2007-02-26 06:31:31
Twelve years ago we responded to a recurring complaint that we’d heard from front line glass users for over a decade: the scarcity of our Tested Compatible glass in the retail market. After a bunch of internal bickering and squabbling - that's what I love about this place: all the Yes Men got fired decades ago - we made the decision to open a Resource Center and to sell direct. 1.RCExterior.JPG Why’d they paint the place that Halloween color unless it’s a portal to Hell? In the dozen years since the RC opened, it's substantially grown the local kilnforming community with ready availability of glass, supplies, and education. We also sell by mail order with a pricing structure that is in line with prices of our glass available across the US through both wholesale and retail outlets. 2.RCdoor.JPG Disguised as a mild-mannered shoppe with bottles of candy-colored pellets poised to seduce the unsuspecting. In this same time period kilnforming has become the fastest growing sector of the glass market nationally. Retailers seem to finally be taking notice. There are more kiln-glass courses offered on trade show programs than any other glassworking method. Artists working in the medium are finding their way into major galleries and museums. Small studios are introducing lines of giftware and architectural elements that are showing up on the pages of design magazines or in the stalls of local craft fairs. New users are entering the glass market, excited by kiln methods and eager to explore this still nascent territory. 3.BilletsinForeground.JPG Billets rarely show up on the national retail market. But until they do they’ll make great sushi slabs at the Resource Center. Did Bullseye’s decision to sell direct destroy the glass market? Apparently so. At least that’s one of the charges we hear from dealers. “You’re putting retailers in Florida out of business”; “Even though I think you’ve got a better product, I recommend System 96 to my customers because I hate your sales policies.” 4.Rods.JPG The rod market is a curious one to me. A strong sense of community among users and less irritation from the distribution side. Maybe no one thinks it’s big enough to get huffy about? Don’t ask me...but it seems deliciously healthy from my vantage point. Am I living in a parallel universe? What am I missing here? I’d sincerely like to understand this distribution furor – and, because I (mostly) like my battles fought in public, I’m pushing this particular one out here onto center stage. Yesterday Tony suggested that even today very few retailers stock fusible glass. Well, burst my bubble.I actually thought it had improved in recent years, but I've been distracted by a gallery, so maybe that was just wishful thinking? I'd really like to hear from more of you about the availability of fusible glass and supplies in your area. If you are a customer of the Resource Center, I’d love to hear why. If you think we are a tribe of Satanic sleazeballs, I’d enjoy hearing about that too. 5.Geraldine&Willow.JPG Attractive young women peddling the goods. A dead give-away that something corrupt and evil lurks within these walls… I know that posting on the internet creeps a lot of people out. You don’t have to use your full, real name. You do have to register in order to comment, but your email address is not made public and I promise to print - within length limits - any and all (non-obscene) opinions expressed on this topic. If I don't get any more input, I'll be forced to dig up some controversy elsewhere. Actually, we just got accused of being a "bully" in the "collective zeitgeist of the glass community" - in response to pondering our lost hippy roots (2/4/07). I kind of liked that one and am giving it the February Mudslinger's Award unless something better comes in by tomorrow. (NEXT: I respond to your taunts and jeers. Or turn over a few rocks on Maui. Your choice.