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I am more concerned about the closing of IAP than of the cancelling of back orders. I have been driving Alfas continuously since 1968 and purchased parts from IAP since the company opened. I like to have more places to buy Alfa parts because it shows that Alfas are still being owned and driven as well.
 

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I'll throw in my .00 cents worth. I had several good and bad experiences with IAP over the last 10 years...and nothing, nothing short of fantastic experience with Centerline every time I ordered during the same period... to the point where I was willing to pay a few extra $ even if Centerlines price was a bit higher (often it was lower). Still very sad to see IAP go. We are very fortunate to still have any parts source at all for these cars and I wish all involved the best of luck in future endeavors.

Also I just ordered a brake light switch from Centerline maybe 2 months ago. I think it may have cost less than 10 bucks, and it was in my hand in Illinois 2 days later. IAP had said they were backordered (this was probably in May or June. Switch works great. Thanks again Centerline!
 

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Richard Jemison told me that when he was rebuilding his Montreal engine he gave Joe a list of all the parts he needed and Joe sourced every one of them for him. IMO that is outstanding service.
 

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I think your short story has gone a little too long, and perhaps you should start a new thread, rather than bleed all over Joe's announcement thread, about your feelings. It would be easier for all of us. I thank you in advance.
Thank YOU! I agree, it's gone way too far. I was honest, sharing, and gave my opinion. Everyone killed this way too far.
Vince
 

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Same is the..... same.
So you always ask who is the manufacturer of every part you buy? And do you know which are the better and worse ones for specific parts?
 

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Jeez, even the best of us don't know that!
 

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I liked having more than one source, somehow I cannot see how consolidation helps the customer.

Will they offer IAP's 15% off sales for bigger projects, for example?
 

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Jeez, even the best of us don't know that!
Which is why always buying the cheapest will land you with some crappy parts.
 

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I liked having more than one source, somehow I cannot see how consolidation helps the customer.

Will they offer IAP's 15% off sales for bigger projects, for example?
IAP went belly up, this isn't a consolidation or a merger or a hostile takeover by Centerline, they just bought the inventory.

If a 15% discount led you to favor IAP over Centerline it's a tactic that didn't work since they couldn't afford to keep the doors open.
 

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I suspect this has more to do with the realities of the alfa aftermarket. If you look at the total number of Spiders, GTV's, Milanos and a couple other models make up the bulk of the business, and figure that every ten years perhaps half of the remaining cars disappear from the total (how many parts cars do you have?), there can't be that much business out there. Many if not most of the parts all houses carry come from the same suppliers, and if a supplier stops supporting the aftermarket, it doesn't matter who takes your back-order, they are NLA. Alfas are classics for guys who do their own work, more so than most "classics", jags, porsches, etc. Working on cars is loosing interest with the younger generations, I'll bet the average age for this bb is over 50, so there is a lot working against a business trying to satisfy this market. I'm lucky to have Centerline 3 miles from home, I don't know how you guys do it from a distance. Congratulations, Joe, and good luck.
 

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I hope that the buyer and seller find a way to honor IAP gift certificates and store credits that customers hold. I was on the phone with with Centerline today and it seems they have not yet tackled that problem.
 

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IAP went belly up, this isn't a consolidation or a merger or a hostile takeover by Centerline, they just bought the inventory.

If a 15% discount led you to favor IAP over Centerline it's a tactic that didn't work since they couldn't afford to keep the doors open.
Huh?

What matters to me as an enthusiast is availability and price and CS. IAP was consistently less expensive, and on the east coast, less shipping charges, too.....and I surely took advantage of and greatly appreciated their discounts. That it didn't work out for them doesn't change any of that for me.

The issue is the marketplace shrinking, and the issue for anyone doing business in that climate is to maintain (and hopefully grow) the customer base. It will be interesting to see how Centerline goes about this: They can arrogantly believe that less competition gives them more leverage, or they can realize that new customers cost money and provide some incentive for us to do business with them, instead of going over seas.
 

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...They can arrogantly believe that less competition gives them more leverage, or they can realize that new customers cost money and provide some incentive for us to do business with them, instead of going over seas.
I don't get where all this animosity towards Centerline is coming from. They didn't force IAP to close their doors, they had nothing to do with that. All they did was purchase the inventory. If you want any of those parts why should it "cost them money"?
 

