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Posted: 8/27/2003 5:16:18 PM EDT
Dear AR15.com forum members, and customers.

The last few months has been a very trying time for our company. As most of you know, we started SABLE CO. about 7 years ago with the goal of providing our customers with the gear they want, at great prices. For 6 years, we accomplished this goal with great success. Last December, business continued to climb, and we made the decision to expand, and open a gun store. We hired full time and part time help, and jumped in with both feet. Then the problems started. We underestimated the cost of opening a store, the cost of employee's, and the cost of insurance. We had to depend on employee's to continue doing business the way we always have without being able to closely monitor the way business was done on a daily basis. Then came other problems: The war in Iraq made many of the products we sell very difficult to get as military orders take precedence. We then had one of our major companies do their own expansion, and that also made obtaining product difficult. It's very hard to sell equipment that you cannot get. We then hired a company to modify our website to add the shopping carts, etc. This works, but it is now very difficult for us to edit the website, and add product to. Throw in a nasty virus that took our business down for a week and a half, and you have some serious issues to deal with. This has caused our usual stellar service to decline in the past few months. Many of you I consider personal friends from doing business and talking on the phone with you over the years. Anyone that knows me, will attest that I strive to provide our customers with the best service and prices possible, and these problems have really taken a toll on me personally. However, instead of just throwing in the towel, we are determined to correct the situation. Here's what we are doing, or have done:

1) Restructuring our company by shutting down the store front to focus on internet and phone in sales.

2) Train employee's how to properly take care of the customer, and provide execellent service.

3) Eliminated a large amount of overhead.

4) Build an all new website that offers a great deal more product, easier navigation and ordering, and new features such as customer product ratings, a sign up feature for emailing specials, new product announcements, etc. Incorporate our business software with the website software to make order processing faster and easier. The new website should be complete in approximately 3-4 weeks!

We know that we have let some of you down, and we regret it tremendously. We are "playing catch-up" right now, and will soon get back to normal. We will strive to restore the confidence and satisfaction that we enjoyed for 6 years prior to the onset of our problems. We ask for your understanding and patience as we work to get caught up and back to normal. You all have my sincerest apologies for any inconveniences caused, and I promise to do all I can to make it up to you. Thank you.

