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Cupolos: bankrupt - Page 2

post #31 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
It depends on volume. That is not to say the every mag12 that was sold went that cheap, I'm sure they did not. prices that low must be for immediate cash than profit.

Yes, they used to sell below your wholesale because of the volumes they bought and sold. Other shops in Ont were buying from the same distributor for MORE than Cupolo's was selling, because they only bought a a dozen pairs of skis/year, while Cupolo bought hundreds->thousands of pairs, depending on model.

Say what you want about covering their costs, they need to sell a LOT of skis to make it work. Heck if you buy my pair of atomics for $1.2 M, I only need to sell one pair..... Clearly, there is a price point at which your market will just stop buying. Afterall, if they charge the same as my local shops, why would I drive to Niagara Falls for the same thing? There must be a compelling reason to make the drive -- and that's simply price.
The probably didn't get much of a break on wholesale as a preseason buyer, no matter how many they bought. Maybe they could have gotten another 5-7% off W/S, but 40% off? The distributor would make no money. They were either trying to liquidate old stock at that price, or they picked up a bunch of closeout skis (there are big breaks on closeouts for volume, witness last year'sAtomics on Ebay under large volume sellers), or they purchased directly from Europe. Any distributor selling skis at 30-40% cheaper to one big retailer would soon lose all of his smaller dealers, and soon the brand would lose presence on the hill and lose market share. Dynastar pulled out of the large sporting goods store market here in the PNW because the large sporting good stores were blowing out product, and they lost representation in the specialty ski shop as a result.
post #32 of 59
It wasn't old stock. Though I may be wrong about the supply channel.
post #33 of 59
I bought a pair of race stock Elan SLXs from him for $300 when the local sales outlets were telling me they were unavailable and wouldn't otherwise give me the time of day, so to speak. I probably would've paid him a lot more if he had asked for more. I bought a pair of Atomic GS11s from him for $150 (new but 2yrs old). Compared to trying to deal with the local shops who want a fortune for a pair of skis, try to sell incompetent service, provide uninformed or just plain BS advice to consumers I thought his service was great. He just sold me what I wanted at a low price, they arrived within a few days, no problem. I'm sorry his business model did not work out. I personally see a future for somethinhg like this. Why should I pay $800 or more for a pair of skis that cost a small fraction of that to make? I know the argument has been that the small local ski shops deliver expertise and service but in my experience, save for a handful of specialized shops like Racestock Sports, the expertise is lacking and the service comes from short term seasonal hires who may or may not know what they are doing. The Atomics were a revelation since I was easily able to install the proprietary bindings on the race plates that came with the bindings. Why do I need the ski shop?
post #34 of 59
Oisin, you are exactly correct. Walk into any random ski shop and watch the sales/service staff deal with other customers before dealing with you. I'll bet that if you walk into 20 shops, the BS will far outweigh the truth.
post #35 of 59
A few thoughts:

- I don't know the details (though some combination of the possibilities mentioned by dawgcatching sound plausible), but I was under the impression that Cupolo's was getting the skis from somewhere other than the usual channels. Wasn't there discussion here, back and forth, about the usual distributors being upset with Cupolo's?

- The whole topic of how ski equipment is sold is sort of interesting. Unlike a lot of goods, it's mostly still on the old model of brick-and-mortar retailers -- and mostly smaller, specialty retailers. So far as I can tell, a large part of the customers are only comfortable buying skis from a ski shop, whether it's because of the sales advice, mounting/servicing expertise, convenience or whatever. That being the case, a distributor has a pretty heavy incentive not to irritate the ski shops ... which is exactly what happens when someone walks in to the store and says, "I saw these online for half that price." If that happens enough, the next thing that happens is that brand isn't carried by the store anymore.

- Whether it's a good thing for old-fashioned ski shops to survive is another question. It would certainly become a lot more difficult for them to do so if there were lots of online retailing of skis. The cost structure is just too radically different (rent, utilities, salespeople, etc., all to sell not that many skis). I kind of lean toward the existence of ski shops being a good thing. Apparently, from other comments, there are some bad ski shops. But it seems to me there are good ones, too.

