What happened to Rick's in October of 2007?
The bottom line...She closed it, we bought it. Lock stock and barrel. Here's the story...
On October 13th, 2007 I went flying in the morning. I had a particularly bad day and crashed two helicopters within 5 minutes. That is not a personal record by the way.
After lunch, I went to the shop to repair my models, one a Raptor Titan that appeared to need only a flybar, blades and boom braces and, the other a T-rex 450. The Rex was in a little worse shape. I goofed up on a rolling auto, the blades got a little slow and I couldn't get my headspeed back in time. It landed in 7 foot tall weeds so it wasn't hurt too bad. For some reason the speed controller caught on fire and burnt up. I haven't had a chance to check the motor and gyro, both of which were charred pretty good. Back to the subject...
I put my key in the door and it wouldn't work. I tried the side door and it wouldn't work there either. Then I noticed a sign on the front of the building that said Sorry we're Closed. At that point, I knew what had happened. I called the owner and asked her what she had done. She told me she had sold the building and the business, and in the same breath said "Tell everyone to go get unemployment". I asked her who she had sold it to and she replied "That's none of your business". I said "Okay" and hung up.
My first priority was to let as many people as possible know and to shut down the online store. After I closed the store and before I could blink, someone posted the news on Runryder and Helifreak, so the word got out pretty fast.
As the day wore on I began to think about things and I realized that she probably hadn't sold the building or the business. No one had asked to see the books and buying a business like this without knowing anything about it would be suicide. This was confirmed a couple days later.
That same Saturday afternoon I got a call from Brian James, one of the guys at Heliproz in Montana. He gave me Chris Nelson's phone numbers and told me that Chris wanted to talk to me. Chris and I had met at IRCHA a couple months before and had a very good conversation. I called him and we set the wheels in motion to explore the possibility of going together and buying the business. He would provide the money and I would provide the crew to run it.
On Thursday, October 18th, I flew to Billings to meet everyone at Heliproz and get a feeling about how they do business. I was very impressed with everyone there. It was a great weekend.
On October 23rd I had a meeting with the owner. She and I came to a verbal agreement that she would sell the business to us. Chris' attorney went to work drawing up the papers. As the days passed, it became increasingly clear that Chris was in this for the best of reasons. He loves R/C helicopters and he is a true business man. Being associated with someone as knowledgeable as Chris is a real honor and privilege.
On Thursday, November 1st Chris
flew down to meet everyone and get a look at the place. We had a barbeque
Friday and Chris flew back on Saturday... but not before we sealed the deal.
After setting a date to close the deal, the owner visited her lawyer and together, they found some reasons postpone the deal. We negotiated and set another date. Again we were delayed. I was getting frustrated, but Chris and his attorney were able to calm me down. A deal like this takes time and this one was actually moving along very fast. Everyone on our side was working very long hours getting the details hammered out.
Finally on November 7th the papers were signed and I got a key that worked. I can't tell you how excited I was.
We spent the first few days cleaning up and doing inventory. There wasn't much we could do without phones and a way to accept credit cards.
I finally reopened the online store at 8:30pm on Friday, November 16th after getting some phones working and finalizing a deal with the credit card processor.
It's going to be a while before we're back to full speed. We are out of stock on lots of items. All the shipments that were due in while we were gone were returned to the vendors. I have to re-apply for accounts at most of the vendors. Some of the smaller vendors were kind enough to trust me and took orders immediately. I would guess that we will be in good shape again the first or second week in December.
You can help by placing your orders online. Our phone system should be really good as soon as we get our own phone lines. In the mean time, the phones are working pretty well, but there are some bugs. We were promised a completion date of 11/20 but that didn't happen. AT&T has the ball in their court right now.
About the online store; The stock status is practically 100% accurate. It's the best it's ever been and it was pretty good before. We really appreciate your orders. You guys that are ordering are saving our lives.
million for your support,