The staff at SABLE CO.
www.sableco.net
Link Posted: 8/27/2003 5:25:47 PM EDT
Thankyou for your letter. I also own and run my own business, and know your pain all to well. Thank you for recogizing and admitting that there has been a problem, that is hard to do when its your company and products. If you're like me it's not just your business but your life as well. So far I have nothing to complain about. Your service has been fine, a little slow, but sometimes that happens. I admire and applaud your honesty and determination, and look forward do doing further business with you in the future. Hershey
Link Posted: 8/27/2003 8:41:51 PM EDT
BD Hersey, Thank you very much for your reply. As a business owner yourself, it will be easier for you to understand than those who don't, or have never owned/run a business. For those that haven't, I know there will be some that won't be very understanding, but I can't blame them. All I can do is turn things around, and go on. We are doing this, and things are definitely getting better. Your reply certainly helps though. Thank you.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 5:43:18 AM EDT
Donnie: Thank you for the post. I'm sorry that our current transaction had to be cancelled, but I cannot afford to float a 50% deposit for merchandise that is unavailable if I can find it elsewhere in stock. Best of luck to you. It took a lot of testicular fortitude to step up and go public with the issues that Sable Co. is facing. I hope that you are successful in all of your endeavors; you have my respect, sir. Bud
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 6:46:29 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 7:11:04 AM EDT
As a business owner I feel your pain. I have made similar mistakes/oversights and feel your making the rights steps to remedy the problem. I appreciate your honesty,
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 7:33:45 AM EDT
Glad to hear your getting things to go your way, Donnie. Good luck, and next time I need something, I know who to call. Mike
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 7:49:35 AM EDT
I have been on the recieving end of the problems you have described. I prepaid for a RRA rifle and waited over 4 months to get it. I do understand the factory issues and supported you in several threads. My thoughts are "always give the guy a chance to make it right". I originally dealt with Robert, who never returned any calls. Then he quit and you guys got the virus. It has been very trying, but I have stayed on the high road. You still have outstanding orders of mine and I will leave them with you to see if the corrections are being made. Being upfront, honest and returning calls will pay great dividends in your buisness future. Doug Smith
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 7:51:39 AM EDT
Donnie, Thank you for stepping up and informing your customer's with the current status of SableCO. I too am sorry that I had to cancel my order, but am willing to give SableCO another chance in the future. Good luck with all your endeavors. Matt G
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 8:39:59 AM EDT
I went round and round and round for a couple months with you guys on a few simple things. I ended up not getting what I ordered and paying for it anyway to eliminate the headache. I submit that this "open letter" should have been proferred when you had these problems instead of now trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. The majority of people are understanding if you let them know what to expect BEFORE you take their money, instead of allowing them to be unpleasantly surprised. I hope you get it together, and when I know for sure that you do, I may order from you again.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 9:09:12 AM EDT
I originally dealt with Robert, who never returned any calls.
View Quote
Uh Doug, I returned many calls...Who do you think got the hogue problem straightened out?, I put your hogue on my credit card after I left sableco, now be fair here!!! :-) Robert
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 12:46:15 PM EDT
Look forward to doing business again in the future. thanks
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 12:49:37 PM EDT
Great to hear you plan on turning things around. Now as soon as I can scrape some money together maybe I can "invest" it with SABLECO.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 1:08:39 PM EDT
I hope with the decrease in overhead you return to your formerly spectaularly low prices. I ordered then waited for an M900, Knight's 2 stage trigger and was about to order a TA-11 and then your prices sky rocketed. You didnt always have the absolute lowest prices but so many of your products had the lowest prices I made it a priority to order from your company, no matter how long the wait might be and order as much as I could from Sableco. Since your prices went up (due no doubt to the increased overhead of your store front) I have not shopped there since. Yes I am a cheap ass and even have shopped from Botach in the past but I had decided to purchase anything I could from your company and directed everyone I knew to your website. I hope it goes back to the way it was where I always checked to see if you carried what I wanted first.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 2:08:52 PM EDT
Donnie.. As usual, you da man!
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 5:07:16 PM EDT
We'll contimue to support you all the way, my brother!
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 4:06:17 AM EDT
Robert, You are correct. You did finally correct the Houge issue. It seams strange to me that it took 4 months order the houge grip simply to find out the were backordered. Now that was a RRA screw-up. As far as your involvement with me at Sableco, I would guess a 10 to 1 return call ratio. As stated earlier, I did not bug you guys until 3 1/2 months and by that time, I really didn't want to hear many excuses. Hell, I spoke with Donny yesterday and my 42" carry bag which I ordered from you 4 months and 8 days ago, still had not been ordered yet. I am near a point to put this whole ordeal behind me and move on. I will deal with RRA and SABLECO again but simply want acceptable customer service and honesty. I think I should post the sequence of events on my order just to show you how stinking ridicules it got.
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 5:59:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2003 6:01:16 AM EDT by D-Ray]