- Somewhat ironic, I think: for the people who really are in favor of lots of online ski-equipment distirbution, Cupolo was your enemy. He did a lot more to hurt online distribution than to help it. It's easy to tell from reading posts here that his service was terrible. The fact that there are quite a few people who can say, "I got a good deal, and had no problems," is beside the point. If you're a decent businessman everyone is supposed to say that (oh, okay, 99% of the customers). Cupolo may well have been giving a good experience in, say, 80% of the purchases. But that's just pathetically bad. Aside from making mistakes, he dealt with them badly.

There's nothing inherently even difficult about online sales. Lots of us regularly buy various ancillary products from online retailers, like racewax.com, Artech, Tognar, Reliable Racing Supply, etc. If anyone's having unusual problems with them, it's escaped my attention.
post #36 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
If you're a decent businessman everyone is supposed to say that (oh, okay, 99% of the customers). Cupolo may well have been giving a good experience in, say, 80% of the purchases. But that's just pathetically bad. Aside from making mistakes, he dealt with them badly
Dude, you're just making that number up.
post #37 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Dude, you're just making that number up.
True: that's why I wrote "... in, say, 80% of the purchases ...." I don't know what the actual percentage was, just that there were a lot of terrible tales told right here on this board and in eBay feedback. Enough, actually, that he got booted from eBay, didn't he? Hmm, as this thread continues, various details of the saga are starting to come back to me ....
post #38 of 59
Are you sure ebay booted him or did his distributor require it. If so, did he comply?

BTW: say is plain speculation hidden as say, fact.

OOOPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
I don't know the details but.....

<speculation omitted>
my bad

Sorry SJ, the poor guy is bankrupt, and some are dancing on his grave, and others guessing about what killed the business.

Is it really so hard to believe that the mild winter broke the bank?
post #39 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Are you sure ebay booted him or did his distributor require it. If so, did he comply?

BTW: say is plain speculation hidden as say, fact.

OOOPS



my bad

Sorry SJ, the poor guy is bankrupt, and some are dancing on his grave, and others guessing about what killed the business.

Is it really so hard to believe that the mild winter broke the bank?
yeah it is!

As you know we had more then a mlld winter here 2 seasons ago, some areas never opened all season and were not open over christmas Holiday

All the reputable shops here are still in business 2 years later, hmmmm?

One bargain basement, no service, moron infested shop went out! (They also sold all other sporting gear, baseball, basketball gear & bikes & atheletic shoes)
post #40 of 59
Nah, 2 yrs ago Southern Ontario was just fine.

When did Holiday Valley or Kissing bridge open this year? Blue mountain Ont. laid of 1300 staff at Christmas because they were CLOSED during the Christmas holidays. That must have been wonderful for those Intrawest people.

All the Toronto Shops were suffering. No one even thinks of skiing when there is no snow on the ground, and it's 10 degrees C at the hill.
post #41 of 59
Whether or not Cupolos was a business that deserved to survive an/or thrive, there is something to be said for that type of high volume, highly discounted approach to online sales. If I was with a company looking to get back into the North American market but daunted by the need to build a sales and distribution network I might be tempted to deal directly with outlets like Cupolos. The advent of proprietary bindings, adjustible bindings and skis with pre-drilled mounting plates etc. virtually eliminates the need for the ski shop. The markup between the factory and the retailer is huge, percentage-wise and, as I've mentioned, the retailer usually doesn't provide any significant added value to the consumer, at least in my experience. There are a very limited number of shops that really do provide high quality ski-tuning and excellent boot-fitting however but most of these provide these services to people who've purchased the equipment elsewhere anyway.
post #42 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Nah, 2 yrs ago Southern Ontario was just fine.
By "here," I think Atomicman meant in the vicinity of Bellevue, WA. The point being that that market suffered as bad (if not worse) conditions in 2004-05 as anyone is suffering this season, yet shops survived.

