Bridge City Tool Works has slashed the prices of select tools in a recent deal.
Their email newsletter starts:
UNPRECEDENTED PANDEMIC, UNPRECEDENTED DEAL! Maybe I’m being a little sensitive, but I found this to be in poor taste. The message reads:
Now that the whole world is suffering due to this unprecedented pandemic. At this special moment, we want to say many thanks to you for your incredibly valuable support, and we really appreciate your admiration or [sic] our products as well as our unchanged belief.
We wish we could do many things to make you happy, but the only thing we can do right now is to offer you or beloved tools with UNPRECEDENTED Prices. So, if you are interested in our tools, you will find that the following prices never happened before. We hope these products are on your Wishlist, and the prices match your ideal.
Best wishes to you and your families, please stay safe!
- Dual Angle Bench Plane: was $998, now $598.8 (save 40%)
- Mini Block Plane: was $165, now $99 (save 40%)
- Kermaker-1: was $65, now $39 (save 40%)
- Tenonmaker: was $82, now $49.2 (save 40%)
- Miter Squares: was $98, now $58.8 (save 40%)
- Adjustable Square: was $248, now $148.8 (save 40%)
- Universal Gauge: was $198, now $118.8 (save 40%)
- Kerfmaker-2: was $115, now $69 (save 40%)
Bridge City Tool Works/Harvey Industries is also offering the Gyro Air G700 for $2590, from its regular price of $4245.
Coupon Code is 755386 on the tools, 956511 on the Gyro air G700.
What follows is some discussion about Bridge City Tools that should have been saved for a future post. I’ve been trying to sort out how the brand has been changing, but haven’t made my mind up yet, and so my feelings are still somewhat fragmented.
In other words, stop here if you just wanted to hear about the deal, keep reading if you want a stream-of-thought story.
The same company marketed the Gyro air cleaner as “a natural enemy of Coronavirus” back in early March.
Here’s the thing – these are crazy-good deals, but there’s a catch.
A couple of years ago, Bridge City Tool Works licensed all of their designs to Harvey Industries, for their tools to be made overseas and sold in overseas markets.
Later, Bridge City Tool Works was sold to Harvey Industries, with the founder said to be staying on to continue designing tools until he eventually retires.
Now, ALL Bridge City Tool Works tools and products are made overseas, they’re no longer made in the USA.
I purchased a Bridge City Tool Works Kerfmaker, a set-up jig, for $73 back when it was made in the USA, and then I purchased the new made-in-China version for $61 via Lee Valley.
The USA price wasn’t quite $73, as I had also purchased the Founder’s Circle Membership for 1 year for $45, which if I recall correctly dropped the order total by 10%. (I ordered other test samples while I was at it, with the Founder’s Circle Membership resulting in some net savings.)
These also weren’t personal purchases, they were editorial purchases to see what the big deal was about Bridge City Tool Works’ very premium-priced tools and accessories, and later to see if and how the imported version compared to the USA-made one.
Bridge City Tool Works recently lowered the price of the Kerfmaker on their website, but not at Lee Valley – one of their new dealers. I checked again recently, and Lee Valley was still showing the higher price, suggesting that Bridge City Tool Works was undercutting them.
Today, Lee Valley is now showing a lower price of $49.95. Bridge City Tool Works’ price is now down to $39 with a coupon code.
Okay, so I have a USA-made Kerfmaker that retailed for $73 when I bought it 4 years ago, and a made-in-China Kerfmaker that I purchased for $61 and is now priced at $39 via Bridge City Tool Works and $50 at Lee Valley.
Both tools have the same exact functionality, and if I’m being objective, they’re both very well-made. The USA-made version isn’t cosmetically perfect, but it does appear to be of higher production quality than the made-in-China version. To be absolutely fair, I know which is which, and so I was looking for differences to pop out at me.
Perhaps “higher production quality” isn’t the right way to phrase it. The USA-version has additional minor machining steps that the imported version lacks. It looks like it took more effort or steps to make.
If I were to give both tools to woodworkers who have never heard of Bridge City Tool Works before, they might never noticed the subtle differences. And like I said, the functionality is the same.
