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Do you use Amazon? Please read this.


Horton
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Support your sport by using the the following link when shopping on Amazon.com this holiday season (and after the season). https://smile.amazon.com/ch/59-0841458 A portion of your purchase amount will be donated to USA Water Ski & Wake Sports .

 

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, and choose USA Water Ski & Wake Sports, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to support your sport!

 

Every item available for purchase on www.amazon.com is also available on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) at the same price. You will see eligible products marked "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation" on their product detail pages. You can even take advantage of Prime membership benefits, sales and more. There is no cost to use this service.

Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

California Ski Ranch ☆ Connelly ☆ Denali ☆ Eden Lake ☆ Goode ☆ HO Syndicate MasterCraft ☆ Masterline ☆ 

Pentalogo ☆ Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes 

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For any water skis or water sports gear please shop at Performance. Without the support of companies like Performance there is no BallOfSpray. https://www.perfski.com @perfski

 

For all your books, toilet paper, dog food, Keurig refills, specialty hot sauce, and AAA batteries please use https://smile.amazon.com/ch/59-0841458

Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

California Ski Ranch ☆ Connelly ☆ Denali ☆ Eden Lake ☆ Goode ☆ HO Syndicate MasterCraft ☆ Masterline ☆ 

Pentalogo ☆ Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes 

About Horton

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Thanks @BlueSki & @lpskier for your kind works. Not sure @oldjeep if you were referring to us... if so here is the link. https://www.perfski.com/snow We are restricted from most companies listing current season product online as we aren't "big enough" or don't "buy enough"...but do have some great gear / closeout stuff.... @Horton , as a retailer, we struggle with the "Amazon" effect. We all use it...and its changing the retail world around us to base sales only on the "cheapest price" irregardless of service and heaven forbid you want to communicate with a earthly being to ask questions on a product. And my vendors have started to embrace it also even in the high end waterski world. There is a popular watersports website that used to tout their business motto as "no skis, no tubes, no bullshit" that now is basically the storefront for most of the vendors closeouts for the biggest water skicompanies on amazon. They are not stocking this product but listing it and having it drop shipped directly from the factory. No fin setup. Limited real world knowledge on skiing or committment to supporting the sport / growing it from the grass roots level. Yet because they have the technical capability to help ski companies list and dump their product, they basically now are selling ski gear on consignment...while specialty pro shops like mine who have bought product / stock it, still have cash invested in it have to cut pricing / minimal margins left just to compete if we even want to try to make the sale. It doesn't bode well for specialty shops like mine for sure. The impact is real...and our ability to do more for skiing, support pages like this gets harder and harder as we just have less and less to spend as our margins are shrinking.

 

All this said, I / we are VERY grateful of the Ball of Spray community, the people who LOVE water skiing, who support our small business and believe that specialty ski shops still have a place in the retail landscape. You guys and your passion fuel us during some of the harder times in retail. Please don't take any of my commentary above as a "pity party" or "woe is me"...but this forum is about telling things as you know them and see them and sharing your experiences with others that share your passions in life. I get the reality of Amazon in todays shopping world....but also would encourage you to support your small pro shops in your town / region / nation. You impact family owned business who love skiing, and believe in customer service, product knowledge and trying to invest in staff who share this also. Bill Porter - Owner - Performance Ski and Surf

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THANK YOU @perfski There is a reality about amazon that people don't want to face because they can't stand to hear bad things about a place where they can buy stuff cheap. The reality is that the sentiment perfski stated about amazon goes beyond ski equipment. I run a small home theater installation business. A big part of my business comes in selling equipment packages in addition to my installation. I sell as an authorized dealer with a knowledge about the equipment, and after sales support you won't get on amazon. I can still sell well below list/MSRP price, yet constantly have people telling me they can get it cheaper on amazon, and it ends up being cheaper than even what I purchase from legitimate distributors. While there are some legitimate businesses using amazon to reach people, there are many drop and ship companies (as perfski mentioned.) Many of those products come from closeouts yes, but many also come from people that purchase with stolen credit cards, then sell through theses drop/ship companies. Even the legitimate businesses on amazon get pressured into low prices to undercut brick and mortar stores.

 

I have seen a local charity, that helps the homeless in the area, promote donating to them via amazon smile. I find that ironic as many of the homeless they support are homeless because of amazon.

 

For all your books, toilet paper, dog food, Keurig refills, specialty hot sauce, and AAA batteries please use your local brick and mortar store and support your local economy and jobs. Then make a separate donation to USA water ski & wake sports.

 

I do buy online, but I reserve that to products that I can't find available locally. I don't go through amazon though, I spend a little more time to search for a legitimate vendor online of those products. Of course I'm fortunate in the water ski world to be living in central florida, and I can walk in and purchase from industry leaders like Performance and Masterline and still support local economy.

