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Forum topic by DocK16 posted 05-21-2008 08:21 PM 2489 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DocK16

1184 posts in 3995 days


05-21-2008 08:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have entertained the idea of opening a Woodcraft franchise for sometime. I am asking all LJ’s for their help. I would like your feedback in your dealings with Woodcraft, your experience with direct and internet sales. How far is the nearest store to you and how often do you buy direct as opposed to internet sales. Have you ever attended an in store class? Your overall opinion in general. No I’m not a spy for Woodcraft, just trying to do a little market research.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.


33 replies so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 3896 days


#1 posted 05-21-2008 09:19 PM

I have only been to one Woodcraft store in my life when I lived in California. Not really any different from a Rockler from what I could remember.

Rockler store always seem to be a lot closer to me. Even here in Texas I have two Rocklers closer than a Woodcraft.

The only time I buy something from them online is if they happen to have the best price (whish isn’t too often) or they are the only place I could find what I am looking for. But that it the same for any online purchase I make online.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View CedarFreakCarl's profile

CedarFreakCarl

594 posts in 3962 days


#2 posted 05-21-2008 09:22 PM

My experience with Woodcraft has been limited to internet sales. I’ll have to say that they are very fast and that what limited products I’ve purchased have been great quality. There are two stores here in SC, but unfortunately they’re located a couple of hours in away in both cases so I haven’t checked them out yet. This probably isn’t the feedback you were in search of, but nonetheless here it is.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

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Hrolfr

174 posts in 3574 days


#3 posted 05-21-2008 09:23 PM

DocK16,

I make I would say 90% of my purchases from woodcraft instore, I am really new to woodworking and find I need some guidance on many of my purchases also as much of a tech nerd as I am (I work for a large contracting firm that provides corp. PC helpdesk services) I like to pick up and hold and look at most things prior to putting money down for them.

I have taken a class from Woodcraft on basic bandsaw use that I enjoyed (again I am a noob) I learned alot in the class and the instructor was awesome and I have contacted him since the class(hey he offered) for help and he has been great. This will ofcoarse very depending on your instructor.

My closest woodcraft is about 30 to 40 miles from my house, I wish it was closer but I find when I need something that it isn’t too bad of a drive…( I pass a favorite chicken place on the way to the store I never seem to get to unless I have a reason to drive that far south from the house)

Overall I would say I have mostly enjoyed my trips to woodcraft, the classes there and the advice I have recieved from most of the staff, however the first few trips in some of the staff was almost standoffish in that no one really wanted to help me out with questions…. It seems it was just the staff that was there at the time because those same staff member act the same way now when I go into the store while the others are very friendly and know me by name…...

Hope this helps…. Woodcraft is a good store but like all retail it is going to depend on your staff….....

wow I ramble

-- Hrolfr

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lew

11945 posts in 3663 days


#4 posted 05-21-2008 09:29 PM

I gotta tell you, I LOVE Woodcraft. I was introduced to them when they first started publishing their Woodcraft Magazine and then sent for their catalog. About a year later I discovered they had a retail store about 50 miles away- Harrisburg, PA- (wish it was closer but, for the sake of my budget, probably good it isn’t).

I have purchased items through their catalog, the internet and at the retail outlet and have always been happy with their service and product quality. I have never had to return anything for any reason.

The “local” store has short demos and classes in which I wish I could participate. However, the travel distance is a little too great for a couple of hour class.

In my opinion, the retail stores run a class act with a wide variety of brands and services. The folks I have dealt with have been professional and helpful.