That's not to say that Cupolo wasn't affected by this season's conditions. Maybe his business was just a little more "fragile" than some others. Which, actually, seems a little contrary to what I'd expect, if he was doing a large percentage of non-location-based online selling, relative to other ski retailers. But the rest of his business may have affected his condition more.

Quote:
something to be said for that type of high volume, highly discounted approach to online sales
I actually agree that there's something to be said for it, for a lot of the reasons you say (system bindings, etc.). At the end of the day, I kind of lean in favor of survival of the current specialty retail-shop-based market, but I don't know that that's obviously the best (or most likely) way for things to go in the future. The example of other businesses suggests widespread online discount sale will happen in time. But Cupolo, ironically, probably did as much as any individual brick-and-mortar retailer to hold back the growth of online ski-equipment sales.
post #43 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
I actually agree that there's something to be said for it, for a lot of the reasons you say (system bindings, etc.). At the end of the day, I kind of lean in favor of survival of the current specialty retail-shop-based market, but I don't know that that's obviously the best (or most likely) way for things to go in the future. The example of other businesses suggests widespread online discount sale will happen in time. But Cupolo, ironically, probably did as much as any individual brick-and-mortar retailer to hold back the growth of online ski-equipment sales.

I have fond memories of the old time local ski shops and I suppose I should want to support local small business. It's just become so offensive to go into these places and be treated badly by morons who don't know much about what they're selling. I hate to even trust my skis to these people anymore for a tuneup/basegrind. Oddly enough the difference between dealing with such shops and online or over-the-phone retailers is that the latter two will generally have what you want and will give you reasonably good, clear information about what you are buying while the shops will just give you a hard time.
post #44 of 59
One big reason we still need retail outlets is demos! You just can't demo a ski on line.
On the Other hand the small mom and pop shops need to do a lot more to improve their situation. I think our own Sierra Jim and Dawg have done alright with their limited net sales. Al's ski barn is another example of a Brick and Mortar retailer who has made a success of on line sales. I believe this is the future of ski shops.
By the way BigE, Capolo was definitely booted from eBay. Their satisfaction rating on eBay took a nose dive. I can't recall how low it want but it was well below 80% satisfied before eBay pulled the plug.
post #45 of 59
They got booted from ebay due to approval rating. One thing I believe got them in trouble was taking orders and money for product they did not yet have. I understand they were taking orders on bulk shipments of clearout product from europe (through canadian channels I believe) but upon arrival they often would not always have all the specific items they had 'presold', not to mention predictable late delivery. The subsitutions and poor customer complaint resolutions came into play at this point as well as well as misrepresenting their location and cross border warranty issues. (eBay listed them as based in Niagra falls NY where they may have had little more than a post office box.)

They were selling extensively into geographical locales expressly against their dealer contracts annoying their supply channels and really annoying other distributors. They had at least one brand pull their product as a result. Oddly Epic ski mods went to some lengths to defend them despite this and despite more recently going after freelance ski instructors they feel 'might' be breaking exclusive ski hill contracts.

I am quite sure they ran afoul of customs and revenue for unpaid duties which may have brought about one of the 'seasonal bankruptcies'. Another dealer may have put that crew on them as well they should as the unfair advantage puts them in a 'drop the pants to compete and risk bankruptcy' scenario.

A poor snow year may have been the 'straw that broke the back', but the back of that camel had been overloaded with many bales of hay for a long time before one bad season came around to put another straw on. Besides they were also big on hockey and I'm not thinking the bad season has had much impact on indoor hockey rinks. I agree they cut the hole in the coffin so they could bang their own nails in and yes I'll dance on it.

I also think Epicski should apologize for the shameful way they shut down talk of this poor service when it began just to protect a paying advertiser. No one begrudges the advertising but it should never have bought censorship of bad service and poor business practises and that's what it did in that case. A sorry tale all around really.
post #46 of 59
Where am I going to buy new skis and bindings at 75 to 80 percent off MSRP now:?
post #47 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by L7 View Post
The subsitutions and poor customer complaint resolutions came into play at this point as well as well as misrepresenting their location and cross border warranty issues. (eBay listed them as based in Niagra falls NY where they may have had little more than a post office box.)
The did have a shop at a hill in upper NY state.