I wasn’t happy to buy the made-in-China version for $61, which I felt was too close to the pricing of the prior USA-made version.
The USA-made tools were made in small batches, and as I understand it, they went through local machine shops and services for the completion of different production steps and processing.
The made-in-China tools all look to be made in mass production batches – or at least as close to mass production as is possible for tools of this kind – which is validated by their appearance at retailers. As far as I am aware, Bridge City Tools never had any retailer or distributor agreements prior to their arrangement with Harvey Industries.
I don’t know if Bridge City’s planes, squares, and tools are as close to previous USA-made quality as the imported Kerfmaker I compared to my USA-made one. But if they are, and I were looking to buy any new Bridge City Tool’s woodworking tools, I’d be happy with the quality. I can’t say I’d be okay with the pricing, even at the current 40% discount on select tools.
The small-batch nature of Bridge City Tool Works’ products led to my never being able to get an accessory for one of the products I ordered back in 2016 – a hole-making jig. It sold out, and there was never an announcement or waiting list about that accessory since then. There are benefits to Bridge City Tool Works’ way of doing things now – I doubt I’d have a problem sourcing current catalog items now.
I realize that I drifted far from the main intent of this post, which was to talk about the current Bridge City Tool Works promo, but I have been wanting to post more about the company for a while. A standalone post would require sorting out my feelings about their changing practices under the new ownership, and that hasn’t happened yet.
A little over a year ago I asked and was told:
Going forward, all of our tools will be manufactured in China which includes the items we ship to Lee Valley.
$39 for the functionality of a tool I spent $73 for, and then $61 for the imported version. What did they do to be able to lower the price from $61 to $39? Or was the $61 price simply inflated?
For context, Woodpeckers had a small “Gap Gauge” One Time Tool with similar functionality that they sold for $50. There are also a number of DIY jigs you can make for cheap.
There’s no denying that Bridge City Tools are pricey. What’s amusing to me is that the USA version was packaged in a small clear zippered plastic pouch, and the new imported version is packaged in a gift box, complete with individual serial number.
I am happy to see that the newer tools are priced lower than the former small-batch USA-made pricing.
That this is Bridge City Tool’s second price drop in two months, and not just the “UNPRECEDENTED PANDEMIC, UNPRECEDENTED DEAL” part, really caught my attention. Here’s what they said about the first price change:
Back in February, I received an email that said:
I am pleased to announce that Bridge City Tool Works has been so well received world-wide that we are now able to offer new, affordable, retail pricing.
Our significant global sales increase has led to meaningful manufacturing cost savings, allowing us to substantially reduce retail prices on most of our products and make these beautiful tools more affordable for woodworkers everywhere. The new prices will fulfill the long time wish of Jack Xu, CEO of Harvey Industries, “that woodworkers around the world should be able to enjoy the incredible tools designed by John Economaki.”
You’ll begin to see these new prices when you visit our website at www.bridgecitytools.com and in this email below where we have some of our top products featured.
This is your chance to own the same heirloom-quality and innovation you’ve come to expect, but with lower prices and availability. Our unwavering commitment to quality means Bridge City tools aren’t likely to ever be the least expensive tools you can buy, but now they’re a whole lot more affordable!
At that time, the Kerfmaker jig I’ve been referring to had dropped in price to $50, but only direct and not through Lee Valley, which until recently still showed the full retail price.
The dual angle bench plane went from $1079 to $800. With today’s UNPRECEDENTED PANDEMIC, UNPRECEDENTED DEAL pricing, the price is said to have went from $998 to $599.
Sales were so good that they saw meaningful manufacturing cost savings in February. And now the prices are lowered by significant amounts because…?
Bridge City Tools always required discretionary spending, with most of their products requiring extensive machining and being designed with a strong emphasis on both form and function. They worked well and they did look like heirloom-quality art pieces. It can be said that Bridge City Tools weren’t machined, they were sculpted, or at least I’d align with such a mindset if I were okay spending more than a thousand dollars on a bench plane.