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Toolz's profile

Toolz

1004 posts in 3650 days


#5 posted 05-21-2008 09:32 PM

My Woodcraft store is about 44 miles round trip. For one or two smaller items I order online but for larger purchases and “hands on” touchy-feely of the tools I make the drive. The store staff is very helpful and the collective woodworking knowledge is outstanding. They are WOODWORKERS not just salesmen. I had a question about cabinet scrapers and the owner and one of the salesmen took me to the classroom and gave me an impromptu scraper lesson. They spent about 40 minutes answering questions and teaching me the ins and outs of maintaining and using scrapers. I made a couple of significant major tool purchases from them during a recent JET rebate program and have been a very satisfied customer. All in all I think that woodworking/tool knowledge along with exceptional customer service skills make this one of the finest stores where I do business.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

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Russel

2199 posts in 3847 days


#6 posted 05-21-2008 09:33 PM

There are two Woodcraft stores and one Rockler within a reasonable distance from me. The Rockler is closer so I go there (I hate to drive). My dealings with Woodcraft have all been online and I must admit I like their service better than Rockler. Yet, it does seem that they are generally more expensive than Rockler for comparable products; not a lot, but enough to notice and wonder why. Still, my guess is if they were closer, I’d go there more often. I really don’t see a lot of difference between Woodcraft and Rockler so I’d bet location is a major factor.

-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com

View juniorjock's profile

juniorjock

1930 posts in 3673 days


#7 posted 05-21-2008 09:55 PM

I think the closest Woodcraft store is in Johnson City, TN, about 70 miles from my town. I’ve never been to the store but have talked to several who have and they loved it. My purchases have been limited to internet orders. I can say that their customer services is great and the same goes for their sale items. If I ever have a problem, it gets fixed fast. Good Luck.
JJ

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CharlieM1958

16272 posts in 4126 days


#8 posted 05-21-2008 10:04 PM

I buy from them on the internet, and have been satisfied with the service and quality of merchandise. The closest store to New Orleans is 3 hours away in Mobile. so I wish you would open one here!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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leonmcd

204 posts in 3880 days


#9 posted 05-21-2008 10:29 PM

Until this month I had a Woodcraft store just down the freeway from me. They just moved across town. I shopped instore quite a bit because it was close. We also have a Rockler store here in Houston not so close to my house but closer than where Woodcraft moved to.

I shopped at Woodcraft because they were closer but I prefer the Rockler store. The products and prices are similar so the difference is the people. Both offer free demo’s but the Rockler store was much more professional. All set up and ready to run at the scheduled time. The last one I went to at Woodcraft, they had to find out who was doing the demo after I asked. Then they spent 40 minutes setting up for a 5 minute demo.

Bottomline is the people. When I had time, I’d go the extra distance to Rockler because of the people. BTW, you need more than one knowledgable person in the store. Quite annoying if everytime you ask a question, they have to find the ONE person that knows everything.

Woodcraft also offended our local woodworking club of about 100 members when they would not allow us to put our newsletter in their store because it had ads from a competitor ( not Rockler ). Pretty much insuring that the competitor will get all the business from club members.

-- Leon -- Houston, TX - " I create all my own designs and it looks like it "

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TomK

504 posts in 3783 days


#10 posted 05-21-2008 10:40 PM

The nearest Woodcraft store to me is much further than the nearest Rockler, and more out of the way of my normal breadcrumb trails. But if the two were right next to each other, I would most likely wind up in the Woodcraft. True, their prices are slightly higher, but the store does not seem so crammed and plastic, and the people working there seem to be woodworkers in a retail store than retailers in a woodworking store. They seem to care more about giving advice about what to to do and how to do it with their products than just trying to sell the product. I’ve dealt with both their e-stores too, and Woodcraft does seem to ship faster.

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View runngt's profile

runngt

120 posts in 3647 days


#11 posted 05-21-2008 10:46 PM

I have been to both (they are about the same distance from my house) and I found rockler pricing to be better in most cases. Although the woodcraft store is moving to be about seven miles from me (which will not do my checking account any good) so I will soon be a woodcraft shopper.

I have not attended any of their classes although my wife is pushing for it…...I am still in the tool buying phase so I keep the exrta dollars for new toys, but one day would like to take a few.

runngt

-- It seem's I just make scrap wood and saw dust most of the time !