FWIW, They were a huge locally, certainly the best known shop in the Niagara region -- which is huge. I think if he avoided going into internet sales, they'd still be around. Afterall, they were around for 86 years, and you have to do somthing right to stay afloat that long.
post #48 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
The did have a shop at a hill in upper NY state.

FWIW, They were a huge locally, certainly the best known shop in the Niagara region -- which is huge. I think if he avoided going into internet sales, they'd still be around. Afterall, they were around for 86 years, and you have to do somthing right to stay afloat that long.
I tend to agree. The selling of items before delivery in particular did much damage to their rep. The selling into other territories got them in trouble with suppliers and selling cross border is where they would have come undone with revcan. Unfortunately whatever presence they had in NY still left people who wanted to return items returning them to Canada unexpectedly and then there were duty issues but I don't recall how that all worked other than poorly. Classic case of biting off more than you could chew I would think.
post #49 of 59
Upper NY state was a huge walk in market. I remember about 3 years ago having to wait in the parking lot for a space because it was filled with cars with NY plates.

Seasonal rentals were huge too. In canada and across the border.

Like everyone, they would advertise some cheap items in the local papers, attract clients, and then offer something else when stock in the advertised item ran out. The other item was also sold at a ridiculously low price. This works great if you are standing in the store -- you are getting serviced. But on the net, that fails -- you are getting the run around.

I don't know how many times I was in that shop, ready to spend a pile of cash only to be turned away! More than once, I had selected a pair of skis and was told, while waiting to pay for them, those aren't for you by their staff, and then told where else to go to get what I really need, or told by Jay himself "don't buy that today come back in two weeks when the sale starts".

That may not be best for their bottom line, but it makes for a loyal customer, doesn't it? And isn't that the best advertising you can get?
post #50 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by L7 View Post
They got booted from ebay due to approval rating. One thing I believe got them in trouble was taking orders and money for product they did not yet have. I understand they were taking orders on bulk shipments of clearout product from europe (through canadian channels I believe) but upon arrival they often would not always have all the specific items they had 'presold', not to mention predictable late delivery. The subsitutions and poor customer complaint resolutions came into play at this point as well as well as misrepresenting their location and cross border warranty issues. (eBay listed them as based in Niagra falls NY where they may have had little more than a post office box.)

They were selling extensively into geographical locales expressly against their dealer contracts annoying their supply channels and really annoying other distributors. They had at least one brand pull their product as a result. Oddly Epic ski mods went to some lengths to defend them despite this and despite more recently going after freelance ski instructors they feel 'might' be breaking exclusive ski hill contracts.

I am quite sure they ran afoul of customs and revenue for unpaid duties which may have brought about one of the 'seasonal bankruptcies'. Another dealer may have put that crew on them as well they should as the unfair advantage puts them in a 'drop the pants to compete and risk bankruptcy' scenario.

A poor snow year may have been the 'straw that broke the back', but the back of that camel had been overloaded with many bales of hay for a long time before one bad season came around to put another straw on. Besides they were also big on hockey and I'm not thinking the bad season has had much impact on indoor hockey rinks. I agree they cut the hole in the coffin so they could bang their own nails in and yes I'll dance on it.

I also think Epicski should apologize for the shameful way they shut down talk of this poor service when it began just to protect a paying advertiser. No one begrudges the advertising but it should never have bought censorship of bad service and poor business practices and that's what it did in that case. A sorry tale all around really.
Before we session on the moderators, let me just say, none of the current moderation team were not moderators when that thread occurred, and AFAIK only one thread was closed.
The Cupolo's Saga Continues thread was not interfered with,
The Cupolos Blows was closed by A.C. for reasons he stated in the thread, and Cupolo actually participated there.
Cupolos Ranks w/ the Best Ski Sellers Anywherestarted with complements and ended with venom but was not interfered with.
The Cupolos is no long an Ebay Seller thread was not interfered with. The Cupolos sent Exclusive 10s instead thread was not interfered with.
The amazing Ban Cupolo thread was not interfered with.
The Is Cupola In Trouble thread remained open without comment after 131 posts.
Another Cupolo's Nightmare
Deals at Cupolos
Dont Shop With Cuplo Bad Expereices
Bad Experience with Cupolos Ebay
Lets Bitch at AC for shutting down our thread blah blah blah.

