No More BHD Coupon at Stompers

It’s been a great ride, but my relationship with Stompers Boots has changed since the store and its operations were sold. Recently, Stompers as we knew it was purchased by “the werks family of companies.” The “werks” are based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. You may have heard or seen “bootwerks” or “leatherwerks” — these are the companies to which I am referring.

Back in the day…

Stompers…I befriended Mike McNamee who owned and operated Stompers Boots in downtown San Francisco. I enjoyed Mike’s friendship and great sense of humor. He was gentle and kind to me in many ways as I was emerging as a leatherman/bootman-in-the-making back in the late ’80s and ’90s.

Unfortunately due to some thievery from an ex-employee, as well as the general and serious downturn of the economy, the mid-2000s weren’t good to Mike and Stompers Boots. The business was losing money and it was difficult for Mike to keep it afloat. I learned that Mike kept Stompers going throughout the recession by applying his own personal resources to the financial detriment of his future savings during his retirement.

I tried to help by linking frequently to Stompers Boots website from my website. I also worked out an arrangement with Mike to offer a $20 “BHD” discount coupon that would provide $20 off any purchase of $200 or more. I understand that the coupon drove in a lot of business to Stompers.

But as financial conditions continued to deteriorate, Mike had to sell the business. Another San Francisco local, Ken, bought it. He operated Stompers Boots from about March 2011 through June 2014. I liked Ken personally and wanted him to be successful. Unfortunately, the boot retail business is ruthless and financial losses kept accruing. In addition to the financial losses, for personal reasons, Ken had to sell the business in the last few weeks.

I understand from Mike and subsequently from Ken that my “BHD” coupon generated a lot of orders. They were pleased to have the business that my coupon brought to them. This was about the only way that I could help my friends since I wasn’t able (or interested) to change careers and buy a boot business in San Francisco when my profession is not business. My life is in Maryland and my spouse and I are not interested in relocating to California.

Ken called me about a month ago to explain what was going on. At the time, I asked him if I should discontinue my “BHD Coupon”. He said quite emphatically, “no.”

However, the other day, that changed. The new owner of Stompers Boots contacted me with concerns about the coupon. This is the first time I knew that Stompers had been sold, plus it was the first time I had heard from the new owner. Frankly, as I told him, I would have preferred that he asked me to call him and talk. Rather, our communication has been limited only to email and the new owner seemed disinterested in talking with me.

At first the new owner asked me to change the valuation of the BHD coupon. But after some more email exchanges, we decided that it was best to discontinue it.

So the long run of the famous “BHD Coupon” has ended. I hope that readers of this blog took advantage of it — once, twice, or more often.

I am now working on removing that coupon offer from my website and this blog. It will take a while to do that. Originally, I had an understanding with Mike and Ken that I would be given 30 days notice about a coupon change. I explained that to the new owner. His response was, “I didn’t get that memo.”

That remark rubbed me the wrong way. I took it as a sign that his communication style is quite different from my own and that he was busy. (My spouse said that he thought that remark was snarky.) But after some more email, the new owner accepted my request for time to remove the coupon from my website. I promised that I would do that as quickly as I can.

It has been a great ride to be so well-booted by Stompers Boots over the years. I wish the new owner well.

Life is short: wear boots!

4 thoughts on “No More BHD Coupon at Stompers

  1. Sorry to say things had already gotten bad before the sale. I send in two pair of boots last summer on Consignment: A 16″ Wesco Boss Boots and a 16″ Wesco Highliners. It took over 9 months to get paid. They got there in time for Dore Alley last year, but didn’t get put out on the consignment rack, was still waiting and was told that Folsom would be a great time for them to sale. The Boss Boots were almost like new. I didn’t get paid till May and only half the original agreed price. They kept sending an invoice with the wrong boots.
    On top of this I had purchased a custom pair of 18″ boss Boots for a huge sum of Money. I have feet that swell and needed more ankle room. Well, the left ankle is too tight. Have been wearing them almost daily to get them to stretch.
    I just gave up on hoping to get full refund for the consignment boots. A great loss. I could have gone through ebay and made triple was I was paid.
    Wouldn’t be so bad but I had an almost as bad time earlier. In 2005 had ordered a 19″ custom pair of Boss Boots. Took 6 months to come and they were 21″. Have short legs, only a 30″ inseam. Couldn’t even bend my legs to walk up stairs or shift the gears on my Harley. Sent them back with an agreed upon cut down. After 5 months still waiting. Finally spent a lot of time on the phone only to discover someone had put them on a back shelf, and they were still sitting there six months later. Did not get a full refund and they had send me the wrong size.
    I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with Stompers, no matter who was the owner. Plus part of the problem is they have just overpriced themselves. I realize that San Francisco is a more expensive city, but most of us don’t live in California. We have a store near here which carries Wesco Boots but not the Boss brand.
    I’m through with them though I plan to buy an 18″ pair of Highliners (I enjoy climbing trees, I know, a weird fund thing to do.) There are others where I can get these.
    Sorry to run on, but haven’t had anyone to complain to.
    Sorry for Ken, After several phone conversations could tell he was very bitter. And his staff was just awful.
    Boothawg

    • Boothawg,

      Sorry your experience was so bad. Mine wasn’t. Time will tell how the new owner handles things.

    • Robert,
      Sorry to hear about your bad experiences. Though I haven’t bought from Stompers, I had such experiences with other vendors in the past. Selling bikers boots is a tough business as the market is rather small and the products costly. Brick and mortar stores can only survive in areas where the local customer base is large enough. The business needs to be divided between in store customers, charging a higher price for the services offered and an entirely separate department to handle online sales with lower and competitive prices.

      It has been several years since I bought from Big Black Boots and I don’t know if they have maintained their standard of service since. They do carry Wesco boots and warn of Wesco’s production delays from time to time. Check out their site, http://www.boot.com.

      For other brands such as Chippewa, there are several online stores, not in California, that carry the boots at competitive prices. Just do a search. Checkout customer reviews of the store before you buy. They all have some negative reviews and it is understandable. Most bad reviews relate to delays in shipping a boot size that is not in stock. Do communicate with the order department and clarify that they have in stock the items you want to avoid disappointments.

      I was not aware of the troubles at Stompers and just looked at their website – it has changed significantly since I last visited many months ago. The prices have increased well beyond a competitive level.

      Trevor

  2. BHD, I’m sorry to learn of the changes going on with Stompers. Long before I learned of your blog, I knew about them and their wonderful store. Now it seems that they are gone and another group of money hogs are owning an esteemed business. How is it that someone in business appears to know the cost of something but not its value? A good reputation along with proper business etiquette is priceless.

    In any event, you are now seeing an end of an era which you were a valued part of sustaining. Well, another store adopts policies that will drive more and more would be customers away towards other options. This is not good for the store, but maybe better for their would’ve been customers who may find better buys elsewhere.

    BTW: I agree with your hubby: that crack the new owners made about “not getting the memo” sounded like ‘snark’ to me as well.

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