If Bridge City’s bench plane was on my wishlist for the past few years, I’d certainly find the current $599 price so much more appealing than their previous >$1000 pricing.
There are and were some unique Bridge City Tool offerings, and others where they stood above all other available options from other brands, but a lot of their tools offered functionality that could be found in other well-made and much lower-priced options. That’s why this brand is hard to talk about – their tools really had art-level designs, and so woodworkers didn’t just purchase them for their functionality, but for those aesthetics as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see Bridge City Tools lower their prices, especially now that production has been fully moved overseas. But is anyone buying “heirloom-quality” tools right now?
I still haven’t sorted out my stance about the “new” Bridge City Tools, but I can say that right now I’m not liking their marketing tactics.
UNPRECEDENTED PANDEMIC, UNPRECEDENTED DEALS.
This just seems wrong.
Aside from how the deal was presented, do the substantially lower prices on select tools suggest that production costs have changed in meaningful ways, or was the previous pricing – after the change in ownership and production – simply inflated?
If sending production overseas wasn’t enough to make me not want to buy their products, the unethical practices and tone-deaf marketing of the new owners sure help.
Things aren’t going to change for the better until people actually start voting with their wallets and send a clear, unequivocal message that sending production and eventually an entire US company overseas is a bad business decision that makes people decide to shop elsewhere.
The founder wanted to wind down and eventually retire. When the owner of a small business seeks to leave, either a new owner takes over or they close.
It’s unclear whether they set up arrangements for licensed production in anticipation of an eventual hand-off, or if positive results from that arrangement then prompted the idea.
I don’t begrudge the owner for wanting to do less of the day-to-day work and eventually retire from his company while setting it up to keep going after he leaves, but part of the larger problem is, these sorts of Chinese companies know they can buy a brand and make the products cheaper in China, still charge a lot because lots of people won’t be paying attention and either expect the products to still be mostly made in the US or never know they were’t made in China to begin with.
My point was, perhaps if more customers made it clear they weren’t going to be buying any products if they were no longer made in the US, the owners of such companies would have less incentive to send production overseas and/or sell the company to where it would be moved overseas, and the Chinese companies would have less incentive to buy these US companies if the expectation was the customer base would evaporate and the non-US products wouldn’t sell.
In this world that we live in – the passing down of small businesses (even profitable ones) from one generation to the next (assuming there is a next generation) becomes problematical. It easy to take pots shots at John Economaki’s decision to license – then sell production of Bridge City overseas – but none of us were standing in his shoes.
In my own situation – I had children and in-laws that had no interest in being involved (running, inheriting etc.) the businesses in which I had an interest. Two of those could be classified as small manufacturing businesses – but neither produced products for retail sale – so we were not exactly like Bridge City. With one, however, my partners and I did quite a lot of soul searching – exploring the options for taking the company public. That had progressed pretty far along – until we found a “white knight” willing to buy me out of my share of the partnership. Overall – my journey to full divestiture and retirement took nearly 2 decades.
Again, I don’t begrudge the owner’s decision to want to eventually retire and sell the company. I’m sure they made him an offer he found difficult to say no to or at least offered a lot more than others who were interested did.
The Chinese company who bought the rights and then the company obviously thought they could make the products in China for a lot less, and keep selling to the same customers and pocket the difference.
If customers were more adamant about keeping the production in the US or not buying, the owner and the parties interested in the products and the business might have made different decisions about what to do.
Are you familiar with Bridge City Toolworks? Super limited runs and VERY expensive was the norm.
John Economaki was running it for 36 years. He befriended the owner of Harvey industries, Jack Xu. Harvey makes some serious cabinet saws, bandsaws and lathes. They began making a dozen or so licensed tools for some years. John liked the quality of them, as did the customers.
When John decided it was time to throw in the towel, he handed the keys over to Jack, his friend, who had proven to be able to replicate the same quality standards while having access to much larger production capacity.
The relaunched tools about two years ago at prices much much much lower than the name used to demand and with a consistent availability vs previous scarcity.
Have you seen the balance sheet of Amazon and Apple and Walmart?
