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…
…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!