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Old 04-07-2021, 08:34 PM
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Default (Feedback) A new Finishline type store.

First off, Myself & Brent (EM-0785) have been mulling over the idea of either buying the Finishline store (If Taylor would sell, or the name isn't too tarnished) or starting our own store (We Be Cobra Parts & Sh=t) Well maybe not that name We both know there's no money to make a living in type of store, So no need Tony (twobjshelbys) to tell us . I'm retired and Brent hope's to be soon (5years) since both of us live, breath, and eat Cobras anyway, it would be a fun venture. I have been (Buying & Selling Cobras) for customers lately it seems like a natural additions. Again we wouldn't be making a living off this store, if we could make enough to fill our tanks with gas once in awhile, that would be fine. Brent knows the Business end, and I the buying & selling. Would you Gentlemen buy from us, if #1 we never charged your card till we had part in stock or shipped, #2 answered the phone and/or Email when you reached out to us. #3 We know Cobras, and their parts. Any and all feedback is welcomed. Cheers TommyRot.
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Last edited by Alfa02; 04-07-2021 at 08:47 PM..
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:23 PM
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I'd be interested in WBCP&S enterprise, or whatever you ann EM 0785 call it. Have spoken to Brent in past and am impressed on how he's refurbished hi EM.
Had one previous and successful Finishline purchase , guess I got lucky that I got parts delivered.

PLS keep us posted!

Bill
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:41 PM
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I can't help but believe that the current owner would just as soon pack it in and that it is only pride keeping him from doing it.

I suspect inventory is a big issue. There are so many different variations of the same part for all the different kinds of cars that finding sources and stocking has to be a nightmare. Just look at the recent hunt for a headlight trim ring. Do you identify all of them and stock some or all? Do you identify sources and do jit ordering?

What is the current stock and how much warehouse space? Remember rent utilities and insurance

The community wants a reliable source for parts. It would be better to charge a realistic price and deliver than to undercharge and never deliver. I think you can do this and make hobby money.

Good luck.

P.s. keep it finishline just restore it to what was. The name still has recognition
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Last edited by twobjshelbys; 04-07-2021 at 09:45 PM..
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Old 04-08-2021, 04:35 AM
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I want a stake in this Company
If i come up with say around $150 Investment and Tony TwoBjShelbys comes up with another $150 now we have some serious capital to work with....What do you say Tony you in??
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Old 04-08-2021, 05:22 AM
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Tom - would you be doing order deliveries in person?

Cheers!
Glen
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Old 04-08-2021, 05:35 AM
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It sounds like with the skill sets you guys would be bringing combined with your passion and experience with Cobras you'd be well suited for something like this. I hope you decide to go forward. If you do I'll buy from you.
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Old 04-08-2021, 05:40 AM
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I`d be in for buying some "We be Cobra parts and S**t" t-shirts.

If you build it, they will come.
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Old 04-08-2021, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgianino View Post
I want a stake in this Company
If i come up with say around $150 Investment and Tony TwoBjShelbys comes up with another $150 now we have some serious capital to work with....What do you say Tony you in??
You need at least two more zeros, probably 3.
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:49 AM
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Default Thank you for your input.

This is the exact response's we were looking for I've really come to like the Name (We Be Cobra Parts & Sh=t) or just (WBCP&S), it came to me in a dream. I think the T-shirts would fly off the shelves. Kinda just rolls off the tongue . @ xb-60, Glen you know I would love too, but even a better idea, make the store a meeting place (reason enough) to make the trek. Brent & I truly think we could make a go of this with the help of our (Cobra Family). Please keep the feedback coming. With the T-shirts selling well, we may never have to sell a single part Now should I keep TommyRot (AZ member, Karl Bebout came up with the name) , or go back to just Tom???
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Old 04-08-2021, 09:24 AM
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Not to be one of those guys who rain on parades but you might be better off not buying the business and using the Finishline name. There is a better than excellent chance that the current owner has 'problems' of his own making with other business participants in the existing venture. Some obvious examples would be unpaid vendor invoices, credit issues, potential tax issues, regulatory issues and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

When you buy a company you are be buying all its assets and all the liabilities. The assets are presumably good and saleable, the liabilities are a millstone around the businesses neck no matter the name of the owner and significantly they do not go away with the sale of the business.

The better approach would be to start a new business with a sufficiently different name that existing creditors, suppliers, regulatory authorities etc would not confuse the good guys with the jerk who cratered a perfectly good, long standing and well respected business. Sometimes it is not smart to put the fire out. It is smarter to build a new home than attempting to save the burning property.

We can only see the ugliness that prospective buyers have visibility to. The scope and breadth of all the other mismanaged attributes and pieces of the business is nothing short of astounding.