Consumers I’m pretty sure will NEVER do that. They want sh*t for practically nothing.
For practically nothing? From Apple?
Apple could make ALL of their products 100% in the USA, charge the difference it costs them to do it, and they’d STILL sell like crazy.
Sam Walton made it a point to sell LOTS of USA-made products in his stores. It’s his children that filled the stores with China-made junk to make profits on volume.
Apple could make all of their products 100% in the USA, not charge the difference it costs them to do it, and still profit like crazy.
The underlying joke here is, most of the parts would still come from China, so while 100% of their products would be “Made in the USA”, their products would not be made with USA-made parts.
That’s true, too.
China and many other countries in Asia certainly did a good job of getting nearly all of the world’s small electronic parts production over the last few decades.
That’s more than a little surprising given how crucial technology is to the modern world and how disruptive it would be to a country like the US should the suppy of tech parts or even raw materials slow down or stop.
Steve Jobs’ vision when he founded NeXT was of a factory where sand came in one end, and finished computers out the other — sadly that incredibly high-tech factory (granted it didn’t get to that level, but it was a pioneer in automation) was sold to Canon when NeXT exited the hardware business.
No they really can’t. Micro electronics would take a monumental effort to be made here 100%.
At this point hand tools and things like that among other categories are what would be made here 100% with US steel etc. Wright Tool is an example of this.
Apple could advertise Assembled in USA with global materials but that’s about as far as it could go. The same with so many other countries.
There’s a few videos online but look on Youtube for “largest wholesale market in China”. The problem is China can and does make the components to components to bigger components and all of the tooling for each of those steps. We used to do this back in the beginning but we don’t anymore. All of those feeder industries / factories / etc don’t exist anymore. It’s eye opening.
Jobs lost when Bridge City was sold = 1 (the dude that sold it).
$600 for a hand planer, made in China?
Are they serious?
I think people who bought the old made in America ones were effectively buying an art piece at that point. There’s no need for the amount of machining in that tool, other than to make it pretty.
I hate to say this but one of the most important and underrated parts of any engineering feat is meeting cost constraints. For example, the AK47 was so successful because it used a cheaper to produce stamped steel receiver, and required less expensive precision machining than its contemporaries.
Another great example is the Ford Model T, which was not so much an exercise in leading edge car design, but was rather an illustration of leading edge mass production and per-unit cost control.
Ultimately, tools like the ones offered by Bridge City have a place in the market, but that place is of a premium (luxury) product, whose brand image requires a production origin commensurate with that status.
TL;DR: nobody wants to pay Ferrari money for a Chinese-made Ferrari. What Bridge City gains in cost advantage, they’ll more than double in lost sales.
I agree, the prices on some of these tools are absurd. You can buy multiple Lie-Nielsen examples, which are basically the gold standard, for the price they want for one handplane – ON SALE.
Engineering is the art of a good compromise.
Are you familiar with the prices prior to 2018?
I don’t follow your logic, although it’s abundantly clear you dislike china. The tools are still, in my experience, number 1 hands down. That’s why I don’t follow your evidence, as there doesn’t appear to be evidence. The planes are from china, get over it and look at the big picture
Yea, CRAZY price on that plane when I can purchase a USA made Lie Nielsen for less than half that price and it will perform as good as or better!
What I’m thinking is that when there are SO many unemployed people right now, sales have dropped across the board on most discretionary spending items. Many of the vendors that I have seen are dropping prices to try to keep their sales up. For example, Grizzly was running a 10% off sale for 10 days and then they extended it for another 10 days and now it’s with “Free shipping”, so a $1000 table saw is actually cheaper to have shipped to your house than the 10% off was.
I would expect that a lot of items like these are going to be going down in price, as even when the economy gets kick started again, people will be paying off past bills or needs vs. discretionary spending on wants.
On the other hand, it’s interesting to see the price jumps on “Honey” or CamelCamelCamel on items from January thru today. You can see a jump in prices in conjunction with the start of the Coronavirus shut down. A $28 desk lamp is holding at $42…
I agree with other comments. I bought a square a year or so ago from Lee Valley and when I saw it was made in China now, it went right back.