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I owned an Offroad parts and services business. I was seeing more and more centralization in the industrial and decided to get out. It was going toward a hand full of companies controlling the industry but I underestimated the effect Amazon would have. The guy I sold to says Amazon prime is really hurting him. With free shipping on heavy items its hard to compete. Plus, like perfski say we have to sign sales agreement with companies to not advertise below a minimum advertised pricing (MAP). For whatever reason the Amazon prices are below MAP. I won't buy on Amazon unless I absolutely have no other choice. I just read that Target and Walmart are out pacing Amazon for online sales this Christmas season. Good to see some competition.
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We decided as a famiky to have an Amazon free Christmas this year other than hitting Whole Foods for some selected groceries. Nothing political or preachy here, just somethingwe decided to do. We will use them again and I will check out the link younposted.
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It goes a long way back @perfski, Bill P, my family had a couple of grocery stores and sold bread, milk & cigarettes at cost to get and keep our customers, supermarkets came along and sold these "staples" cheaper than we could buy them needless to say we are no longer in that business.
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Amazon and Google are both relatively evil and Facebook is terrifying. The reality is many of us use these services on a daily basis. If you are going to use Amazon please use the link above to help USA Water Ski. As I said above if you're going to buy water sports equipment please please please buy it from Performance not through Amazon.

 

Just trying to do my part for the association.

Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

California Ski Ranch ☆ Connelly ☆ Denali ☆ Eden Lake ☆ Goode ☆ HO Syndicate MasterCraft ☆ Masterline ☆ 

Pentalogo ☆ Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes 

About Horton

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I remember when microsoft was evil, although somehow apple isn't. Successful! = evil. Amazon smile is a great program, we buy tons of stuff there year round and tgey make donations to a children's hospital. Many of your local merchants sell on amazon. My closest waterski pro shop does(midwest watersports). I can either drive over there or buy on amazon and have the brown suit santa deliver it.

Fwiw, my last ski came from perfski and not my local shop, they had the best price.

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I can attest to the expert, customer centered, personal touch of small businesses like @perfski . I have purchased two top of the line skis from Perf after consulting with leaders at the manufacturers and the attention to service, including a hand written note from the boss, was tremendous. I've also found another (unnamed west coast shop) to be equally helpful. I remember an article by a pro skier in one of the mag's a few decades ago that noted similar concerns back then about the impacts of the big watersports mail order companies that had gained traction in the market and were cutting into small pro shop sales. In the spirit of Christmas let's try to support our local or preferred small business pro shops
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Wow....all I can say is thank you for the kind words. We are trying to adjust to the new age world of retail...and part of the reason I even comment on this is to let you know the real world impact you make on lives of people passionate about the sport. The manufacturers are like everyone else...they want to find ways to make their business' more profitable..which I understand..however loosing sight of the concept of driving consumers to stores to buy their product vs selling direct...buying from online only stores does not bode well for specialty shops like mine. Every surfwear, wetsuit (except Camaro), eyeware, and sandal companies we have sold for decades are selling direct, and discounting. They see the extra margins they can make as a larger priority than supporting a retail network. I've spoken to the top people in more companies than I care list here...and all still say that "brick and mortar" is important to their business model...but NONE...repeat NONE back it up with any marketing to drive people to stores like ours, or up to date dealer locators. I posed the following questions to the major companies and their managers:

1: Is Brick and mortar stores / pro shops important to your business: All say yes. (some say up to 85% or more of their business)

2: Is the end goal of your marketing to help customers purchase your product? All say yes for sure.

3: Is your website the hub of all your advertising, done in all forms. All say yes.

4: Do you believe in / thinking helping consumers help find your products easily will improve sales and is important. All say yes.

 

So after all my questions to them, I go back and summarize their answers back to them

 

Yes, brick and mortar is a key component of your business..... Check.

Connecting consumers is your goal of marketing and is focused around your factory website....check.

Do you believe that connecting consumers with places they can buy your product is important....Yes for sure.

 

So why then do you not have up to date dealer locators by each product you sell with up to date listings of all dealers who have bought your product.... "crickets"....

 

And Why in all of your marketing to promote your product....do you have utilize tools to help consumers easily find dealers that stock your products? One that is maintained and updated on a regular basis. "Crickets"....

 

The reality is either the person running their factory website is on commission based on sales OR the factories themselves prefer to focus on the larger margins to reach their corporate margin/sales goals... Other than that there are excuses galore from we can't afford a new website, we can't update our dealer locator....we are working on it...etc..etc..etc..

 

Before I quit...I do want to make it clear that some of the top ski and wake companies are STILL not selling direct..which is a blessing...however, as I mentioned in my first post, they feel the amazon effect...and they are moving to dump their older product on amazon. Which I understand them needing to get rid of older stock...however I do not understand them supporting dealers who are not truly vested in growing the sport, not having to buy the product up front to sell it. Sorry for the rant...obviously this is touchy issue for us. We are fighting to stay alive in the retail world now...and still hope their is a place for shops like ours in it. Thanks to all who support our business. It does make a difference.

 

Also thanks to brands like Camaro that do not sell direct...and are trying to support dealer networks here within the states. Bill

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