As just a simple example, assuming there is any, there would need to be an inventory audit to determine what was is in inventory and then what was complete and undamaged, saleable goods. Everything else is fire sale material worth less than pennies on the dollar.

I both admire and applaud your efforts save this once shining icon but I think the time of rescue has long since passed and what is left today is like a tangled ball of fishing twine on the floor. Smart fishermen throw it away and buy new fishing line.

When you are in retirement or this close to it, you don't want to be making life changing bets on these sorts of 'opportunities' mistakes are irrecoverable. Start with a clean sheet of paper. If that can't be made to work in the business plan then, Finishline definitely can not.

You have worked a lifetime for your retirement do not throw it away on a boondoggle that is avoidable.


Ed
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Old 04-08-2021, 09:48 AM
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What kind of parts are guys trying to get from finishline. I have never seen anything on the finishline site that I need. On the other hand I order from the other number that is on the finishline site that sells parts that fit original Cobras. There service is quite good. And no the 2 numbers are not the same place. Do you think you would sell parts that would fit Original type cars? Parts like hubs uprights brake rotors ect? If so I would be a buyer.
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Old 04-08-2021, 09:55 AM
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I dont know much about selling retail autoparts but I was part of a company that manufactured and sold to the OEMs for over 15 years. I know enough to be dangerous. But I know a ton about buying cobra parts building mine! Markups are amazing when dealing in volume but doesn't apply to the cobra hobby. As a consumer I have tried all sorts of on-line suppliers and in fact without them I could not have finished my Cobra since my “kit” was not complete but I chose that path to build a better quality car and have more control over quality. You all know theAmazon model and some of the bigger auto centric sites like Rockauto. My feeling is to be very successful to focus on Cobras, Daytonas and maybe GT40 replica parts you just set up a great storefront ( like amazon) and build purchasing agreements with the 6-10 companies we all know of that sell cobra / daytona/ GT40 parts. Take the crawl walk run approach. I think 20 good suppliers is easy to accomplish the first year and grow from there. You want to be a store that uses their suppliers to drop ship from their warehouses to your customers, this eliminates having your own warehouses or employees. Common sense. I know there are quite a few attorneys on this site that know how those agreements are structured. My favorite online retail model to date is Fordpartsgiant.com. I have used them for about 3 years to buy oem parts. They are only a web store but have the complete parts database for all Ford cars and trucks going back decades. When you order on their site, it feels as though you are ordering directly from a ford dealer but 30% lower prices on Ford and Motorcraft parts. The downside is customer support is lacking if you have an issue. They have purchasing agreements with dozens of Ford dealerships throughout the US. When you place your order, its broadcasted to all the dealerships in this network as an open order and any dealer in this network is able to bid or fill that order. It works great for me the consumer. I get my part within 5 days and always at least 20-30% lower in prices than my local Ford dealer. I know this because my parts come from all over the US from different dealerships each time I order no matter what it is. So I think that can be a successful model even in the Replica Hobby. My 2 cents. The capital needed is spent on web store, database creations, and maybe some licensing agreements? But customer support to answer the phone to help a customer is important and will differentiate your store from all the others.
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Old 04-08-2021, 10:31 AM
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Any time an honest and reliable company is supporting my hobbies, I'm happy to support them back best I can. Its good for everyone in the hobby overall.

If that is what you can successfully create, I'd gladly be a customer.
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Old 04-08-2021, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaider View Post
Not to be one of those guys who rain on parades but you might be better off not buying the business and using the Finishline name. There is a better than excellent chance that the current owner has 'problems' of his own making with other business participants in the existing venture. Some obvious examples would be unpaid vendor invoices, credit issues, potential tax issues, regulatory issues and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

When you buy a company you are be buying all its assets and all the liabilities. The assets are presumably good and saleable, the liabilities are a millstone around the businesses neck no matter the name of the owner — and significantly they do not go away with the sale of the business.

The better approach would be to start a new business with a sufficiently different name that existing creditors, suppliers, regulatory authorities etc would not confuse the good guys with the jerk who cratered a perfectly good, long standing and well respected business. Sometimes it is not smart to put the fire out. It is smarter to build a new home than attempting to save the burning property.

We can only see the ugliness that prospective buyers have visibility to. The scope and breadth of all the other mismanaged attributes and pieces of the business is nothing short of astounding.

As just a simple example, assuming there is any, there would need to be an inventory audit to determine what was is in inventory and then what was complete and undamaged, saleable goods. Everything else is fire sale material worth less than pennies on the dollar.

I both admire and applaud your efforts save this once shining icon but I think the time of rescue has long since passed and what is left today is like a tangled ball of fishing twine on the floor. Smart fishermen throw it away and buy new fishing line.

