woodshopnerdery wrote: ↑Mon Oct 23, 2023 12:09 am
I'm glad to see Shopsmith sold to an enthusiastic new owner. Let's face it, it was going to happen someday. And it seems on the surface, for now, that Nick Cupps is the best we, as owners, could hope for. And I think it was something akin to divine providence that the 75th owners' meeting fell during week 1 of his leadership. I believe our presence, knowledge, enthusiasm, and yes spending too, made an impression on him that will benefit Shopsmith customers.
Will Nick Cupps be more motivated by profit than the Folkerths? Yes, of course, he has investors to satisfy, and it's a good thing. He will invest in efficiencies in both the supply chain and the manufacturing and assembly floor. He will take control of the Shopsmith marketing message to increase sales volumes. He will try to bring new products and innovations to the market. I believe he will take an "All Generations" approach in his strategy to connect potential customers to the brand. For 20-somethings that could be supporting their used Mark V. For retirees that will be promoting a new Mark 7. Some of what he tries will fail and some of what he tries will succeed.
Who has $6,000 to spend on a new Shopsmith? Lots of people. Yes, lots don't and thank god there are wonderful Mark V 510/520 machines out there used for very affordable prices. But many people spend $6,000 and much more on yearly vacations, boats, cabins, hunting trips, cars, horses, sports cars, pianos, decks, bathroom remodels, and so on and so on. There is a market, and there is money in the market to support increasing Mark 7 sales multiple times over.
Why would someone buy a new Mark 7 over a SawStop? Some won't, they will buy the SawStop. But many have chosen Shopsmith over the competition and will again. The Mark 5/7 offers many unique features that deliver legitimate value to the hobbyist. These features will attract some people to the brand.
Are people still interested in woodworking as a hobby? I believe so. In my opinion, interest in woodworking as a hobby, even at its peak, is not the result of a bygone culture or a lost element of human nature. It was the result of marketing and education campaigns spearheaded by the major tool manufacturers. For example, it's my opinion that Shopsmith commissioned the writing of "Power Tool Woodworking for Everyone" not to sell books, but to sell machines. They did it because Delta and other major manufacturers were doing the same thing. Woodworking businesses can easily drive a new renaissance of hobbyist woodworking through those same tools, education and marketing. Education and Marketing will look different in 2023 as compared to 1955, but it still will work.
Let's not forget wood. It's strong, beautiful and somehow both simple and mysterious at the same time. I believe people will always be interested in any tool that helps them experience this amazing natural material. Regarding the popularity of CNC machines and other new ways of making things, I think there are probably a lot of parallels to what happened 100 years ago as electric-powered tools became available. Yes, they sold fewer hand saws and hand planes as a result. But those tools have not disappeared from the face of the planet. In fact, many power tool woodworkers are re-discovering hand tools and folding them into their process. The fact is, there are some tasks where reaching for the bench plane is faster and better than a complicated jig set up on a table saw. New exciting items will always draw interest and over time people will settle into whatever works best.
I believe Nick Cupps made a smart choice. Shopsmith has HUGE untapped potential. And he as a smart business man has every chance of making it go.