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I don't get where all this animosity towards Centerline is coming from. They didn't force IAP to close their doors, they had nothing to do with that. All they did was purchase the inventory. If you want any of those parts why should it "cost them money"?
I don't have any animosity. I do have some concerns about how this acquisition will affect me. I was happy with IAP and choose them over all the other Alfa vendors. I am not happy that they are no longer available to me.

They don't need to do anything for me, but then again, if that is the case, I don't need to do business with them. That's not specific to them, but in general. To earn my business, you have to offer me something that I didn't have before, not take something away. If they offer me the same parts, but at a higher price, I'm going to look elsewhere. I have to now find alternate sources, right now my business is up for grabs.
 

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Discussion Starter #117
It will be interesting to see how Centerline goes about this: They can arrogantly believe that less competition gives them more leverage, or they can realize that new customers cost money and provide some incentive for us to do business with them, instead of going over seas.
This thread has made me realize there are some very deep seated feelings on all sides of this issue. This is natural as Alfisti are very passionate people.

Everyone can rest assured we do not take our position in the marketplace for granted, and we do realize future success depends on hard work and being responsive to customer needs and wants.

Regarding discounts and sales: we have a long standing policy of offering a 10% discount on all orders over $500. While this may not be as exciting as occasional sales, it offers long-term value and is available whenever the customer needs the parts, not when the vendor needs to make space or generate revenue (the real motivation for most "sales"). If we get consistent feedback that other types of incentives are better for the customer we can look at changing this policy.
 

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...I'm going to look elsewhere. I have to now find alternate sources, right now my business is up for grabs.
So when IAP was still open you never shopped around? Personally, my business is always up for grabs, I have no contracts with anyone. In my 36 years of Alfa ownership I've dealt with just about all of them and I've seen a lot of them come and go. IAP is not the biggest to fold it's tent over the years.
 

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couple of comments (have no dog in this fight):

1. Asset purchase vs. going concern
2. Dealt mostly with IAP and Spruell since dementia set in (bought spider @2.5 yrs ago), since found CL's website less convenient.
3. Talked to CL reps several times, alway helpful, interested, interesting (have a natural bias toward them, having grown up in area and
still have family there - visit several times a yr, sometimes in the AR, from the oregon coast).
4. Once, on phone, an IAP rep demonstrated a distinct lack of sense of humor (or appreciation for mine)! I personally have NEVER had a
bad day, hangover, slept poorly, nor had someone pee in my cornflakes, so I don't understand this.
5. Seem to have a few folks in this forum who take themselves way too seriously. If it ain't fun, guys, don 't do it.

Don't post much since don't have problems after 15k mi on car that had 87k when purchased (Let the troubles begin!) and don't know enough to help anyone with the likes of Eric, AlfaParticle and Papajam to live up to. cheers.
 

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Alfas are classics for guys who do their own work, more so than most "classics", jags, porsches, etc. Working on cars is loosing interest with the younger generations, I'll bet the average age for this bb is over 50, so there is a lot working against a business trying to satisfy this market. I'm lucky to have Centerline 3 miles from home, I don't know how you guys do it from a distance. Congratulations, Joe, and good luck.
[/QUOTE]

Good points. We certainly see something similar happening with Lotuses and other 60's sports cars---really any group of cars which have a long history of owner fixin'. But, similar things and similar dilemmas happen in other endeavors, also. A perennial worry of music schools and art schools, for instance, is where the next generation of performers and artists will come from. And, yet, they show up and become as in love with the music or art as their predecessors. Can young kids raised on rap and hip-hop get interested classical music, oil painting, and sculpture? Yep. Lot's of 'em, in fact.

Just today I saw a young guy, about 20 or so, in a work-in-progress old BMW. I gave him a horn honk and a thumbs up and got a big smile in return. When I was still teaching, the tuner-car kids in the school parking lot were very interested in the fact that I liked old Alfas. As I got to know them I found that their extended networks of gearheads, friends who shared skills, parts, and shop space, was identical to what I'd always been used to. It was really deja-vu all over again. . .!

But to return to my music school analogy, I think there are new generations of guys (mostly) who enjoy working on their CRXs and old BMWs and pickups. That they haven't discovered old Alfas or Lotuses yet is sort of like music students schooled on Beethoven who suddenly find their way to Bartok. It sometimes just takes a little longer for some people to get there.

If my analogy holds true, as long as old Italian cars are so intrinsically interesting, there will always be a demand for Alfa parts.
 
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