Suppliers

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by honeybear, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. honeybear

    honeybear New Member

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    Okay everyone. I want to know who you get your gear from. I'm well aware of Brushy Mountain, Walter Kelley, and Mann Lake but I want to know some new suppliers. I'm sure that there are tons of people out there, so I'm asking
    you to make some suggestions.......
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Woodenware, look under the trading post forum for Reel's and Orr's. They are both in western NC and all items are preassembled.

    I like Walter T. Kelley's wax best.
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    For the past three years i've used Drapers, (good people to deal with) They send a truck to our state bee meetings and you can pick up your orders there (or a club member can for you) and you don't have to pay postage. I recieve my oders first and the bill later, not many do that anymore. Like Iddee i like kelly's wax better, but with free shipping i can live with it. A club member told me that due to health problems they may close up within the next 5 years. ( i hope not) I make most of my hives and supers,but i have ordered between $500.00 and $1,200.00 dollars per year for the last three years. I do order supplies from some of the bigger co. Jack
     
  4. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    I've only ordered from Brushy, but since they only offer shipping deals east of the Mississippi, I started looking around. Too many other places willing to accept my money.

    Ordered some odds and ends from Rossman as a test. Everything went smoothly, no complaints, but items came in a Mann-Lake box.

    Have been very satisfied with Sailor Plastics for honey and syrup bottles.

    Just placed an order for 1.5 oz. hex jars with Specialty Bottle. Prices were slightly higher than some, but shipping cost was better. Have recently been given to checking shipping costs at various quantities to try and bring down the shipping cost/piece.

    Will try the Paris, Texas Dadant facility again to see how the shipping is (last time they were more expensive than Brushy). From a location standpoint, they wouild be the most convenient.

    Walt
     
  5. camero7

    camero7 Member

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  6. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I always bought wax foundation from Kelleys, frames from Mannlake. I think they have the best of those two items. I also have seen great woodenware from Brushey.

    Nowadays, I buy from whoever attends the state meetings, or offers free shipping. I'm still going to order my queen rearing supplies from Kelley, but with shipping prices the way they are, everything else comes down to local suppliers or those attending annual meetings.
     
  7. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    They also custom build frames to your specifications in case anybody is going away from the norm. hive dimensions... say like, 7 & 1/2" mediums instead of 6 & 5/8" in order to be more efficent in building with finished dimensional lumber.

    I'll also add Dadant to this thread. They don't always have the fastest shipping, but the price is good, and until the end of the year they've got free shipping from a couple of their sites (you have to call them).
     
  8. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    One of my favorite "compliant" stories, was a few years back, I had spent well over 10,000 dollars with one of the big suppliers. I'm sure compared to the "big boys", this 10,000 was nothing. Although I wonder how many big boys actually call up and order as opposed to finding better deals other than with the main suppliers.

    Anyways, at the end of the year, they sent me a ball cap as a thank you. It was a ball cap with their information on it.

    Do I wear ball caps? No!

    So I call the supplier and asked them if they knew anything about me, other than being a beekeeper. They said no. So I suggested that if I was a beekeeper, and they were a bee supply company, why was not a beekeeper item given instead? They could of assumed I used a hive tool. They could of assumed I used a smoker. But a ball cap?

    I also asked them how much I was going to be paid to advertise their company. They said "nothing". I said, let me get this straight.....I spend 10,000 with your company, and in appreciation, you expect me to be happy with a ball cap so I can walk around and advertise YOUR company? Unreal!


    I don't buy that much from them anymore. :roll:
     
  9. naurot

    naurot New Member

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  10. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    naurot,

    So his marketing plan is to offer those in the immediate area, and from the club he belongs, a huge savings. While the beekeeper who would need to drive an hour or more out of their way, has to pay a premuim higher than the club members.

    Sounds like someone needs to go back to marketing and selling 101.

    First, those beekeepers around him in his own club should be slam dunk as he should have relationships with them, a reputation, and an inside track for those wanting to support local business. But his first selling program, is too undercut everyone else and exhuast his local customers, with a low price.