I understand the owner wanted to retire, but he should have found a U.S. buyer or convinced Harvey Industries to come to the U.S.
I try not to fund dictators.
You try not to fund dictators? I love it, I hope you got a list of Trump companies and supporters that you also avoid.
Sorry, I’m not following. I don’t think China respects human rights (and esp. not Xi), so I try not to send them my cash. What is the issue?
It certainly has nothing to do with Trump. I am not a Trump supporter, if that’s what you’re implying.
Did you see the videos of Wuhan authorities welding steel apartment doors to the frame with Covid patients inside? Talk about chilling.
Please let’s get back to talking about tools.
Yeah, I agree that China doesn’t respect human rights. However, it is a communist country and not a dictatorship. I think our country is as close now to a dictatorship as it has ever been. I wasn’t trying to imply that you were one of his supporters either, simply that there is a long list of American companies that might also be worthy of boycott if you’re using similarity/proximity to a dictatorship as the measure of who to boycott. I try to buy things made in the USA or other countries with actual or perceived high-quality as well, but I agree that we’ll never get away with avoiding products made in China or other similar countries no matter how hard we try.
It’s not uncommon for dissidents to refer to Xi as a dictator, esp. since he eliminated term limits. But sure: the CPC.
And yes, agreed, it will take some fundamental policy changes and many years to wean us off dependence.
Stop talking about the leader of china, and instead focus on bridge city tools
Don’t you fill up a vehicle with gas?
I said I try.
I KNEW you were going to say that ?
Because…. what else is there to say?
It’s not inconsistent. You do what you can. And with my discretionary income, what I can do is not support certain regimes.
This right here.
Every little bit makes a difference.
I’m not much of a fan like said above I get that the original owner left but that doesn’t justify the sudden shift and absolute lack of trying to stay american made for something that is honestly very specialty items.
the whole gyro air thing is also absurd.
I have a hard time using made in China in the same sentence as heirloom-quality. No dount Chinese can produce high quality, but there is more that goes in to it.
Back when Filson was 100% American made I used to buy their feather cloth shirts, extremely light weight, cool, required ironing, but the pay off was they lasted years. I recall them being in the $85 range. I probably had 8 or 10 in my every day rotation. Went by the outdoors shop I always bought them at to pick up a couple more and picked them off the rack, $95 a pop, looked at the label, made in Kenya (maybe Macau) put them back and said never mind. Clerk said they are still Filsons, still the same high quality they always were. I asked, so what the difference in a $95 Filson made in China and another brand made in China for $35. He said it’s a Filson, I said, sorry not enough difference.
The above is how I feel about tools, you can get good ones from China for sure, but I aint paying top dollar for Chinese
Seems like these conversations always devolve into anti-Chinese rhetoric. Fact is we all buy Chinese, we will always buy Chinese.
I dont see China as a boogey man, but neither do I see a state supported/subsidized business competing with free enterprise as deserving much pity. We have a share of the blame, to our investor class the thought of dirt cheap labor, zero environmental regulations and a manipulated currency is like crack cocaine to Charlie Sheen.
It’s not anti-Chinese. That’s just a way of trying to shut down discussion.
Anti-Chinese would be if people were typing out they won’t buy anything made by Chinese people.
I like Chervon stuff, and Chervon is a Chinese company owned by Chinese people with Chinese workers and they make power tools in China that are pretty good. I don’t particularly like certain aspects of how things are done in China, but there are companies and workers over there who make great products despite a lot of the problems and conditions.
What I don’t like is when a US company shifts production overseas, still charges high prices, then sells the whole company to an overseas company and the overseas company exploits the company name and customer base to try and sell it’s products under that name.
Besides, my money is mine to spend as I see fit, so I can buy Chervon products made in China and not buy Bridge City stuff made in China and send the message I want as a consumer to those companies.
Bingo! It is the ol’ bait and switch that bothers me.
Why does that rhetoric bother you?