When you are in retirement or this close to it, you don't want to be making life changing bets on these sorts of 'opportunities' — mistakes are irrecoverable. Start with a clean sheet of paper. If that can't be made to work in the business plan then, Finishline definitely can not.

You have worked a lifetime for your retirement do not throw it away on a boondoggle that is avoidable.


Ed
The name "Finishline" has some "goodwill" left.

There are absolutely ways to "buy" a business and have it's "before" disappear. One is to buy it out of bankruptcy. Such a step could be a required part of the transition.

The company from which I got the windows in my house had two class action suits on argon filled windows, reorganized under the same name and left all of the evil stuff behind, including warranties on products sold before the reorg date. It can be done. You just have to decide if the trade name is worth it.

No matter what, you're going to need an army of lawyers. More money before you even open your doors... Is this really a hobby?

A newcomer to the Cobra business faces an uphill battle. Your exposure under the old name is higher than any new name. Use the old name and say "Under New Ownership" and brag up how you'll do better.

Remember, this place is a tiny portion of the total potential Cobra customer base. You'll need ads in the Cobra oriented magazines and newsletters. Approach the local clubs that publish a newsletter for ad space.
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Last edited by twobjshelbys; 04-08-2021 at 11:01 AM..
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Old 04-08-2021, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by MAStuart View Post
What kind of parts are guys trying to get from finishline. I have never seen anything on the finishline site that I need. On the other hand I order from the other number that is on the finishline site that sells parts that fit original Cobras. There service is quite good. And no the 2 numbers are not the same place. Do you think you would sell parts that would fit Original type cars? Parts like hubs uprights brake rotors ect? If so I would be a buyer.
Are there two businesses involved? I have vague memories about the time of the Finishline ownership change that a well-known Cobra old timer was involved. Is the part that specializes in originals that other person's part? (I don't want to mention names, but I think people will know who I'm talking about)
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Old 04-08-2021, 11:12 AM
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Thanks Gentlemen, for more of your input. @eschaider, Ed I agree, but I'll let Brent address your concerns on the business end. He owns & runs (25+years, with a partner) a highly successful (HVAC) business with offices in WA. OR.. & AK. We joke it will take 3-4 people to take over his job. I believe in this man, he's modest, honest, intelligent, and a Hellva good friend. @MASuart & kitcarbp, we don't want to reinvent the wheel, just sell acc. like (Steering wheels, wing windows, badges, latches, etc.) that will fit most (Repo) Cobras. Drop shipping would be a great way to go, but I like the idea of dealing with us on a personal level. Remember this a "Hobby Business" not the start of a large corporation. We are not a couple of "Young Wide Eyed Kids" looking to make it big in the Cobra part business "Simple & Small" is a great motto for us. Cheers Gentlemen, TommyRot.
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Old 04-08-2021, 11:13 AM
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Where would you base this operation?
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Old 04-08-2021, 11:48 AM
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Tony, we would be based out of Washington State. I live in Sequim Wa. and Brent lives in Seattle, but he will retire over here (Olympic Pennisula) Excellent driving roads, smaller pop. most sales will be sent out. I'm building a new & hopefully my last garage and what stock needed I should be able to store there. Or maybe a little store front in Sequim, we have even thought about setting up a shop for full service on Cobras. Since this area is ripe for driving our type of cars, You could book a full tour of the area. You drive here, or have your Cobra shipped, we service your Cobra, book rooms, and take you on a tour of the Pacific Northwest, (No Big Cities). That maybe a "Pie-in-the-Sky" type plan, but you never know. Stranger things have happened. Thanks for your questions & Comments Tony. Tom.
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Old 04-08-2021, 03:03 PM
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For years Finishline was one of the shining stars of the Cobra/replica industry. Enzo Alibrandi and his wife Paula, who kept Finishline going for a bit after Enzo passed away delivered stellar service and if they ever erred, it was often to the benefit of the customer. I placed several orders from way down here in the Caribbean back in the day and like many others, I always got what I ordered - and sometimes more. In one parts order I was sent two cowl mounted mirrors instead of one, and when I notified Enzo, he said "Well now you have a spare!" Fully understanding the questionable value of shipping it all the way back; he still refused to process the extra charge, even when I placed subsequent orders. They were fast, pleasant, communicative and always expressed their appreciation of the support of the Club Cobra community. While it saddens me to see what it's come to today, I still have a positive reaction to the Finishline company name and I have a feeling that due to years of top-notch service to hundreds of customers over the years, the name still carries with it some valuable goodwill.
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Old 04-08-2021, 03:08 PM
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If you don't need the money, go for it. It's like buying your wife a dress shop. It'll never make money, but it'll give her something to do.
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