    To be successful, he will need to expand beyond the local club. And lower price, is the trigger where people will drive out of their way to patronize his company. But he advertises that those "other" beekeeper not within his local area, will pay more for making that drive.

    Sounds like just another soon to be out of business woodenware manufacturer. They come and go. The fact that three private wooden manufacturers all opened within 50 miles of my house, as well as a new Brushy Mountain outlet about an hours drive, shows the competition. Unfortunately, I will guarantee that they will not all be in business 3 years from now. And the one's that have no marketing expertise, or a solid business model to capture business outside their own little circle, will be the first to go.

    As a side note....Beeline apiaries (Bedford Pa.) has an everyday price for a single deep (finger joints) at 9.68 for anyone willing to drive to his place and regardless of "club" affiliation. And if you order more than one, the price drops from there. The only person the guy you mention would be cheaper than, would be Snyders Apiaries out of White Hall maryland. (at the non-club price) So other than your club, it's no big deal for anyone else, who may be willing to drive an hour or two for a deal. Those deals are everywhere. :roll:
     
  11. Michael Palmer

    Michael Palmer New Member

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    I bet you're talking about Mann Lake. Yep, they send me caps and once a little digital clock...broke in 2 months. I don't buy much from them anymore. Their equipment is cheap knockoffs. The excluders aren't made correctly...the ends of the wires are free floating in the wooden rim. Their smokers fall apart, and don't work well anyway.

    I always give Jack a hard time when I see him at the meetings. He puts on a "I'm so concerned" show. Pretends to care. Calls the shop. Discusses the problem...hell, he could be talking to the answering machine for all I know. Nothing gets fixed. The cells I lost due to their defective excluders are still lost...I'll never make the mistake of using their excluders again.
     
  12. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I never take a bet I can not win.... ;)
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I think perhaps Michael Palmer has added a useful tangent to the question that could be a lot more useful to the average new beekeeper? That is... what suppliers products do you find to be either defective or poorly made. Perhaps add to this poor service.

    the stuff I buy is primarily from Kelley.. mostly frames and wax foundation.
     
  14. naurot

    naurot New Member

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  15. Joe

    Joe New Member

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  16. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Lets start with the easiest. The three suppliers are Forest Hill Woodworking In Paradise, Lancaster county. 717-806-0193 Irvin Martin from Carlisle Pa. 717-776-0244 You can call both of them for price lists. The third is a fellow from Shippensburg Pa. to which I think the information is at the farm so I will post later. We also had a Dadant full equipment warehouse/store opened recently in Lewisburg Pa. to which the number can be obtained from the Dadant website. Even though they say on the website they are not open for customers till February, they are now open. I was there last week. There is another guy who will custom make boxes out of Liverpool but I think he is Amish and has no phone. I'll see if I can get his information also.


    As for price, the guy you mentioned was giving a discount for a limited time, and only for a certain people. It also does not speak of the quality of selection. So I focused and based my comments on his everyday price for a deep box (That you quoted as 10 dollars) in comparing to others. I'll use Beeline as example...They have a select/commercial/budget/mill run in grading. The price is a high from 11.48 for a single box of select to a low of 6.24 for budget at 100 boxes. But lets keep this simple. Lets do the Commercial 1 box price. I personally have found his commercial quality about the same as most other places that just really do no selection at all giving you a little of everything in the mix. So one box commercial quality is listed at 9.18 Need 100...the price drops to 8.26 So as I pointed out, except for your club members, for anyone else the price isn't that great is it? We don't know. But you said he has inexpensive prices, which is marketing without really giving a price to compare too.

    Now I hope you read this far, and did not jump at a quick rebuttal....because I think my initial read was that you were quoting a normal price of $10 for the box, but what you were really doing was mentioning the dues for becoming a member of your club. So that was my mistake.

    So lets split a hair here. I quoted some prices from Beeline, and if you find the everyday price, (not some one time special that anyone reading this and not being a club member does not get) than how about posting it.

