all the big things! It's nice to be able go get the small stuff quickly though. (Our turning club meets in the WoodCraft classroom so I make the 30 mile drive once a month anyway.)

    Hey, is this an opportunity for new Fitzgerald ownership?! ( I certainly wouldn't have the energy! )

    Maybe your club could organize a WoodCraft store sharing system where people take turns making the drive. Or WoodCraft online? But I've never tried that, don't know how that works.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    In January I was Spokane to see my HA audiologist and stopped in at Woodcraft. I bought several of my larger tools there including my Jet drillpress, both my Jet air filters and my PM3520B which the owners delivered, even helping me get it into the shop. Nick told me he had experienced some health issues including a battle with cancer. When I was looking at some chisels, I noticed some of the stock was getting thin.

    In December I found and joined a local woodworking club. This past Wednesday night at the monthly meeting, one of the members mentioned that Woodcraft in Spokane was closing and the owners were trying to find a buyer. I wish he and his wife well! They are a nice couple.

    The nearest Woodcraft stores will now be in Boise, Portland or Seattle. The nearest store will be 265 miles away but all about 6 hour drives away. Several of the local hardwood suppliers are reducing stock or going out of business too.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
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    26,948
    Spokane is 110 miles away, much colder in the winter than living in what is locally referred to as "the Banana Belt" and my wife of 50 years would not move so ownership is out.

    Besides missing the current owners who were extremely nice people, I will miss having a store where I could walk in, fondle, drool, make my decision and walk out with a tool hoping I could get it home before the rust from my drool appeared! LOL!

    The club already does ride sharing when making lumber buying trips to Portland. I am debating renting a trailer to use when I go or just renting a van to drive there to make my lumber buys.
    Ken

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati Ohio
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    4,428
    I always hate to see local stores close.
    Having said that, I have not been in my local Woodcraft in years.Only about 20 to 25 min away. It is located is a very congested part of town I don't care to go. If I order before 2pm mail order, I have it next day on my door step.
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  9. #9
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    Lewiston, Idaho
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    Over the years at that Wood Craft store, I bought 2 Jet air cleaners, an 18" Jet drill press, a PM-3520B lathe, hundreds if not over $1,000 worth of Robert Sorby turning tools, a Wood River low angle block plane and glues, etc. My cyborg hearing requires I go to Spokane to my CI audiologist 1-2 times a year for mappings (tune ups) and to see my CI surgeon annually, it was really convenient to swing by Wood Craft if I needed shop supplies or to look at possible new tools for the shop. I will miss that luxury!

    When I recently ordered a 1" chisel from Lee Valley I was a little nervous as I hadn't seen it, wasn't sure I'd like it. Seeing something first hand often gives me a little confidence when I purchasing something.

    I will miss that store and yet, with Nick's brush with cancer, I can understand his desire to retire and enjoy life while he can! I wish him, his wife and his family well!
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 05-20-2019 at 10:24 AM.
    Ken

  10. #10
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    Cincinnati Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    Over the years at that Wood Craft store, I bought 2 Jet air cleaners, an 18" Jet drill press, a PM-3520B lathe, hundreds if not over $1,000 worth of Robert Sorby turning tools, a Wood River low angle block plane and glues, etc. My cyborg hearing requires I go to Spokane to my CI audiologist 1-2 times a year for mappings (tune ups) and to see my CI surgeon annually, it was really convenient to swing by Wood Craft if I needed shop supplies or to look at possible new tools for the shop. I will miss that luxury!

    When I recently ordered a 1" chisel from Lee Valley I was a little nervous as I hadn't seen it, was sure I'd like it. Seeing something first hand often gives me a little confidence when I purchasing something.

    I will miss that store and yet, with Nick's brush with cancer, I can understand his desire to retire and enjoy life while he can! I wish him, his wife and his family well!

    Yes, Nice to see a tool in person.
    I tend to buy hardware and special stuff from Woodcraft. I did buy my JET jointer from Woodcraft when they first open
    Guess I'm lucky to have a large woodworking tool equipment store that caters to the trade. They sell the home shop stuff as well as the big industrial stuff. That is my go to place for larger tools.
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  11. #11
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    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    48,863
    Brick and mortar retail is a tough place to be these days and that's especially true for franchise owners who either have personal issues like seem to be case here as well as when it comes to lease renewal time, often about 5 years in. They may not have as attractive deal financially at that point and the level of business that supported things on the original terms may not be enough to continue on new, more expensive terns. That combined with the "declining" demographics of the customer base and the attractiveness of ordering online instead of traveling a long way to visit a specialty store is also taking a toll. If I wanted to visit a Woodcraft physical store, it would effectively be a whole day outing. I don't actually buy a lot from them, but I do try to stop by that store if I happen to be up in the "Leaky Valley" (Lehigh Valley) for other reasons and browse, usually leaving with a few odds and ends. There are no brick and mortar woodworking specialty stores in this area anymore. I can certainly get electric powered hand tools in the local community including Festool, but larger gear is pretty much limited to lower-end stationary tools from the 'borg. (Not that I'm in the market) All of my original stationary tools (largely Jet) were purchased from local stores that existed back then, primarily a mom&pop (actually "friend and friend") woodworking store but also a Woodcraft franchise that was back then just around the corner from where I lived. There were also 2-3 other places like the dearly departed "Woodworker's Warehouse", etc.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of local and near-local sources for hardwood material...and that counts a lot more for me at this stage. I'd never buy lumber from a retail tool store anyway.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
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    Dec 2006
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    Toronto Ontario
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    I think Jim hit both relevant points.

    The changing business world facilitated by the internet and SMC members. (Look in the mirror to see if you have hair, or any colour except grey)

    Regards, Rod

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Sheridan View Post
    I think Jim hit both relevant points.

    The changing business world facilitated by the internet and SMC members. (Look in the mirror to see if you have hair, or any colour except grey)

    Regards, Rod
    I think it likely that those of us whose hair isn't gray or missing are likely to be more comfortable and confident buying online. Any business relying heavily on selling machinery and other long lived goods is in for a tough go I think, it's not an expanding market.

  14. #14
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    Dec 2013
    Location
    Central New Jersey
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    124
    I have 3 woodcraft stores, each of them is about 80 miles from me in 3 different directions (2 in PA, 1 in DE). I pass the one in DE occasionally and stop in and typically buy something. If I happen to live closer, say 30 miles or less, i'd most likely buy a lot more from them, instead of going to online route. It's a 1/2 day of time (travel / shoppng) to go to any of the 3 woodcraft stores or 20 minutes to browse their web site and ship it for less than the cost of 160 miles of gas and tolls.

    I am really excited - there is a rockler store a few miles from the hotel I am going to be at this weekend and i've already carved out time to stop in.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Harms View Post
    I think it likely that those of us whose hair isn't gray or missing are likely to be more comfortable and confident buying online. Any business relying heavily on selling machinery and other long lived goods is in for a tough go I think, it's not an expanding market.
    Agree completely Curt, online shopping is very convenient and can be cheaper (not always, but often).

    As you say it's not an expanding market, my daughter is interested in wood working however will likely never live where she could have a shop as she'll probably live in a condo...........Rod.

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