Ultimately, country of origin tells you a lot about the product. Not every China made product is the same, but there are fairly consistent patterns in the products originating there.
You can make high quality products in China, and you can also make poor quality ones. It all depends on how much the person or company wants to spend on producing the item. Just because a lot of companies take the “make it as cheaply as possible” route doesn’t mean that China as a whole only makes cheap garbage. It just means you chose to buy from companies that want to sell you cheaply made garbage.
This pretty much sums it up. Any company that sends MFRing to China (or India or others) does so to lower costs and ultimately sell price or increased profits. Why, because we the public want it. For every 1 person willing to by a USA made tool, (I have a nice set of Wright WrightGrip wrenches) 49 other people want cheaper, so maybe Husky or even cheaper what Walmart sells or other made overseas product. Most people do not want to pay a premium, they want as cheap as they can get that will do what they need (for a while), then chuck it and buy new. This being for tools or any other commodity.
John Economaki, if to be taken at his word said that he wasn’t getting rich and in fact battling going under making these very expensive tools. Woodpeckers has a very particular business model that works for them with One-Time tools, they have money in hand before actually starting to make the tools. They make exactly what was ordered/paid for, no making 100,000 units and taking a big hit because the market chose to only buy 9000 units. Others that succeed also have found a business model that works for them in their market
Lastly, made in China can be as good as anything made in the USA, in some cases even better (most electronics) This is a country that has nuclear technology, a space program and is capable of making as good a quality as needed, but US MFR’s that take MFRing there are doing so to cut costs, not to make as good or better and bring it back to the US with a “made in China” label expecting it to sell for 10-20% less than what it used to, when made in the US. It needs to be much cheaper, OR an example like Irwin; everyone was making cheaper Vise Grip knock offs. The quality Peterson made them with cost too much and only 1 in X amount of people wanted to pay for the name and quality. So they make them in China and sell them more than other made in China cheaply made Vise Grip type tool. The Irwin’s are better but nowhere near the Peterson quality, and they charge more. They find the fine line between what people will pay to have a quality name like Irwin but not so much that people balk because there is a knock off that can be had sooo much cheaper. Marketing 101.
There are some made in China products that are imported to NA that are not junk, some medium, so top quality… like BCTW as an example, some Veritas and many other examples.
You can choose not to buy made in China for political, religious or other reasons, but to say because all made in China is crap is not true AND because it is what the market (we the people) want.
Proves you can have your cake and eat it too. Move production to China exploit labor and charge premium prices. No thanks.
Made in China? Screw that. Not going to get any of my business.
For the simple reason that they are essentially shafting Lee Valley by undercutting them, this brand is off my wish list. They can drop prices by another 80% and I won’t bite. I expect to see Lee Valley dump this company once their stock is depleted.
I love the look of these black planes, and there other tools I don’t own any of them, but I can’t believe there made in china now , I think that is terrible they should be made in America , considering how much they cost.
The picture (rendering?) looks awesome. I really wish someone like Woodpeckers would have bought them or something. Seems like some similarities there with the ultra-expensive pricing and limited production runs.
Yeah, interesting that Woodpeckers bought Blue Spruce Toolworks (or are in a partnership, or something) — I’m a bit worried on that, but also hopeful.
I think the Bridge City Toolworks topic here is a combination of a couple of things:
– poor translation — I’d like to think the original Chinese was more nuanced
– different situations in different countries — China is pretty much done with the virus
– reality of the difficulty of selling to folks in the U.S. settling in
– short-sightedness in working with resellers here in the U.S. — undercutting Lee Valley as Hilton noted
I’d like to get a couple of their saws, and I still want a Jointmaker, and I really wish that they would make a brace and a hand drill.
Undercutting retailers is something I’ve only seen a few brands do, with Wiha USA being the most notable example of this, with some of their sales.
As for Woodpeckers and Blue Spruce Tools, I think that’s more of a small partnership. For as long as I’ve known about the brand, Woodpeckers has sold a limited selection of other tools and supplies on their website.
