Volume 46, Issue 3 - April 2007
Window Guy: A dealerís perspective
A Methane To My Madness, Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side?
News flash! We are all re-adjusting to a significant drop in housing starts, which translates to more of less. Less orders, less billings, less cash-flow, less lunch breaks and in some cases, less employees. But less brings one thing for sureómore competition. Where we once enjoyed a nice slice of Marie Calendarís blueberry sour cream pie, we are now lucky if we can scrape up some crumbs from the pie tin. Here in Vegas, every framing company now wants to be in the window business. My guess is they have figured out that I have become a self-made hundredaire in this industry, and they want a piece of it.
What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?
Beside the framers joining the party, I received disturbing news about six months ago that one of my suppliers decided to come to Vegas to sell direct. Keep in mind Iím a strong seven-figure customer with this company. After a nice lunch to soften the blow from this blunt object, I was assured that they would not pursue my existing accounts. They also told me that their research indicated there was more than ample business for both of us. This is like saying, ďAfter some research, there were enough horses for everyone at the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral.Ē Sure there was, but after the bloodbath, how many men were left standing that could even ride a horse? (I just watched the movie Tombstone, can you tell?)
So after four years of doing business, why did they decide to compete with their own distributor? Simple. Their backyard just got smaller, and itís human nature to think itís just better wherever we are not.
Magical, Mythical Tour
This situation made me think back to a book I read years ago, ďThe Myth of the Greener Grass,Ē by J. Allan Petersen. Although it is a Christian book on marriage and fidelity, it has some principles that have stuck with me over the years.
Petersen uses cows and where they live to show how humans act. He asks you to picture yourself in a pasture. As far as you can see, there are waves of pure green grass. But look straight down at your feet. Where you are standing, there is a bare spot, a few weeds, some rocks, an old soda can, some broken glass and a nasty old cigarette butt.
Petersen says you leave your domain and do what ever it takes to get to a greener spot, but once there, you look down at your feet, and see that there is an old cigarette butt, a few bare spots, some boulders and a lot more cow pies. Then when you look back to where you came from, it is a sea of green, and doesnít look so bad after all.
The second scenario is actually watching the cows themselves. If a rancher has two fenced pastures and has all of his cows on one side, no matter how many square miles they have, the cows will stick their head through the wire fence and eat the grass on the opposite side. After transferring the cows to the second pasture, they will once again, stick their heads between the barb wire and eat the grass from the field where they just left hoof prints.
ďSteakĒ Your Claim
I understand my supplierís motivation to maintain current market share, but you donít shoot the horse you rode in on. If the supplierís hometown business is off 50 percent and Vegas is off just as much, this is not the time to give stockholders a false hope that the greener market will bring their sales up to previous levels.
So before I can enjoy a nice piece of blueberry sour cream pie again, I think Iím going to step in a few more cow pies along the way first.
by R. Mark Reasbeck, owner of Coyote Springs Window and Door of Las Vegas. Mr. Reasbeckís opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.
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