First, we want to thank everyone for the comments, and support shown here. It is uplifting, and helps while we get through this. I did want to point something out to Devl though. In the last year or so, several of the manufacturers have come up with MAP pricing policies that dealers have to sign an agreement with to continue carrying their product. MAP stands for Minimum Advertised Pricing. What does this mean? It means that we are only allowed to advertise prices to a certain level. Does this mean we can't sell the product for less? NO! What it does mean is that you will need to call or email for a better price. Now, there are some companies out there that are still not complying with these policies. When these companies are found, they are told to either change the prices, or they will no longer receive product. We have always strived to keep our prices low, and continue to do so. Bottom line: For the best price, call or email. Thanks! The staff at SABLE CO. [url]www.sableco.net[/url]
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 8:03:04 AM EDT
I have always gotten good prices good service from Donny and Robert at SableCo Sorry to hear of all the problems.. If anybody can pull this back together its Donny... Thanks again for all the past service & attention Looking forward to your new website and doing business with you in the future.. Good luck to both Robert and Donny in their respective endevors.. And thank you guys for your support of the AR-15 , the shooting sports and most of all for your support for our RKBA
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 12:51:14 PM EDT
Donny, I welcome you back to the basic. Shall we talk about the Trijicon TA31F again?
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 2:29:43 PM EDT
I hope everything works out for you. Sable Co has been a great company to work with. I will look forward to doing more business with you. John
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 3:29:31 PM EDT
Good letter - at least you're up front and honest about the issues you're having. I belive that you have the ability to overcome what you're facing now. You show strenght and courage both of which will help you to continue to change your business. Good luck.
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 9:44:52 PM EDT
Its hard to keep a good man down. Donnie is a good man.
Link Posted: 8/30/2003 8:01:31 AM EDT
When can we expect a letter from Botach? Hahahahaha sorry. Your reputation is well established and respected, because of your honesty thus shown time and again. Not all small businesses come with a manual, if they did not everyone reads it. Running your own show means making some mistakes and learning from them, one of the them being growing too fast to cope with, growth is a great thing as long as it's planned and managed.
Link Posted: 9/4/2003 12:03:18 AM EDT
Donnie, I empathize with your situation, I'm a small business owner who had a business fail on me due to much of the same problems you've stumbled into. Now I've got a new one and it's doing very well. My only advice is to keep on trucking, be honest and try your best and things will work out. BTW, you'll remember me, I bought your Rubicon! :D It's still runnin great and I'm still saving up...when I have my pennies together you'll get a call from me!
Link Posted: 9/4/2003 3:17:56 PM EDT
[rolleyes]
Link Posted: 9/4/2003 8:09:17 PM EDT
Keep it small, keep it all.
Link Posted: 9/5/2003 10:58:05 PM EDT
It goes to show the original formula is best.
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 3:44:02 AM EDT
Donnie,
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 3:46:28 AM EDT
Donnie, I just sent you a semi harsh e-mail before reading this thread and apologize for the tone after reading this, however please be advised that customers get very upset when they pay for an item that they still have not received several months later, and even more importantly, cannot get any response from the retailer. I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks for your time.
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 3:59:30 AM EDT
Donnie, Thanks for clearing a few thing up. The bottom line as you have found it, Price will get you customers but Service will keep them coming back or, Say what you do,do what you say. John, a future customer.
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 5:10:18 PM EDT
Donnie, A few years ago, you helped me put together an AR almost completely from scratch. I'm still especially proud of that gun, and you helped me get it done for far less money than any individual or business than I’ve ever encountered. And I’ve looked just about everywhere. Heck, your prices were once comparable to Botach, and I'm still pretty sure that wacky company has the local Kindergarten come over every Friday to write up the latest wave of fake sales prices in camo water colors. But even I have to admit, the service seems to have fallen off in the past year or so, though your overall prices are still close to, if not the best in the business. That's why Jen and I still order from you on a regular basis (still waiting for that ITI M6 Tactical Laser Illuminator, the GG&G USP M3/M6 Adapter, plus a SureFire FM13 Infrared Filter for M900A). What we really miss the most is your old hands-on style of doing business. I'm sure you're always in the background somewhere; but things have changed since the old days. That familiar blue email lettering that used to appear in our inbox on an almost daily basis in response to my many questions hasn't been seen in ages. Gotta admit, we don't even bother emailing with questions about slow orders anymore because replies are no longer delivered by you or anyone else, at least on a consistent basis. Perhaps it's just me. Maybe whomever you now employ to answer everyone else's email is answering all of them by mine; that is something I don't know. I just know that things used to be different (meaning service in general was much better). Just yesterday, my fiancée said to me, "Donnie isn't running Sable Co. anymore, is he?” She just couldn't believe (or accept) that the guy who she remembered from the past few years of business would allow things to degenerate to their current level. She figured you had to be out of the loop and was wondering if anything was wrong. It's hard to admit, but her question kind of sums up my feelings. Sable Co. has performed like a different company for quite a while now; but Donnie, you still have a lot of credit with me, and to this day, I still send everyone I know to your doorsteps for everything AR related, despite the recent flurry of gut shots that I've taken for remaining in your corner. But you know what? I'm still not ready to throw in the tow on Sable Co. You’re still the champ in my book and I have a feeling that you’ll bounce back better than ever.
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