There are others, but why bother. You will just see and remember what you want to. The point being that the ENTIRE current moderation team was not even involved, and I can only find one closed thread. Get over it.
post #51 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
The point being that the ENTIRE current moderation team was not even involved, and I can only find one closed thread. Get over it.

Not to mention that my last Cupolos bargain I gave away cheap to my brother in law. He is in Cirqueriders neighborhood. Nice skis I should have kept. I blame Cirquerider.
post #52 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

The point being that the ENTIRE current moderation team was not even involved, and I can only find one closed thread. Get over it.
I got over..... I just stopped coming here as have many others. Many continue to bail due to actions of current moderators and memories of the old. I guess I'll see you at TGR. I'm sure you'll get over it too, not that I care.
post #53 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Driven out of business would be more accurate.
As a former Cupolo Sports manager and buyer, your statement couldn't be further from the truth. And I have not worked for them for over two years now, and am not on the best terms with the Cupolo's, but nobody drove them out of business.....
post #54 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic_918 View Post
All true. This isn't the first time Cupolos has been in financial trouble. I wouldn't be surprised if they rise again in some other convoluted form.

Doug
Doug,

From an insider here in the Region, it ain't gonna happen this time. The doors are closed for good.
post #55 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
It depends on volume. That is not to say the every mag12 that was sold went that cheap, I'm sure they did not. prices that low must be for immediate cash than profit.

Yes, they used to sell below your wholesale because of the volumes they bought and sold. Other shops in Ont were buying from the same distributor for MORE than Cupolo's was selling, because they only bought a a dozen pairs of skis/year, while Cupolo bought hundreds->thousands of pairs, depending on model.

Say what you want about covering their costs, they need to sell a LOT of skis to make it work. Heck if you buy my pair of atomics for $1.2 M, I only need to sell one pair..... Clearly, there is a price point at which your market will just stop buying. Afterall, if they charge the same as my local shops, why would I drive to Niagara Falls for the same thing? There must be a compelling reason to make the drive -- and that's simply price.
LOL! I love this thread. Cupolo's used to get fairly decent discounts (I was one of the buyers) but never enough to be able to sell below someone else's wholesale with out making a maximum profit margin of 1-4%. Discounts really aren't that great in the ski and snowboard industry (excluding closeouts) the difference between buying 10,000 and 100,000 for most companies is a extra 2-5% discount.....
post #56 of 59
Actually to put it into perspective. I am buying for a small shop in St Catharines now, and my budget is about 1/10th of what it was at Cupolo's and my discounts with companies are about the same.
post #57 of 59
BigE,

Hate to say I told ya so!

But I told ya so! :

Something was rotten in Denmark (opps I mean Niagra)
post #58 of 59
Bummer, I bought a pair of the P40 Volkl's on a 50% off sale. They forgot to charge me for shipping, they forgot to charge me for the 1 st pair of skis, charged me 50% for the second pair. 2 pairs of skis, shipped to my door $15. And you know what? They are great high speed cruisers.

It did take 5 weeks for them to ship them to me, and I was given every lie in the book when I contacted them to find out when my order would ship. It got to the point where I was calling and e-mailing daily just to hear the latest lie; I never expected to receive the skis. That being said, I would have bought more stuff from them if they are basically giving it to me for free!
post #59 of 59
If I read between the lines on the Cupolos blog it seems they claim to have fallen victim to global warming. We quote:

"Jay Cupolo said the family has been working with Asset Engineering, which he described as their lender, to get through a difficult winter.

Cupolo said up to 60 per cent of the store’s winter inventory is tied to the weather. A mostly mild winter, he noted, has caused a decline in sales."

Perhaps they should call Al Gore...
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