Originally Posted by boo
Tom Kaye and the Gardner brothers are probably the best business people in the industry. Tom from being able to capitalize as an innovator and the Gardners as straight up old school corporate robber barons.
Both companies realized theirs more money to be made on intellectual property rather then in house manufacturing.
Tom made his money licensing it out to less then lethal arms companies. Agd is still in business but just from a parts and services standpoint. You can't buy a new mag from them.
The Gardner brothers undercut everyone in the business with their ion, and probably put themselves "out of business" by gutting their midrange. I say "out of business" because it was a corporate restructuring. They walked away from a ton of loans I'm guessing due to running a huge manufacturing facility and can almost guarantee they don't make gog markers in house. That being said, they kept the 2 most profitable pieces of their company, Luxe on the super high end and the ion (now the basis of gog) on the low high volume end.
I'm actually amazed that Bob Long is still doing good despite sticking to the same business model of high end makers, yet supports a pretty full lineup with little Bob Long branded aftermarket and soft goods.
And for everyone that says Kee is a monopoly I disagree. I really doubt they are as profitable as you'd think. They're just the only one left in the industry that still has any credit to acquire companies and keep their logistics running. I predict you'll see that company get bounced around a lot of private equity companies. If you know their history that's how they've always been, under a number of different names. They are pretty much a distribution and one stop supply chain for a number of different companies, with out them this industry would be in even worse shape in terms of options.
Actually, they had normal debt, and paid everything on time. But one bank called them on their loan early, wanting several million right away. That is what put them into bankruptcy. Plus the fact that they spent better than four times to enforce their patents compared to how much they got from royalties and such, didn't help them.
As to GoG, from my understanding, other than the Freak IP, and maybe a few Trademarks (See Kee putting out the Impulse), and maybe the infamous patent, they bought everything that was Smart Parts, and continue to keep plugging away. So they are still making them here in the US, and if I am correct, in the exact same building as what was Smart Parts. I know that Blackrain has done some communicating with GoG, maybe he can confirm if they are still in the same building.