I know everyone here probably feels the same way but I promise I am going to start coming to the forum more and more and have big plans for the forum as well as all of my other ventures. Between the ban getting through at the last minute and my sister passing end of May.....I did take a break from the boards for a while. I have been busy with the store in NOLA also but I never will give up on my board. As a matter of fact I have been working on a few things recently and all I will say is a big storm is coming and you will be seeing the bossman around a lot more.
I am truly glad to hear you'll be around more. However, with respect to your big plans for all of your ventures, and to Nostrum's previous comment about new products I'd like to see, I'm not without hesitation. In my humble opinion you should get a total grasp on the existing scope of your ventures before spreading thinner into new territory (figuratively speaking, whatever territory that might be). This isn't about people who complain publicly when their custom order still hasn't shipped after three business days. Some of us have been struggling privately, respectfully, patiently with your reps for MONTHS after having our money taken to seemingly no end whatsoever.
The reps are doing their best under the circumstances, but generally don't seem to have the power / direct involvement in operations to effect change themselves. They're not (I don't think, please correct me if I'm wrong) actual employees and have jobs of their own so, understandably, we have to nag them for every update rather than waiting on event-driven follow-up. As things drag out the excuses pile up - sometimes they change on their own, sometimes as soon as one issue is addressed another one magically pops up, sometimes we try to resolve the latest issue but can't get through or get a response of any kind, sometimes they contradict each other, but above all, and the reason I think this is relevant to your future ventures, the buck never stops passing.
Do you know how many different former operations/shipping managers I've heard blamed for my various unfulfilled orders? I've lost count, but it seems like once a month (maybe six weeks) there's a new person in charge of the warehouse who has been on the job for a week trying to clean up the mess left by the last person, needs a couple weeks of patience to catch up, and by a month later they're out and the new one is blaming the last one. Let's assume you really have had a terrible run of luck with your hiring process - if it were my business I'd be getting more directly involved (if in no other way, supervising the new hires to make sure they can be counted on) at least long enough to ensure my customer base and its loyalty wasn't completely trashed by the turmoil of transition because I'll probably need those same customers for the new/expanded ventures. I'm not endorsing permanent micro-management, just visibility and accountability.
If necessary I can back up every one of my assertions with specific examples but hopefully by now you're already aware of my orders and experience so you know I'm speaking the truth, I don't want to distract from the larger point about consolidation of the business, and this is already more dirty laundry airing than I ever wanted (but I'm doing it now because you're here). That being said, I know other customers have endured some if not all of the same problems I have, so I feel it's important to represent those of us 'left behind' while you move on to bigger and better things.
I have given you quite a lot of money over the years (especially this year, though I've yet to receive anything in return for it), and I would like to give you even more in the future as these ventures unfold, but you're not making it easy. So, welcome back to the board (on behalf of all the long-time lurkers), but please consider getting the existing venture running smoothly before spreading yourself any thinner. Also, I've done everything from logistics to customer service to programming and more, so if I can help with this in any way, let me know.
Sorry for the long post.