    Now, if you want to compare "specials" that your guy is offering to the club, that would be the same as Beeline offering dealer discounts, year end specials, etc. I always get at least 10% discount as this is what he gives for attending the fall conference. But before you suggest that what I just said may be the same as your guy offering a "club" discount....he normally gives this same discount at the end of the year to all others. But with the fall conference, you get a discount, and save on shipping as he brings it to the conference for your pickup. I also normally get a 25% discount (dealer break) as a repeat customer on nuc boxes (I order by the hundreds) since he realizes I'm not using them where no one can see them. They go out with my nuc sales and when anyone asks where I get them, I mention it. However, I am not a dealer, and do not normally get into this type discussion and push one guy over another.

    I'd be more than interested if the guy you mention has quality frames starting at the everyday price of 60 cents (and better with discounts) for lots of 1 thousand and up, or quality nuc boxes with bottom and lids at around 11.00 dollars. That is what I buy every year. I'll wait to see when his site is up.
    _________________________________________

    As for any comparing of woodenware versus queens, when it come to discounts etc., I'll first say that it's comparing apples and oranges. But lets look at the details.

    I give classes on queen rearing. I talk to clubs and associations about group queen rearing efforts. I started the northern states queen breeders association, and pass on customers all the time. I also have many times on bee forums suggested that beekeepers should by local when they can, and I actually promote buying and supporting queens from those making the efforts in such matters.

    Show me a woodenware manufacturer doing that same effort in those same aspects. Hmmm. A little different perhaps.

    Now what woodenware guys need to do, is expand their business without letting shipping hurt them, and where it would be beneficial for beekeepers to drive thus saving huge amounts of money. Why would Dadant open a new outlet? Simple.....you either offer great prices to draw in beekeepers from afar and then charge for shipping, or you allow them to drive within reason to one of your locations.

    What I do for queens is this......I sell to anyone at the same price, and offend nobody by offering a discount to this person and not that person. And since most of my queens are sold in small lots, the price is all the same. For those out of my area, I will mail the same 1 or 20 queens, anywhere in the states, and listen to this.....all for the same price! Bet you can't find a woodenware dealer making those claims in regards to a pallet or box of woodenware. Show me one woodenware dealer that openly states, as I do as a queen breeder, and back this up every day with customers on the phone, where they should patronize a woodenware dealer closer to where they live, as I suggest all the time to potential customers.

    Part of any good business is realizing the dynamics of the business at hand. Queen producers, especially on the scale I am, are very different than woodenware dealers that have different customer bases, different pricing/shipping pressures, etc.

    If I was a woodenware dealer, and could offer a discount to a guy 5 miles from me that happened to belong to a club, but yet could not....oh wait, make that "will not make" the same deal of a beekeeper willing to drive two hours to patronize my business......is a step in the road to failure. (You did mention initially that you had to be a club member for the discount price) If "everyone" gets this same discount, then he should let it be known and not market with half-truths directed at the club, making it seem he is doing something "special" for them, but really is not. That is not good marketing.

    For the record, I gave you the same deal on queens as the guy in my club. He did not get one for a lesser cost for the fact of what club he belonged, and you did not get a discount for the distance you drove. Seems fair, at least for queens. A far different approach than what your woodenware guy is offering.

    If I was woodenware dealer, I would do something different than my policy on queens. But it certainly would not be the policy of the guy you mentioned. :thumbsup:
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Bjorn:
    not to demean or devalue your input (above) and I don't think your business strategy is really that flawed but....

    an appropriate business strategy will vary depending upon any number of variables that would include...
    1) the relationship between a firms fixed and variable cost.
    2) proximity to the market.
    3) the 'life cycle' phase that a business is operating within.

    in the end when it comes to wood wares I don't know how anyone could compare one source to another without considerable head scratching. how boxes are made (end joints) plus material (ie wood) differences plus fit concerns would seem to make any comparison an orange to apple affair.

    just my two cents...
     
  18. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Absolutely I agree. I just went with what I had to work with.

    It's like comparing my 20 dollar queen to a inexpensive 15 dollar queen from elsewhere. The difference could be any number of things. (supply and demand forces, better management allowing one to cut costs, less overhead due to better supply lines via research, one wife spending more than the other, etc.) Price can reflect all kinds of operational influences, even greed. But until the products are matched side by side, it would be hard to call one expensive, or the other inexpensive.

