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Now I know what Lee Valley is doing with their drops

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  • Now I know what Lee Valley is doing with their drops

    For the Canadians.

    Had to pick up some clamps today and discovered a new display of 'Decorative' hammers. Looks like someone came up with a brilliant idea and turned those drops into a profit center. Just in time for Christmas too.

    Clever lads but I'd much rather be able to buy the drops.
    I'm sure they'll sell well to kids looking for that perfect gift.
    Mike

    My Dad always said, "If you want people to do things for you on the farm, you have to buy a machine they can sit on that does most of the work."

  • #2
    Lee Valley, isn' that that giftware company?

    .

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    • #3
      Re: Giftware company:

      I got my xmas catalog from Lee Valley the other day,, , and yes , the stuff in there appears to be getting quite "giftware-ish", some of it kinda tacky in my opinion compared to the quality stuff they had years back.

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      • #4
        Well they still sell the hardware and special woodworking tools, along with the xmass gift catalog and the garden catalog.
        lee valley website still have a wide selection of hardware. Have bought a lot of their gifts over the years and they are still being used and talked about by the people that got them.
        If you buy from them they send out catalogs about 3 times a year along with the garden equipment, and yearly hardware and the Christmas catalog.
        Glen
        Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
        I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
        All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

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        • #5
          Originally posted by PTSideshow
          Well they still sell the hardware and special woodworking tools, .
          some. the burr under my saddle is they don't sell anywhere near the same quality and selection of woodworking tools that they used to...maybe 1/4 of what they were....used to be comparable to or even better than Garret Wade. Now they sell a few items, mostly their own in house brands to the exclusion of others. And lots and lots of giftware.

          on one hand you could argue its a good business move. Their core competency always was really attractive & engaging catalogues, something they've extended to a category with a much larger target market than high end woodworking hand tools. I would counter that by saying you could list all manner of weird and wonderful high end woodworking tools thus keeping your cache in this space.... and make these slow moving highly unique sku's catalogue order only. This lets you to keep very low inventories at the central fulfillment operation.

          They've become a big business by going to gifts, but its bloody annoying to shop guy.
          .

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sasquatch
            Re: Giftware company:

            I got my xmas catalog from Lee Valley the other day,, , and yes , the stuff in there appears to be getting quite "giftware-ish", some of it kinda tacky in my opinion compared to the quality stuff they had years back.

            Yeah, same here. A lot of stuff in the catalogs now is merchandise that I would have only imagined would be sold by the TV hucksters and the shopping channel.

            However they do have to remain a profitable entity. Sometimes you have to diversify a little in order to keep the ship afloat and healthy. I guess I can sift the wheat from the chaff.
            As long as they keep coming out with nice glossy catalogs with quality tools and hardware, much of which is hard to find elsewhere, I'll keep shopping there.

            If, however they stray too far from their original concept......

            Hey it's the Christmas selling frenzy....everyone wants to make a buck.
            Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
            Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

            Location: British Columbia

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            • #7
              I just had a quick look at the 1980/81 catalogue and compared it to the current three main ones, (tools, hardware and gardening.) Some change-95 pages vs 700 pages! I shop at the main store quite a bit, and MOST of what I buy is good value for the money. They do carry some high-end stuff; the latest is Festool power tools and boy are they pricey! I really cannot see just where you can hide $600.00 value in the carcass of a 15 amp router. But I am sure Jim Hannum, (and others,) will agree, a $20,000.00 Pratzi shotgun IS good value, while a Remington is "only" another shotgun.
              One thing is certain; Leonard Lee has done a FINE job of moving a mailorder business off of the kitchen table. Christmas staff is about 1500, while the rest of the year is about 800. On top of that, Lee Valley Tools, (togther with Veritas Tools, Chestnut Tools, and Algrove Publishing,) is privately held, so people can only guess how well he has done.
              Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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              • #8
                Someday i,m sure we will see a book published by Alcorn of the huge collection of antique tools Leonard Lee has.
                Years back at the Ottawa store, i happened to take a quick peek in his open office door, and the office was lined with beautiful old tools on shelves.
                Geez,, come to think of it, that was almost 30 ? years ago. i,m sure the collection is now massive.
                Certainly a unique operation with great service, and knowedgable staff, i have a huge stack of back catalogs and supplements etc, the catalogs are very collectible.

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                • #9
                  I don't know about the metalworking world, BUT

                  in the woodworking world, Lee Valley is king. Their Veritas tool line is superb, innovative and absolutely top notch.

                  Under the leadership of Rob Lee, the company president, LV's customer service, well, Gawd, every company's customer service should be so good. It's positively legendary. Rob Lee reads the woodworking boards and personally responds to questions and suggestions. For instance #1, a recently released plane underwent an incredibly minor change and purchasers of the first version all received the new replacement and a postage paid package to return the first one. The change didn't affect the functionality of the plane one whit. For instance #2, if they lower the price of a tool or a part, the purchasers will likely receive an unsolicited refund of the difference in purchase price. I've never even heard of another company doing that.

                  disclaimer: not connected with the company in any way, except to say I'm a seriously satisfied customer.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by oldwing
                    For instance #2, if they lower the price of a tool or a part, the purchasers will likely receive an unsolicited refund of the difference in purchase price.
                    I've been the lucky recipient of this policy once. Also got an upgrade on a dovetail jig that had special offer from the manufacturer several months after I had purchased mine.

                    Great company, only complaint is they cost me a lot of money every time I go there, another $95 got left with their cashier today.

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                    • #11
                      The first thing i ever bought from Lee Valley was two of the cast iron barrel stove kits they sold, think this was around 1978 or 80?
                      They did have the Alcorn printing company also, and did reprint a lot of old books/tool info stuff, but not sure if they still do that as they did have a few years back a separate book reprint catalog also.
                      Don,t see any of that stuff listed in the catalogs now.
                      I always thought they may get into Homeshop metal working stuff some time, but i doubt it now.
                      Just not enough demand for it in canada i guess.

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                      • #12
                        So buy from these guys instead, they are local to me and make very nice stuff:

                        http://www.bridgecitytools.com/

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                        • #13
                          One thing for sure - I *love* my Veritas Metal Bender. They used to be $7, too. Well, things go up .. I use this thing way more than I thought I would!
                          http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/pag...=1,43456,43407

                          metalmagpie

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                          • #14
                            The wife told me she's heading to Lee Valley today to pick up some Christmas gifts for her father. She asked if I wanted anything, so I told her she better take the truck.

                            I've been reading the catalogs as long as I can remember (grew up in a woodworking family). The one thing I always loved about them is the product descriptions. They just don't have those fluffed up descriptions that everybody else does, it's always just a pretty straight forward description, written by someone (an actual human) who's used the item.

                            I'd love to work there in R&D and product development. It would sure be a nice change from automotive engineering/machining. The 5 hour 1 way commute to Ottawa would be a deal breaker though

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                            • #15
                              Macona , Re: Bridge City Tools,,,,

                              Agreed they do make some very impressive stuff.

                              Re: The RD shop, i think it was Frank Maclean who began designing and machining some of Lee Valley's new products.

                              They have i think 15 stores now? across Canada, it certainly is a high class operation, and somewere ?? i heard their Employee relations set up is top notch.

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