Their undercutting of distributors could just be the reality of their marketing plan running up against the new norms of the current Covid 19 crisis. It’s easier to protect your vendors when you arent 50% below plan and your cash flow is drying up.
Hard to tell from this distance what is greed and what is survival instinct
If you had $600 to purchase a plane, which would it be? Top 3? It’s a far stretch for me to understand why Bridge City Tool Works believes their products would be in that list.
At $600 a pop you could get about 8 of these very nicely made planes for 1 similar plane made by Marcou. (http://www.marcouplanes.com/Marcou_Planes_4_Customorder.php)
And there are woodworkers that wood gladly pay the Marcou price because they believe the quality to be unsurpassed and equivalent to a Holtey plane, but at 1/4 of the price of the handmade Karl Holtey.
Perspective is everything.
At this point, I’m going to take a hard pass on anything made in China or owned by China if avoidable. So, no, I will not Zoom. Google, et al might be run by a bunch of communists, but at least they’re our communists.
John Economaki certainly isn’t hiding the fact they are made in China. They had organized a tour of China (now cancelled) for this summer that included their production facility there. Looks like they also did it in 2017.
At that time, the plan was for the *licensed* made-in-China products to be sold outside the USA.
I never said or suggested that Bridge City Tools is hiding that the tools are made in China, although the COO labeling on the packaging is about the smallest legible font I have ever seen.
The curiosity for me is about the extent and timing of the price reductions. Why so much of a discount, and why now after a year of charging close to the full USA prices for everything? Maybe this is all part of the transitional period? The marketing for the first price drop made sense, but now in the midst of the pandemic they decided that it’s a special time for further significant discounts? If they can still make a profit at these prices, weren’t weren’t they this low in the first place?
Any business (US or foreign) is going to charge what they believe the market can bear. Period! Pricing for any product out their prior to the start of this pandemic was just that, what the company thought the market could bear. The goal of every company is to be profitable.
Enter global pandemic. With approximately 1.74 million deaths (as of 12/24/20) reported, it has had a profound impact on our global economy. People have lost jobs or taken major paycuts as companies have struggled to survive or be faced to close.
The market can no longer bear the kind of prices that it used to. All this has occurred in the span of a year. So yes, it is reasonable to see a company that understands it produces tools for a market that chooses to invest discretionary funds in qualtity tools for (in most of our cases) non-essential hobby activities as needing to take another slash at prices. This serves to keep good will with their customer base at the cost of lowering their profit margins while still being able to survice the economic down-turn.
To me the difference is this: Corporate Investment mentality in the United States is dominated by Profit over everything else. Don’t beliieve me? Take a serious look at your investment profiles the next time you decide to change things up because your returns (i.e. profits) weren’t as good as you’d like to see. Then look closer at the companies you have been investing your money in.
I guarantee that most of you complainging about China-made products have been investing in US companies that have been outsourcing US jobs to forein countries for years, partly because you as an investor demand it when you sell off stock because you are not earning enough profit.
As others have tried to say, and continue to be ignored (as I suspect you will with this one as well), what is happening is a multi-faceted issue that each of us are complict in through the choices we make on a day-to-day basis. To single out a single company for this kind of issue is (in my opinion) absolutely absurd.
You want cheaper. Foreign company reduces prices further to give you cheaper (while still maintaining quality) and all you can do is nit-pick about their motives and why wasn’t it this cheap originally. Take a long, hard look in the mirror. You are the problem that creates the mass move of industry to foreign countries. You demand high wages to do the jobs necessary to manufacture these types of tools yet as a consumer, you don’t want to pay the price of what you want to have manufacture here in the states. You are the problem!
As a little socialogy reminder, societies go through an evolutionary process with time. We have gone through several changes in a very short time (in the grand scheme of things). This country has gone from agrarian based sociey to industrial based, to now a post-industrial (or Information based) society. This means that the economy in the US is now based in the generation of knowledge and distribution of that knowledge. This is also why you continue to see a shift of manufacturing jobs to other countries and the growth of service industries in the US. Put plainly, we are collectively moving on from the industrial age due to the Digital Revolution that has seen the growth of online services.