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4021 posts in 3972 days


#12 posted 05-21-2008 10:56 PM

I love WoodCraft. The nearest store is 3 1/2 hours away by car, in Lenexa, KS – a greater Kansas City suburb. Like someone mentioned, the lack of proximity probably works to my favor when attempting to live within my means.

Best of luck in your research and potential business opportunity. It would be like the kid owning the candy store.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View TedM's profile

TedM

2002 posts in 3641 days


#13 posted 05-21-2008 11:30 PM

Unfortunately we don’t have any Woodcraft here in Canada but I’m heading to Sacramento tomorrow morning and the local store is on the top of my visit list for early Friday morning. I think I’m looking forward to this the most. ;)

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit http://www.woodworkersguide.com and sign up for my project updates!

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4033 days


#14 posted 05-22-2008 12:07 AM

My local Woodcraft is in Santa Rosa, which Google Maps informs me is 22.2 miles away. We moved into this place in January, and we’ve probably spent around $2500 there so far this year. We’ll definitely be spending at least that in the next six months with a local store that has similar stock, I don’t know if it’ll be Woodcraft.

If the option is reasonable, I’ll buy from a local store rather than from the Internet because I’d rather pay sales tax than shipping, and because it’s worth a premium to me to have a local store with stuff in stock, and with salespeople who can help me.

Therein lies my real problem: I’ve had a couple of bad suggestions for them, in one case it cost me well over a hundred bucks in veneer and lumber (contact cement and veneer over baltic birch ply = bad idea), and in another case they didn’t have a very common part, didn’t even know what it was, so they set me up with a makeshift substitute (the bag tubes and assembly for a DeWalt 735 planer).

In both cases, the Internet showed me the right solution, had I gone to the net first I would have saved money and frustration. So I’m very open to finding another dealer that carries the tools I like and the materials I use, and the Woodcraft brand has a fairly neutral connotation to me. The good part, and the reason I’ll probably end up back there, is that unlike the real shops they’re open on weekends, but when it comes time to buy the drawer slides for the kitchen I’ll be going elsewhere because they only stock Accuride slides, and though they’ve got some okay lumber most of the good stuff has been picked over (probably by the staff) by the time I’ve gotten there, so… well… as I’ve written this I’ve decided it’s time to visit the other Festool dealer in Santa Rosa, and make sure my account is set up with the hardwood and hardware dealer that has the good slides and serious wood selection.

My favorite woodworking store is about 220 miles away, in Fresno. Part of that is that my brother in law works there, but they’re a serious place catering to professionals first (they’re the secondary showroom of a saw sharpening outfit), they have staff who actively make stuff professionally, they have a decent selection and are willing to tell you when they don’t carry the best in breed for your application, and though they sell Rockler stuff, they don’t limit themselves to that.

I think a Woodcraft franchise may be a good place to start, but I think to be a good woodworking store you have to go beyond Woodcraft’s stock and brands.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

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ShannonRogers

540 posts in 3696 days


#15 posted 05-22-2008 12:30 AM

I have a Woodcraft 20 miles from me and it is the only woodworking specialty store that I know of in my area. I shop there a lot, but I have also bought on line. The online experience was always very good. Very fast shipping and good prices. My instore experience has been ok. They seem to have trouble keeping things in stock and the popular items seem to never be there. I imagine as an owner it is hard to overstock too much. I have discovered however that much of this is based on the store owner. My local store just came under new ownership and I have seen a market difference in the service, knowledge of the staff and the classes. Two years ago, I took a few classes and honestly they were a waste of time. This year I took two more on sharpening and a Windsor chair and they were awesome. I have spoken with the owner and it seems that the franchise owner has a lot of say in what that store offers as well as how the store is run. the key is to have a very knowledgeable staff or at least specialists in every area. He also told me to form relationships with the craftsmen in the area as far as building a teacher pool for classes. Please keep us all in the loop on this as I am interested to hear what you decide to do and the process.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at www.renaissancewoodworker.com

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