    Although I will state that many times, cheap prices reflect a business not willing to market themselves in ways allowing maximum returns on investment. (and lets keep this with one truth in mind for most operations....people are in business to make money, pay bills, and maximize returns on labor and costs) Many, make "price" their sole marketing strategy, and they sell solely on this basis alone many times. Making you wonder if it all comes down to being the cheapest, what are you really getting? I've seen many new operations open up and go under, and they had the cheapest prices around. Walmart may of made it that way, but mom and pop operations go under all the time, because their profits were so slim, they folded after the first string of three days of bad sales.

    My item of interest in the mentioned woodenware producer, is why does he only give discounts to selected folks? And if he is offering these discounts to all who ask, is he being truthful to the club to which he said was getting a "deal" for who they are? I could care less about one producer over the other. I love to seek the reasoning behind the mirror, and learn from others, and see their reasoning.
     
  19. htkbeesupply

    htkbeesupply New Member

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    Hello,
    I am Chris Krantz, owner of H.Thomas Krantz Beekeeping Supply in Frederick, MD. Just wanted to respond to that page long response to my lack of marketing.

    I had a 2 month sale Jan/Feb giving 20% off of our normal prices to club members and short course students. The month of Jan/Feb was when the club was having its Short Course and I planned on that sale to help people get into beekeeping without blowing their budgets. People are excited to get into beekeeping, but the high prices can deter them. I offer 10% off to club members on a regular basis as a "perk" to its members. There are lots of "perks" companies give out to their local community, which you can call bad marketing, but I call it a way of paying back the local community. I was told a stat that Maryland has almost 600 or 900 beekeepers.. I can't remember which one it is, but I'm okay with focusing on local and mail order sales for the time being.

    I have my prices set to be affordable even without the club discounts. I have customers who are within 15 - 20 minutes from the other supplier in the Baltimore/Southern Maryland that still drive an hour each way to pickup equipment from me. In doing that I have gone from a 0 customer base to now over 250 local customers who purchased from me this year so far in the Maryland/DC area. Not bad since the official opening day of our business was Jan 1, 2010. The my customer database shows about 160 customers as of the end of March and a little over 250 right now. I don't just supply my customers, I help them. I use over 1,400 minutes on my cell phone every month talking with customers answering questions. I just shipped my 134th online order (order number 134) off of my website. I have shipped woodenware to almost every state in the USA (still haven't been able to get someone in Alaska, Hawaii or New Mexico.) I hired a seamstress to make our own line of beekeeping jackets and veils.. I'm Maryland's ONLY authorized dealer of honey bee healthy. I'm working with a local organization who place special needs people with job opportunities; hoping that I can get them trained to assemble frames. If all goes well in a few months I will be providing special needs individuals with part time employment. I'm coming out with a "Lil Stingers" line of clothing for children this summer.

    Compared my prices to Beeline? I have 100% matched Beeline's prices and to this day I still deal their products along with the items I manufacturer. So that being said you cannot go to beeline and get a price lower than mine..

    I'm happy with where my business is going because I'm local "mom and pop" establishment and I have a bunch of really happy customers. I feel sad that you guarantee that I will be out of business in 3 years. I'd never say that about anyone's business, especially someone I don't know or have talked to and I NEVER will.

    Chris Krantz
    http://www.htkbeesupply.com
     
  20. jhough

    jhough New Member

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    I'm a big fan of simple and effective. Not typically a fan of posting to these types of sites, but anyway.

    I have bought supplies from most of the big name suppliers and a few of the local (Mid-Atlantic) suppliers. I just bought some woodenware from HTK.

    Wood quality - above to way above average - which is probably my biggest complaint of others
    Craftsmanship - very good to excellent.
    Price was very good.
    Customer service was very good. Fast, friendly, efficient.

    Good quality, price, and customer service seem to be working as his 'business model', as if any of us are qualified to talk about that anyway. I found out about him throug 4-6 of his new cusotmers who were very happy with their experiences as well.

    They did not live in Frederick.

    It was simple and effetive to deal with HTK.