Bottom line, complain all you want. None of you will stop the societal evolution that is naturallly happening in this country. It has been inevitable. In terms of choosing to fund certain regiemes – I truly understand this concern. But lets be clear, every nation out there has done unspeakble acts in the history of humankind. The US has many ugly skeletons in its closet. Some part of what you spend always goes to the government that the corporation is under. You cannot change that. That does not mean the company believes in the rehetoric of their government. Look at the company. How does it treat its employess? What are working conditions like? What is their commitment to being as carbon-neutral as possible to protect the environment we all share? US companies are among the worst offenders. What is the quality of the product being made? All manufacturing can make crap to quality. The change in scale increases the end price to the consumer.
To the Original Poster.
I recognize the replies to your OP have strayed (as even you did to a degree in your own post). My point here is to say, “I get it, but I don’t agree.” Its easy on the surface to be upset about things but there are too many moving factors to try to boil it down to that simple of a stance. The translations of the ad are likely to be poor. This certainly didn’t help their message. I do not beileve it was meant to be in poor taste. It was meant to show that as a company they respect the dedication we have shown them and now during hard economic times they would like to show their appreciation in a way that helps us a consumers.
My take is simpler. Their marketing statement alone is the least competent translation I believe I’ve ever read in my decades of reading exactly these sorts of things. Whether Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, German and even Russian.
From that alone I would never consider a serious investment in any way until far better explanation of intent was forthcoming.
And the “Gyro Air Cleaner”?! Why not baby food as well? WTH?!
Though I too live in Bridge City’s original home town and for decades have both held and admired John’s brilliant hand tool build quality I’m not a collector of such implements.
Personally this just sucks. Almost a RIP event .
If your reference to “their marketing statement” is the statement they made about the Gyro Air being a natural enemy of the Coronavirus, I invite you to do some additional research.
The CDC has already stated that the virus is airborne and that HEPA filters have a substantial impact on reducing the amount of virus in the environment. All HEPA filters have a 99.7% success rate of filtration at the 0.3 micron range. They use several types of methods to achieve this, as explained in this great article https://www.texairfilters.com/understanding-how-hepa-air-filters-remove-covid-19-from-the-air/.
They did not say the Gyro Air will eliminate the virus, I do think it is an accurate statement for any product that will reduce the level of this airborne virus to label itself as a “natural enemy of the coronavirus.”
To get the maximum impact, your Gyro Air would need to be running non-stop. And like anything else out there, not 100%.
It seems like people are looking for opportunities to rake the company over the coals (because they are Chinese) without doing any research about what on the surface looked like a ludicrous marketing campaign, but is actually grounded in scientific facts.
I think the biggest turn-off of many for me (and I’ve long lusted over some of BC’s planes) is the fact that all the photos now on their site and this email are computer renderings. I’ve never really felt compelled at my current hobby budget to buy from them other than a blemished universal square that is really handy, but back in the day these were real photos. I kinda buy into the art and function of these, but if and when you spend that kind of money, it’s nice to see a real product on the screen, not a fancy rendering (and this comes from someone who does fancy renderings as an architect all the time). Kind of makes you wonder if they really have confidence in their craftsmanship anymore…
Renderings alone never inspire buyer confidence. The photos Bridge City utilized in their heyday were amongst their strongest Tools as Art marketing component. Yet another new ownership fail.
All very odd. And detrimental.
I just found out about this tonight, so I’m late to the news. The change isn’t immediately clear if you are on their website looking at a particular tool. Over the years I bought these once in a while because they were beautiful and artisan made in the US. I was excited to see the new pricing, but noticed what looked like production flaws, then noticed the images were computer renderings, and so I started to read more to see what may have changed and found that it is all made in China now. I wasn’t buying the name Bridge City Tools, I was buying design, craftsmanship and made in the USA. Now I have completely lost interest in their tools. As more people learn about this over time the resale value of the newer styles will also fall compared to the original tools. I wasn’t buying these tools because they were cheaply made.
The company has died, the name Bridge City is like a tombstone, the name is there, but it only marks what used to exist.