Catalogs from small firms

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From: rohre (rohre@arlut.utexas.edu)
Date: Thu Apr 20 1995 - 19:24:38 EDT


Usually, a small firm has a tremendous outlay to publish a catalog. Without an
established customer base, they do not even know how many to print. If they
handle import items like a lot of components are now, the source may dry up or
become prohibitive to import after they start up. (Look at the Yen vs. Dollar
now).

Let's face it, constructors are a minority of the ham population at least in
North America today. WE are all trying to change that, but facts are---Parts
are less common in many individual countries today. One should inquire if the
firm has a SASE or $1 or $2 catalog policy before calling or writing. On their
part, firms should clearly state this if they have magazine ads.

What happened to Townsend Electronics is a good example of how we hams are.
Jim Townsend printed an extensive catalog of Howes and other kits with photos.
He combined individual kits into complete boxes to ship all you need in one, and
he sent out catalogs for a nominal $1. I was like the majority, I got his
catalog over a year ago, and admired the items, but set it aside and never got
around to ordering until he had reached the point he could not stay in the ham
trade. (It was not his principal job, like a lot of ham start ups.) The supply
line is very long these days for components and imports. It is not an easy
business to start. Finally, after much continued interest on the list about
Howes kits, I found out his FAX was still open, (because of the other business),
contacted him, got a prompt nice letter reply that he still had several digital
display unit kits, and a few rigs, and I called him up on his other business
phone and ordered what I had procrastinated on so long. I got it promptly, and
I am delighted with the Howes design, case quality, etc. and look forward to
starting this kit. Thus, service is a two way street. You can request and get
free catalogs from the big distributors. They have the other volume to sustain
their advertising; but it is not unreasonable for small vendors to ask for $1 or
SASE to encourage serious shopping instead of tire kicking, and to cover the
start up costs of doing business with a select few of the ham population. Most
of us expect to recover the costs of copies and postage when we share old
manuals. I think we may help prolong the sources of kits and parts by offering
to cover costs of mailing information, and on their part, they should make clear
their policy at time of first ad or contact.


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